KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, has resigned. Even as Russia began its bombardment of Kiev on Wednesday, Ukraine’s president was set to make a direct call for greater assistance in a rare speech to the US Congress by a foreign leader.
Three weeks into the conflict, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed optimism that negotiations with the Russian government may yet result in a deal.
Zelenskyy praised President Joe Biden and “all the friends of Ukraine” for $13.6 billion in new support in advance of his speech to the US Congress. He called for more weaponry and penalties to punish Russia, as well as a renewed push to “shut the skies over Ukraine to Russian missiles and planes.”
He said Russian forces had been unable to advance deeper into Ukrainian territory but had continued to shell cities heavily; in the meantime, he said, Russia’s demands were becoming “more realistic” after the two countries’ delegates met. Both parties were scheduled to meet again later Wednesday.
Despite Russian refusal to allow supplies into Mariupol, Zelenskyy stated 28,893 residents were able to evacuate through nine humanitarian corridors in the last day.
According to a statement and photographs provided by the Kyiv emergencies agency, shrapnel from an artillery shell slammed into a 12-story apartment building in central Kyiv on Wednesday, obliterating the top floor and causing a fire that spread plumes of smoke over the neighbourhood. The neighbouring structure was also harmed. Two incidents were reported by the agency. victims, without saying if they were injured or killed.
In addition, a massive explosion erupted in Kharkiv overnight, which was heard throughout the eastern metropolis.
According to local officials, Russian navy ships fired overnight on a town south of Mariupol on the Azov Sea and another near Odesa on the Black Sea, in addition to airstrikes and shelling by ground forces.
According to the governor of the Kyiv region, Oleksiy Kuleba, Russian forces have intensified battle in the Kyiv suburbs, particularly around the town of Bucha in the northwest and the highway leading west toward Zhytomyr. Russian troops, he added, are attempting to block off the city from transportation arteries and damage logistical capabilities while planning a broad assault on Kyiv.
Twelve communities in the Kyiv region are without running water, and six are without heat.
Russia has taken control of the city of Ivankiv, 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of Kyiv, and the surrounding region on the Belarusian border, according to Kuleba.
“Kindergartens, museums, churches, residential blocks, and engineering infrastructure are all suffering from the incessant firing,” he stated.
According to a senior US defence official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the Pentagon’s assessment, the Russians are increasingly deploying long-range artillery to hit civilian targets inside Kyiv, but their ground forces are making little to no advance around the country. According to the source, Russian soldiers were still around 15 kilometres (9 miles) from the capital’s centre.
Hospital employees in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, have found themselves on two frontlines in the fight against COVID-19 in intensive care units as war rages outside.
The windows of the Kharkiv Regional Clinical Infectious Diseases Hospital have been barred.
Multiple times a day, air raid sirens sound, driving vulnerable patients into the hospital’s makeshift bomb shelter, according to hospital director Dr. Pavel Nartov. Handling ventilated ICU patients is tough and dangerous, but necessary, he said, because of the dangers of exposing oxygen tanks to explosions and shrapnel.
“Bombing occurs throughout the day and night. Thankfully, a bomb has not yet detonated near our hospital. “However, it might happen at any time,” he told The Associated Press.
Nearly 700 civilians have been confirmed murdered in Ukraine, according to the United Nations, with the true amount likely to be significantly higher.
When thousands of people were able to flee Mariupol on Tuesday, Russian troops seized the city’s major hospital, according to regional head Pavlo Kyrylenko said. He claimed that the forces dragged approximately 400 residents from surrounding homes into the Regional Intensive Care Hospital and used them, as well as about 100 patients and employees, as human shields by refusing to let them escape.
The hospital’s main structure has already been extensively damaged, according to Kyrylenko, but medical workers have been treating patients in improvised rooms in the basement.
Doctors from different Mariupol hospitals collaborated on a film to share the horrors they’ve witnessed. “We don’t want to be remembered as martyrs and heroes after we’ve died,” one woman added. “It’s torn off arms and legs, gouged out eyes, corpses shredded into shreds, insides coming out,” she added, adding that simply referring to individuals as wounded is insufficient.
Russian state television employee who was arrested after interrupting a live news program by protesting the war in Ukraine was fined about about $270, but still could face a prison sentence.
“These were very difficult days of my life because I literally went two full days without sleep, the interrogation lasted for more than 14 hours and they didn’t allow me to contact my family and close friends, didn’t provide any legal support,” Marina Ovsyannikova said after she was released.
Ovsyannikova, an employee of Channel 1, walked into the studio during Monday’s evening news show with a poster saying “stop the war, don’t believe the propaganda, they are lying to you here.” In English, it said “no war” at the top of the poster and “Russians against the war” at the bottom.
Two Fox News journalists were killed when their van caught fire on the outskirts of Kyiv on Monday. They were video journalist Pierre Zakrzewski and Ukrainian journalist Oleksandra “Sasha” Kuvshynova, who was assisting Fox crews in navigating the area, according to Fox. Another journalist was assassinated in Ukraine on Sunday.
In a bold show of support amid the threat, the leaders of three European Union countries — Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovenia — visited Kyiv on Tuesday.