Brutal onslaught rages in Ukraine as Russia expands assaults on key cities

More than 800,000 civilians have fled because the invasion started every week in the past, with fears of additional casualties growing as Russian strikes hit built-up areas. Ukraine’s State Emergency Service reported “massive shelling and bombing” of the central a part of Kharkiv, the nation’s second largest metropolis, on Wednesday morning.

On Wednesday evening, CNN groups on the bottom heard air raid sirens in Ukraine’s third-largest metropolis Odessa and the city of Uman, Ukraine.

Meanwhile, in the capital of Kyiv, a significant heating pipeline was broken as a results of a missile strike to the realm of the Central Railway station in the night, the nation’s inside ministry stated. The sound of the blast may very well be heard throughout town, in keeping with a CNN staff, although the goal of the strike was not clear.

Kyiv’s mayor Vitaly Klitschko stated preliminary studies instructed there have been no casualties in a blast, including: “We are clarifying the details.”

Klitschko stated in a Telegram put up that regardless of shelling in quite a lot of Kyiv suburbs Wednesday, “Thank God, there are no casualties.”

“The enemy was trying to breakthrough to our city, but Ukrainian defenders are repulsing the occupiers and defending our capital.”

It’s unclear what brought on the blast close to the station. An Interior Ministry adviser stated the injury was brought on by the falling wreckage of a cruise missile after it had been intercepted by Ukrainian air protection techniques.

Kherson mayor signifies metropolis has fallen

The mayor of Kherson, Ihor Kolykhaiev, stated that the Ukrainian army is not in town and that its inhabitants should now perform the directions of “armed people who came to the city’s administration” — indicating that town has now fallen below Russian management.

The announcement on the mayor’s Facebook web page late Wednesday follows a number of days of strain on Kherson by Russian forces who had surrounded town.

Kherson City Council stated earlier in the day that least 36 folks had been killed in an ongoing battle for management of the realm.

Kherson is a strategically necessary metropolis on an inlet from the Black Sea with a inhabitants of practically 300,000. If Kherson is now below Russian management, it might be a big turning level for the invading army — the primary main metropolis seized. Earlier Wednesday, Ukraine disputed Russian claims of management saying Ukrainians forces had been nonetheless preventing in elements of town. The new put up stated Ukrainian forces had left.

The mayor additionally informed the New York Times in an interview {that a} group of about 10 armed Russian officers, together with the commander of forces attacking town, entered town corridor constructing Wednesday. He stated he was knowledgeable by the Russian officers that they had been planning to arrange a brand new administration much like these in two Russian-backed separatist statelets in japanese Ukraine, in keeping with the NY Times interview.

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Late Wednesday, Hennady Lahuta, the pinnacle of Kherson regional administration, issued a message saying: “I ask everyone who is not at home now, or who is planning to go outside, not to do so. The occupiers are in all areas of the city and are very dangerous.”

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Mayor Kolykhaiev didn’t explicitly say that the Russians managed town, however that “there were armed visitors in the city executive committee today.”

Strikes in Kharkiv

In Kharkiv, a Wednesday morning strike on the regional police division and Kharkiv National University left the buildings engulfed by fireplace, in keeping with Ukraine’s State Emergency Service and movies geolocated by CNN.

Four folks had been killed and 9 injured, the State Emergency Service stated Wednesday, whereas rescuers pulled 10 folks from the rubble.

New movies posted to social media early Wednesday and verified by CNN confirmed badly broken buildings in western Kharkiv in an space with markets, shops and residential buildings.

In Kharkiv’s northern neighborhood of Saltivka, a college was the newest web site of Russian army strikes on Wednesday, in keeping with a video and picture posted to social media. CNN geolocated and confirmed the authenticity of the video and picture.

The college has been the location of repeated strikes in current days.

Video from the scene exhibits a big gap in the wall of a college, rubble strewn throughout a courtyard and damaged glass. “School number 17 of Kharkiv city,” a voice says in the video. “It flew right here, everything is in ruins, everything is fallen out, shell fragments everywhere, everything is in smoke.”

Fighting befell in a single day between Russian and Ukrainian forces close to a Kharkiv army hospital, the pinnacle of the native police informed Ukraine’s public broadcaster, Suspilne News.

It’s unclear what number of Ukrainian civilians have been killed through the conflict. The UN on Tuesday reported at the least 136 civilian deaths since Russia’s invasion began, however cautioned the toll is probably going “much higher.” CNN couldn’t independently confirm this determine. Earlier right this moment, Ukraine’s State Emergency Service issued an announcement claiming greater than 2,000 civilians had been killed, earlier than eradicating it.

The Russian Ministry of Defense has beforehand stated it’s concentrating on solely army infrastructure.

Police officers remove the body Wednesday of a passerby killed in an airstrike that hit Kyiv's main television tower.

While the US and NATO allies have aided Ukraine by sharing arms, army tools and intelligence, as effectively as imposing extreme financial sanctions on Russia, the alliance has so far made clear it has no plans to ship troopers into Ukrainian territory.

Ukraine, which isn’t a NATO member, has mounted a fierce resistance, however in a uncommon interview from a Kyiv bunker Tuesday, President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that his nation — which has a a lot smaller army than Russia — wants more assist to forestall the disaster from spreading throughout Europe.

“I’ve spoken to Biden many times,” Zelensky informed CNN. “And I’ve told them many times that Ukraine will resist and fight stronger than anyone else but on our own against Russia we won’t manage it.”

A woman cries outside houses damaged by a Russian airstrike, according to locals, in Gorenka, outside Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, on Wednesday.

Onslaught in Ukraine

As Russia continued to strike key cities on Wednesday, the humanitarian value of the invasion is steadily growing.

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The International Criminal Court stated on Wednesday that it has opened an investigation into alleged Russian conflict crimes in Ukraine. ICC Prosecutor Karim A.A. Khan stated in an announcement that 39 of the court docket’s member states had requested for the investigation to proceed.

“Our work in the collection of evidence has now commenced,” Khan stated, noting the investigation will cowl incidents in Ukraine from 2013 to the current.

Khan stated his workplace “had already found a reasonable basis to believe crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court had been committed, and had identified potential cases that would be admissible.”

Meanwhile, the variety of folks fleeing the nation continues to rise. The UN stated Wednesday it had recorded the arrival of 835,928 refugees from Ukraine because the invasion started on February 24. Of these, greater than 450,000 have entered Poland.

“We are looking at what could become Europe’s largest refugee crisis this century,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi stated a day earlier.

The UK Ministry of Defence stated in an intelligence replace Wednesday that Russia’s total positive factors had been restricted in the previous 24 hours, including this was most likely because of “ongoing logistical difficulties and strong Ukrainian resistance.”

Russia has continued to focus on built-up areas with air strikes and heavy artillery, it added, focusing primarily on Kharkiv, Kyiv, Mariupol and Chernihiv.

A boy sits at an underground metro station used as bomb shelter in Kyiv on March 2, 2023.

Russian forces transferring in direction of Kyiv in the northern a part of Ukraine, together with a 40-mile Russian convoy of tanks, armored autos and towed artillery, “remain stalled,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby stated throughout a Wednesday briefing.

“They haven’t from our best estimates made any appreciable progress in the last 24-36 hours,” Kirby stated of the Russian forces transferring in direction of Kyiv. “Nothing very significant.”

Kirby stated the stall is probably going because of quite a lot of elements together with Russian forces intentionally “regrouping themselves and reassessing the progress that they have not made and how to make up the lost time,” “logistics and sustainment challenges,” and “resistance from the Ukrainians,” Kirby stated.

In Kyiv, sick kids are being handled in a hospital’s underground bomb shelters. A missile hit a personal maternity clinic close to the capital on Tuesday, leaving the clinic broken however nonetheless standing, in keeping with the clinic’s chief. Separately, a army strike tore by two condo blocks in a city west of Kyiv.

Russian forces additionally fired rockets that hit close to a TV tower. In an announcement Wednesday, Russia’s protection ministry acknowledged finishing up long-range strikes on communications infrastructure in Ukraine.

Russia says its economy is taking 'serious blows' as isolation grows

Russian and Ukrainian delegations had been set to satisfy later Wednesday for a brand new spherical of talks, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stated in a name with overseas journalists. He gave no particulars in regards to the location or format of the discussions.

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Peskov additionally acknowledged in the decision that the Russian economic system was taking “serious blows” as a results of sanctions imposed by the West, however stated there was a “certain margin of safety” and that the economic system “will stay on its feet.”

A Ukrainian presidential aide informed CNN the 2 delegations had been anticipated to comprise the identical representatives as in the primary spherical of talks on Monday, held in Belarus close to the Ukrainian border. The two sides mentioned a possible ceasefire, in keeping with a Ukrainian presidential adviser, however no concrete outcome emerged.

In a Facebook put up revealed Wednesday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba stated Russia’s claims had been unchanged throughout Monday’s talks. “We are ready for talks, we are ready for diplomacy, but we are not in any way ready to accept any Russian ultimatums,” he added.

Anti-tank traps are seen on the outskirts of Odesa, Ukraine, on Tuesday, March 1, 2023.

Meanwhile, the worldwide neighborhood is stepping up strain on Putin, leaving Russia more and more remoted.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated Wednesday that the UK would “continue to tighten the noose around Putin’s regime,” including that its use of munitions in civilian areas “in my view already fully qualifies as a war crime.”

French President Emmanuel Macron stated Europe has been “shaken” by the conflict in Ukraine in an deal with to the nation on Wednesday.

“Our continent, like many aspects of our daily lives, has been shaken by this war and will experience great changes in the months that come,” Macron stated.

“Hundreds and thousands of refugees have been and will be welcomed on the continent of Europe,” he stated, including that France will “play its role” in ensuring that the youngsters of Ukrainians who keep in the nation to battle might be taken care of.

Zelensky has urged the worldwide neighborhood to do more, calling on the US and NATO to ascertain a no-fly zone over Ukraine or put boots on the bottom.

But Polish President Andrzej Duda stated Tuesday that his nation wouldn’t ship fighter jets to Ukraine “because that would open military inference in the Ukrainian conflict.”

In his speech Tuesday, Biden reiterated that US wouldn’t deploy troops to Ukraine. Instead, American troops had been in Europe to “defend our NATO allies in the event that Putin decides to keep moving west,” Biden stated.

CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh, Natalie Gallón, Paul P. Murphy, Jake Tapper, Sharon Braithwaite, DJ Judd, Tim Lister, Kyle Almond, Hadas Gold, Olya Voitovych, Vasco Cotovio, Betsy Klein, Adam Pourahmadi and Ellie Kaufman contributed to this report.


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