Russian forces captured a strategic Ukrainian port and besieged another on Thursday in an offer to cut the country off from the sea, like the two sides met for another one round of talks aimed at stopping the fighting that has set off an exodus of over 1 million refugees.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian media reports said that Russian troops had entered the south city of Enerhodar, a major energy hub on the Dnieper River which counts for on one-quarter of that of the country power generation. This is the website of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe.
Moscow’s Advance on The Ukrainian capital is apparently at a standstill over the past A few days, with a huge armored column north of Kyiv stopped, but the military at made significant gains in the south in the frame of an effort to sever the country’s connection with the Black and Azov seas.
The Russian military said he was in control of Kherson, and local Ukrainian officials confirmed that the forces took over local government Headquarter in the black sea port of 280,000, making it the first Major city fall from the invasion started a week ago.
Heavy fighting continued on The suburbs of another strategic port, Mariupol, on the Sea of Azov, plunging it into darkness, isolation and fear. Electricity and telephone services were largely downet homes and shops faced food and water shortages.
Without telephone connections, doctors do not have know where to take the wounded.
Cut Ukraine access to its Black Sea and Azov coast would deal a crippling blow to the economy and allow Russia to build a land corridor extending from its border, through Crimea, occupied by Russia since 2014, and all way west of Romania.
A second round of talks between the Ukrainian and Russian delegations have started in neighboring Belarus, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy office.
But both sides seemed to have little common before the meeting, and Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Ukraine that it must quickly accept the Kremlin agreement demand for its “demilitarization” and declare itself neutral, formally renouncing its attempt to join NATO.
Putin has long argued that Ukraine’s turn to the West is a menace existential for Moscow, an argument justifying the invasion.
Putin told French President Emmanuel Macron he was determined to put pressure on on with his attack “until the end”, according to a official in of the French president office.
Despite a profusion of evidence of civilian casualties and destruction of civil infrastructure by Russian militarysome of he documented by the Associated Press (AP), Putin also called charges that son military attacked residential areas of “anti-Russian disinformation campaignand insisted that Russia uses “only precision weapons to destroy military Infrastructure.”
Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamiya said Kyiv is main demand in the talks would be the establishment of humanitarian corridors so that civilians can reach safety. Ukraine also called for a ceasefirefire.
Ukrainians again in the country faced another dark day. In Kyivla snow gave way to a cold gray drizzle, as long lines formed outside the few pharmacies and bakeries that remain open.
Further bombings were reported in The North city of Chernihiv, where emergency officials said at least 22 civilians were killed in a Russian bombardment of a residential area. They warned that the number of casualties could increase as rescuers search through the debris. The mayor said he was struggling organize a safe passage for civilians.
Families with children leak via muddy and snowy roads in ballast region of Donetsk, while military strikes on the village of Yakovlivka near the east city of Kharkov destroyed 30 men leaving three dead and seven wounded, and rescuers fired 10 people ruins, according to emergency authorities.
The Ukrainian authorities have called on the people lead a guerrilla war against Putin’s forces by cutting down trees, erect barricades in cities and attack enemy rear columns.
“Total resistance… This is our Ukrainian asset card and that’s what we can do best in the world”, Ukrainian presidential aide Oleksiy Arestovich said. in a video message, recalling the guerrilla actions in Nazi-occupied Ukraine during World War II.
In just seven days of combat, more more than 2% of Ukraine population was forced out of the country, according to the tally the UN refugee agency provided to the AP.
The mass evacuation could be seen in Kharkiv, Russia second-most grand city, with about 1.4 million people. Desperate residents escape falling shells and bombs invaded the station and pressed against the trains, not always knowing where they were going.
At least 227 civilians were killed and 525 injured in that time, according to office of the United Nations High Commissioner for human rights, although he acknowledged that this is a vast undercount, and Ukraine said earlier more more than 2,000 civilians died. This figure could not be independently verified.
During this time, a senior we defense official said the huge Russian column of hundreds of tanks and others vehicles seemed stuck about 25 kilometers (16 miles) from Kyiv and had made no real progress in the last A few days.
The convoy, which earlier in the week had seemed about to launch an assault on the capital, was plagued with fuel and food shortages, official noted.
Zelenskyy said Russian ground forces were at a standstill and Moscow was now going wild air attacks, but that they are parried by the Ukrainians defense systems, including in Kherson.
“Kyiv withstood the night and another missile and bomb attack. Our air the defenses worked,” he said. “Kherson, Izyum – all other cities that the occupants hit from air does not have give up nothing.”
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said explosions were heard overnight in the Ukrainian capital where Russian missiles were fired down by air defense systems.
In Kherson, the Russians took over the headquarters of the regional administration, said Hennady Lahuta, governor of the region. But he added that he and other officials continued to perform their duties.
From Kherson, Russian troops appeared to be rolling towards Mykolaiv, another grand Black Sea port and shipbuilding center to the west. Regional Governor Vitaliy Kim said that big convoys of Russian troops advancing on the city.
A group of Russian amphibious landing ships also directed to the port of Odessa, westernmost, Ukraine military noted.
Russia reported son military Wednesday casualties for the first time in the war, saying almost 500 of his troops were killed and nearly 1,600 wounded. Ukraine has insisted that Russia’s losses are many times higher but did not disclose his military victims.
In a video address to the nation on Thursday morning, Zelenskyy hailed the resistance of son country.
“We are a people who in a week have destroyed the plans of the enemy”, he said. “They will not have peace here. They will have no food. They will not have here one quiet moment.”
He said the fighting was taking its toll on the moral of Russian soldiers, who “go to the grocery store stores and try to find something to eat.”
“They are not warriors of a superpower,” he said. “These are confused children who were used.”
Around Ukraine, others piled into train stations, carrying children envelope in blankets and dragging wheeled suitcases around new live as refugees.
Among the more than one million refugees who fled Ukraine in in recent days, some 200 orphans with severe physical and mental disabilities who arrived from Kyiv by train in Hungary on Wednesday.