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Saturday, April 1, 2023

Despite Peace Talks, Russian Forces Try to Punch Through Ukrainian Defences

Russia’s armed troops shelled Kiev and other major cities on Wednesday in an attempt to smash a Ukrainian resistance that has stymied their progress nearly three weeks after their invasion.

With Russia’s ground assault on Kyiv stalling despite the continuous shelling, there was a ray of hope that discussions between the two sides may move forward. Negotiations will continue, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and Russia’s demands for a cease-fire are becoming “more feasible.”

Russia shelled Kyiv and the surrounding region, causing a 12-story residential complex to erupt in flames after being damaged by shrapnel.

Russian soldiers, according to Zelenskyy, have been unable to advance farther into Ukrainian territory, but have continued to bomb cities heavily. Intelligence reports from the United Kingdom and the United States backed with the Ukrainian president’s assessment of the conflict.

In his nightly video message to the country, he remarked, “Efforts are still needed, patience is needed.” “Every battle comes to an end with an accord.”

According to a senior US defense official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the Pentagon’s assessment, the Russians are increasingly deploying long-range artillery to attack civilian targets inside Kyiv, but their ground forces are making little to no advance throughout the nation. According to the source, Russian soldiers were still around 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the capital’s core.

In a rare address to the US Congress by a foreign leader, Zelenskyy was set to make a direct call for extra assistance on Wednesday. Meanwhile, NATO military ministers are scheduled to meet in Brussels on Wednesday.

The number of civilians leaving Ukraine during Europe’s deadliest combat since World War II topped 3 million, prompting diplomatic and ground developments.

According to a statement and photographs provided by the Kyiv emergencies service, artillery shrapnel hit the 12-story apartment building in central Kyiv on Wednesday, obliterating the top level and igniting a fire that projected plumes of smoke over the neighborhood.

The adjoining structure was also harmed. The agency stated that there were two casualties, but did not specify whether they were hurt or killed.

According to regional commander Oleksiy Kuleba, Russian soldiers have escalated battle in the Kyiv suburbs, particularly around the town of Bucha in the northwest and the highway going west toward Zhytomyr.

There were reports of water shortages in twelve towns near Kyiv, as well as six villages without heat. “The constant gunfire is doing havoc on kindergartens, museums, churches, residential buildings, and engineering infrastructure across the capital region,” Kuleba added.

Russian soldiers, he added, were attempting to cut off transit to the city and damage logistical capabilities while plotting a broad assault to grab the capital.

Russian soldiers have taken control of the city of Ivankiv, 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Kyiv, and the surrounding territory on the Belarusian border, according to Kuleba.

According to local sources, 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.

The Associated Press studied satellite photographs from Planet Labs PBC that showed helicopters and vehicles fire at the Russian-controlled Kherson International Airport and Air Base during a suspected Ukrainian strike on Tuesday.

According to Zelenskyy’s office, Ukrainian forces blocked Russian attempts to penetrate Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, which had been battered by nearly nonstop attacks for the previous 24 hours. Overnight, the city was rocked by a massive explosion.

As the conflict raged outside, hospital employees found themselves on two frontlines, combating COVID-19 in intensive care units. The hospital’s director, Dr. Pavel Nartov, stated that air raid sirens ring off many times a day, pushing frail patients into a makeshift bomb bunker at the Kharkiv Regional Clinical Infectious Diseases Hospital.

Handling ICU patients on ventilators is tough and risky, he continued, because oxygen tanks are vulnerable 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 moment,” Nartov told The Associated Press.

Since the start of what Russia calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine, Russian troops have allegedly destroyed 111 Ukrainian planes, 160 drones, and over 1,000 tanks or other military equipment, according to Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov.

The Russian military’s daily public announcements on the conflict virtually entirely focus on combat in the separatist-controlled Donetsk and Luhansk areas, as well as on Ukrainian military targets, while ignoring attacks on civilians.

Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister, voiced her dismay on Wednesday after learning that Russian soldiers kidnapped 400 medics and civilians at a hospital in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol on Tuesday. Mariupol has already seen some of the war’s worst atrocities.

According to Vereshchuk, the Russians are utilizing the hospital as a fire platform. She said that Russian soldiers fired on humanitarian convoys and evacuee collecting locations, making it more difficult to open relief and evacuation convoys on Wednesday after thousands of people were able to flee Mariupol on Tuesday.

Officials from Ukraine have given conflicting estimates of how many people have been safely evacuated from Mariupol and how many have made it to Zaporizhzhia, a city 227 kilometers (141 miles) west of Mariupol that has been designated as the evacuation route’s conclusion.

Russian forces, according to regional commander Pavlo Kyrylenko, pushed approximately 400 residents from adjacent houses into the Regional Intensive Care Hospital and were using them, along with about 100 patients and employees, as human shields by refusing to let them leave.

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 atrocities they’ve witnessed. “We don’t want to be remembered as martyrs and heroes after we’ve died,” one lady added. “It’s torn off limbs and legs, gouged out eyes, corpses shredded into shreds, insides coming out,” she added, adding that referring to the people as injured was inadequate.

A Russian state television employee was fined around $270 after interrupting a live news show to protest the war in Ukraine, but he still faces a prison sentence.

Marina Ovsyannikova said after her release, “These were incredibly tough days of my life since I actually went two full days without sleep, the questioning lasted for more than 14 hours, and they didn’t allow me to contact my family and close friends, didn’t offer any legal help.”

During Monday’s evening news broadcast, Ovsyannikova, a Channel 1 employee, stepped into the studio with a sign that said, “Stop the war, don’t believe the propaganda, they are lying to you here.” The poster said “no war” at the top and “Russians opposing the war” at the bottom in English.

Two Fox News journalists were murdered 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.

Cedric Blackwater
Cedric Blackwater
Cedric is a journalist with over a decade of experience reporting on local US news, and touching on many global topics. He is currently the lead writer for Bulletin News.

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