Ukraine war: More casualties in Kharkiv as Russia targets urban areas

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An armed man stands at the Maidan Independence Square in the centre of Kyiv

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AP Photo

Russia has escalated its attacks on Ukraine, as Vladimir Putin unleashes a campaign of violence in urban areas as they close in on the main cities. Moscow says its forces have taken control of the first large city, seizing Kherson in the south.

Several more civilian casualties have been reported on Wednesday morning in Russian bombardments in the second city Kharkiv.

In his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, US President Joe Biden said if Putin is not made to “pay a price” for the invasion, the aggression will not stop with one country.

06:52

A summary of key points: 

    An intensified assault continued on Kharkiv overnight, with reports of Russian artillery strikes and airborne troops landing in Ukraine’s largest city.The Russian army claims it has captured Kherson, after the Russian troops took control of the railway station and the port during the night. Russian forces pressed their assault on other towns and cities across the country, including the strategic port of Mariupol in the south.Zelenskyy addressed the nation, expressing his fear for the country’s religious and cultural sites, saying that the Russian troops are there to “erase our history”.Belarusian troops were put on alert and could join the invasion shortly as the Ukrainian intelligence noticed “significant activity” of Minsk aircraft and supplies near the border. Human Rights Watch said it documented a cluster bomb attack outside a hospital in Ukraine’s east in recent days. Local residents also reported the use of the weapons in Kharkiv and the village of Kiyanka. The Kremlin denied using cluster bombs.A senior US defence official described the long Russian army convoy heading to Kyiv as “bogged down”, saying Russia appeared to be pausing and regrouping to evaluate how to retake the momentum in the fighting.Overall, the Russian military has been stalled by fierce resistance on the ground and a surprising inability to completely dominate Ukraine’s airspace. The UN says more than 660,000 refugees have fled Ukraine in six days and numbers are growing “exponentially”.

11:37

Kharkiv: ‘4 killed and 9 hurt’ in new bombardments as Russia targets city

At least four people were killed and nine others injured in Russian bombings that targeted the headquarters of the security services and a university in Kharkiv, Ukraine on Wednesday morning, Ukrainian emergency services said.
“So far ten people have been rescued from the rubble, the preliminary toll is four dead and nine injured,” the source continued in a message on social media as the country’s second-largest city came under attack from Russian armed forces.More than 20 people were killed on Tuesday in bombardments, including in the bombardment of the local government headquarters. (AFP)11:00

European natural gas price soars

The European reference price of natural gas, the Dutch FTT, soared on Wednesday to 194.715 euros per megawatt-hour (MWh) in an all-time high.The price hike was propelled by the war in Ukraine, with Russia being a major gas producer and exporter.The price of British gas for delivery next month reached 463.83 pence per thermie (one unit of heat quantity equal to 1000 kcal) — which is very close to its all-time high reached last December, at 470.83 pence.10:50

Brussels announces temporary residence permits for Ukrainian refugees in the EU

The European Union is moving toward granting temporary protection to those fleeing Russia’s invasion as it steps up aid for Ukraine.

The European Commission announced Wednesday it will give temporary residence permits to the refugees and allow them the right to education and work in the 27-nation bloc.

The move still has to be approved by the member states, but they already expressed broad support over the weekend.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, “all those fleeing Putin’s bombs are welcome in Europe. We will provide protection to those seeking shelter and we will help those looking for a safe way home.”

On Tuesday, she already committed at least half a billion euros of the bloc’s budget to deal with the humanitarian consequences of the war in Ukraine.

10:46

PM Sánchez: Spain to send military aid to Ukraine

Spain has decided to send military equipment to the “Ukrainian resistance”, Spain’s left-wing government head Pedro Sánchez said Wednesday in an address to the Chamber of Deputies.

“As I see that there are [political] groups that question the government’s commitment” to participate in military aid to Ukraine, “I also want to announce that Spain will deliver military equipment to the Ukrainian resistance,” Prime Minister Sánchez stated.

09:37

Zelenskyy fears for sacred sites, says Russian troops there to ‘erase history’ 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has expressed concern that Russian attacks could threaten holy religious sites and said Russian troops are trying to “erase our history”.

In a speech posted on Facebook, Zelenskyy on Wednesday denounced a Russian strike that hit Holocaust memorial site Babyn Yar in Kyiv.

He said: “This is beyond inhumane. Such missile strike means that for many Russians our Kyiv is absolutely foreign. They know nothing about our capital, about our history. They have orders to erase our history, our country and all of us.”

“What will be next if even Babyn Yar [is hit], what other ‘military’ objects, ‘NATO bases’ are threatening Russia? St. Sophia’s Cathedral, Lavra, Andrew’s Church?” he asked, referring to sites in Kyiv held sacred by Ukrainian and Russian Orthodox believers around the world.

Zelenskyy also claimed almost 6,000 Russian soldiers have been killed since the invasion began last Thursday. Russia has not released overall casualty numbers and the figure could not be confirmed.

Watch his statement here: ⬇️

09:08

Russian MoD: Attack on Kyiv TV tower ‘did not hit residential buildings’

Russia’s Defence Ministry claimed on Wednesday that Russian aviation disabled the main TV tower in Ukraine’s capital in an airstrike, but said the attack did not hit any residential buildings.

Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov did not address deaths from Tuesday’s strike or damage to the adjacent Babyn Yar memorial to Kyiv’s Holocaust victims. He said the attack was aimed at disabling Ukraine’s ability to stage “information attacks.”

Ukraine’s State Service for Emergency Situations said the strikes on the TV tower killed five people and left five more wounded. Ukrainian television stations briefly went down after the strike but were later restored.

08:45

Russian army claims captured Kherson, mayor says otherwise

The Russian army said on Wednesday morning it had captured the Ukrainian port city of Kherson, located in the south of the country near the Crimean peninsula, after fierce fighting in recent hours.

“Russian army units have taken full control of the regional capital of Kherson,” Russian armed forces spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.

Minutes earlier, at 06:43 GMT, the city’s Ukrainian mayor, Igor Kolykhayev, said the town was still under Ukrainian control.
“We are still Ukraine. We are still resisting,” he said on his Facebook account.07:59

Russian airstrike on Zhytomyr kills at least two, authorities say

A Russian airstrike hit a residential area near a hospital late Tuesday in Zhytomyr, a city about 140 kilometres west of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, Mayor Sergii Sukhomlin said in a Facebook video.

Ukraine’s emergency services said the strike killed at least two people and injured another 16, set three homes on fire and broke the windows in the hospital.

Zhytomyr is the home of the elite 95th Air Assault Brigade, which may have been the intended target.

07:26

Russia’s largest bank Sberbank to leave European market

Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank Group, said it was pulling out of the European market after being hit by massive financial sanctions in retaliation for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

“In the current situation, Sberbank has decided to withdraw from the European market. The group’s subsidiary banks are facing abnormal outflows of funds and threats to the safety of their employees and offices,” the group said in a statement on Wednesday, quoted by Russian state news agencies.

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