Russia intensifies Mariupol bombardment as street fighting rages

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Russian forces person intensified their bombardment of the besieged Ukrainian metropolis of Mariupol arsenic thoroughfare warring has raged connected Tuesday, a time aft Mariupol authorities rejected Moscow’s ultimatum to surrender, Ukrainian officials said.

Russian shelling is turning the confederate metropolis into the “ashes of a dormant land”, the metropolis assembly said connected Tuesday. Russia’s RIA quality bureau said Russian forces and units of Russian-backed separatists had taken astir fractional of the city, citing a separatist leader.

While a fewer evacuations from the metropolis person taken spot successful caller days, hundreds of thousands stay trapped wrong the metropolis and are lacking food, water, vigor and energy since Russian soldiers encircled the metropolis much than 2 weeks ago.

Ukraine’s lawman premier curate says astatine slightest 100,000 civilians privation to flight from the city, but cannot due to the fact that of a deficiency of harmless evacuation corridors. Iryna Vereshchuk said that shelling by Russian forces was besides preventing rescue workers from accessing the tract of a bombed theatre successful Mariupol wherever metropolis officials accidental hundreds were believed to beryllium sheltering underground erstwhile it was deed by an aerial raid past week.

In a video code to Italy’s parliament, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said determination was “nothing left” successful the metropolis pursuing the Russian bombardment.

Kyiv has accused Moscow of deporting residents of Mariupol and separatist-held areas of Ukraine to Russia. Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna  Venediktova said Kyiv was investigating the “forcible transfer” of 2,389 children to Russia from the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. Moscow denies forcing radical to leave, saying it is taking successful refugees.

The relentless attacks connected Mariupol, including connected a maternity ward and connected a theatre sheltering hundreds of radical past week, person go the look of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s warfare successful Ukraine, which started connected February 24. Putin described the penetration arsenic a “special subject operation” and Russia says it does not people civilians.

Ukraine accused Russia of blocking humanitarian entree to the confederate metropolis of Kherson, which lies northwest of Crimea and is the lone provincial superior it has captured since the full-scale penetration was launched. The Foreign Ministry said Kherson’s 300,000 residents were moving retired of food.

Ukrainian counteroffensives

In the north, Ukrainian forces reportedly pushed backmost Russia’s advances with counteroffensives adjacent Kyiv, Kharkiv and Mykolaiv.

Fighting intensified northwest of the capital, with Ukraine saying connected Monday that its troops had retaken power of the territory of Makariv.

On Tuesday, warring continued successful the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-biggest city, wherever astatine slightest 600 buildings person been destroyed by Russian shelling since the commencement of the war, according to section authorities.

“There person been aerial raid sirens going connected each time with changeless artillery occurrence that you tin perceive adjacent from the centre of the city,” said Al Jazeera’s Assed Baig, reporting from Kharkiv. Two dormant bodies were recovered nether the rubble connected Tuesday, 20 days aft an airstrike deed a gathering successful the metropolis centre, Baig said.

Meanwhile the superior Kyiv has been nether a curfew since Monday, aft a Russian aerial onslaught killed 8 radical successful a residential area.

Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan, reporting from Kyiv, noted that arsenic Russia’s beforehand into the superior has stalled successful the past days, Russian forces person accrued the fig of aerial strikes against Ukrainian cities.

“That suggests that determination is simply a alteration of maneuver from Russian forces,” Khan said. “And that is what we are really seeing, peculiarly successful the northbound of the capital.”

On the negotiating front, Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy said precocious Monday that helium was acceptable to conscionable Putin “in immoderate format” to sermon ending the war, but added that immoderate woody would person to spell done a referendum. Zelenskyy said the presumption of contested territories successful the country’s eastbound could beryllium discussed, and that Kyiv was consenting to shelve its NATO ambition successful speech for the withdrawal of Russian forces.

The humanitarian toll

The United Nations quality rights bureau successful Geneva said connected Tuesday that it had recorded 953 civilian deaths and 1,557 injuries since the commencement of the invasion, though the existent toll was believed to beryllium overmuch higher.

On Monday, Save the Children said that up to six cardinal children stuck successful Ukraine “are successful imminent danger” and astatine slightest 64 schools and 43 hospitals person been bombed by Russia.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says much than 3.5 cardinal radical person fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, marking different milestone successful the wide exodus that has led to Europe’s worst exile situation since World War II. More than 2 cardinal of the refugees person entered neighbouring Poland, with much than 540,000 and 367,000 others crossing into Romania and Moldova, respectively.

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Al Jazeera and quality agencies

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