Ukraine says Russia seized more than a dozen relief workers in Mariupol convoy – What We Know!

KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian leaders accused Russia of seizing 15 rescue staff and drivers from a humanitarian convoy attempting to get desperately wanted meals and different provides into the bloodied port metropolis of Mariupol, which additionally got here underneath naval assault after weeks of air and land strikes.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy estimated that 100,000 civilians remained in Mariupol, scene of among the warfare’s worst devastation, as Russia presses a virtually month-old offensive by bombarding cities and cities. These made it out described a shattered metropolis.

“They bombed us for the previous 20 days,” stated 39-year-old Viktoria Totsen, who fled into Poland. “Over the last 5 days, the planes had been flying over us each 5 seconds and dropped bombs all over the place – on residential buildings, kindergartens, artwork faculties, all over the place.”

Zelenskyy, talking Tuesday in his nightly video handle to his nation, accused Russian forces of blocking the help convoy regardless of agreeing to the route forward of time. He stated they seized one convoy, close to Manhush, simply outdoors Mariupol, taking the emergency staff and drivers captive and that authorities try to win their launch.

“We try to prepare steady humanitarian corridors for Mariupol residents, however nearly all of our makes an attempt, sadly, are foiled by the Russian occupiers, by shelling or deliberate terror,” Zelenskyy stated. He stated the

The Crimson Cross confirmed a humanitarian help convoy attempting to succeed in town had not been in a position to enter.

The convoy’s try and ship help got here as Russian navy vessels joined in what have been weeks of Russian air and land strikes into Mariupol, U.S. officers stated.

A senior U.S. protection official, talking on situation of anonymity to present the Pentagon’s evaluation, stated Russian ships within the Sea of Azov added to the shelling of Mariupol. The official stated there have been about seven Russian ships in that space, together with a minesweeper and a few touchdown vessels.

The palms of 1 exhausted Mariupol survivor shook as she arrived by prepare within the western metropolis of Lviv.

“There’s no reference to the world. We couldn’t ask for assist,” stated Julia Krytska, who was helped by volunteers to make it out along with her husband and son. “Folks don’t even have water there.”

U.S. President Joe Biden is because of head to Europe for an emergency NATO summit Thursday on Russia’s invasion and more and more hostile stance towards the West, the place NATO members and different European allies are strengthening their defenses.

Biden is touring to Brussels and Poland, which has obtained greater than 2 million Ukrainian refugees for the reason that Feb. 24 invasion. He’s anticipated to hunt continued unity amongst Western allies and to announce extra sanctions on Russia.

Requested on CNN what Russian President Vladimir Putin had achieved in Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated: “Effectively, to start with, not but. He hasn’t achieved but.” However he insisted that the army operation was going “strictly in accordance with the plans and functions that had been established beforehand.”

Putin’s goals stay to “do away with the army potential of Ukraine” and to “be certain that Ukraine adjustments from an anti-Russian middle to a impartial nation,” Peskov stated.

In Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, continued shelling and gunfire shook town early Wednesday, with plumes of black smoke rising from the western outskirts.

Heavy artillery hearth was heard on Tuesday too from the northwest, the place Russia has sought to encircle and seize a number of suburbs. Ukraine’s protection ministry stated its forces partially misplaced three suburbs in that space, however recaptured one other, Makariv, west of Kyiv.

A video posted by Ukrainian police confirmed them surveying injury in Makariv, together with to the city’s police station, which an officer stated took a direct hit to its roof. The police drove by destroyed residential buildings and alongside a highway pocked by shelling. The city appeared all however abandoned.

The Russian forces bombed and destroyed a bridge within the encircled northern metropolis of Chernihiv that crossed the Desna River and related town to Kyiv, regional governor Viacheslav Chaus stated Wednesday. Deliveries of humanitarian help and evacuations of civilians went by means of that bridge. Native authorities have warned of a humanitarian catastrophe within the metropolis, with no water or electrical energy.

A Western official, talking on situation of anonymity to debate army assessments, stated Ukrainian resistance has introduced a lot of Russia’s advance to a halt however has not despatched Moscow’s forces into retreat.

“We now have seen indications that the Ukrainians are going a bit extra on the offensive now,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby advised reporters individually in Washington. He stated that was notably true in southern Ukraine, together with close to Kherson, the place “they’ve tried to regain territory.”

Russia’s far stronger, larger army has many Western army consultants warning towards overconfidence in Ukraine’s long-term odds. Russia’s observe in previous wars in Chechnya and Syria has been to grind down resistance with strikes that flattened cities, killed numerous civilians and despatched hundreds of thousands fleeing.

However Russian forces appeared unprepared and have typically carried out badly towards Ukrainian resistance.

The U.S. estimates Russia has misplaced a bit greater than 10% of the general fight functionality it had at the beginning of the battle, together with troops, tanks and different materiel.

Western officers say Russian forces are dealing with critical shortages of meals, gas and chilly climate gear, leaving some troopers affected by frostbite.

The invasion has pushed greater than 10 million folks from their houses, nearly 1 / 4 of Ukraine’s inhabitants, in keeping with the United Nations.

Hundreds of civilians are believed to have died. Estimates of Russian army casualties range broadly, however even conservative figures by Western officers are within the low 1000’s.

Putin’s troops are dealing with unexpectedly robust resistance that has left the majority of Moscow’s floor forces miles from the middle of Kyiv, and they’re making sluggish progress on obvious efforts to chop off fighters in jap Ukraine. The Russians more and more are concentrating their air energy and artillery on Ukraine’s cities and civilians.

Talks to finish the combating have continued by video. Zelenskyy stated negotiations with Russia are going “step-by-step, however they’re going ahead.”

U.N. Secretary-Normal Antonio Guterres stated he noticed progress “coming into view on a number of key points,” and that the beneficial properties are sufficient to finish hostilities now. He gave no particulars.

The Western official, although, stated that there have been no indicators Moscow was able to compromise.

Of their final replace on March 15, Mariupol officers stated no less than 2,300 folks had died within the siege. Accounts from town counsel the true toll is way larger, with our bodies mendacity uncollected. Airstrikes over the previous week destroyed a theater and an artwork faculty the place many civilians had been taking shelter.

Zelenskyy, in his handle, stated greater than 7,000 folks had been evacuated from Mariupol on Tuesday. Those that stay endure “in inhuman situations, underneath a full blockade, with out meals, with out water, with out drugs and underneath fixed shelling, underneath fixed bombardment,” he stated.

Earlier than the warfare, 430,000 folks lived in Mariupol.

Perched on the Sea of Azov, Mariupol is a vital port for Ukraine and lies alongside a stretch of territory between Russia and Crimea. The siege has minimize town off from the ocean and allowed Russia to ascertain a land hall to Crimea.

It’s not clear how a lot of town Russia holds, with fleeing residents saying combating continues avenue by avenue.

Additional west within the seaside metropolis of Odesa on Tuesday, avenue musicians performed underneath cloudless skies as barricades lined the streets and {couples} parted methods on the station in tears, as residents ready for what they concern will probably be an escalated Russian assault.

Fondly generally known as the Pearl of the Black Sea, Odesa was awash with a bittersweet air – sandbags and safety forces clashing with romantic jazz rippling from the prepare station audio system.

“I can’t perceive what has occurred,” stated Igor Topsi, a 56-year-old musician who’s been taking part in the drums on the streets of Odesa for over three a long time.

On the central station, a younger man on the platform stated goodbye by telephone to his girlfriend sitting contained in the prepare. Solely a pane of glass separated them.

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Anna reported from Lviv, Ukraine. Related Press author Yuras Karmanau in Lviv, and different AP journalists world wide contributed to this report.

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