Crisis deepens, Ukraine accuses Moscow of ‘medieval’ tactics – Daily Local

By Yuras Karmanau

LVIV, Ukraine (AP) — The humanitarian crisis in Ukraine worsened on Monday as Russian forces stepped up their bombardment and food, water, heat and medicine became increasingly scarce, in what the country condemned as a medieval-style siege by Moscow to subdue it. .

A third round of talks between the two sides ended with a senior Ukrainian official saying there had been minor, unspecified progress towards establishing safe corridors that would allow civilians to escape the fighting. Russia’s chief negotiator said he expects those corridors to start working on Tuesday.

But that remained to be seen, given the failure of previous attempts to get civilians to safety amid the biggest ground war in Europe since World War II.

Well into the second week of the invasion, with Russian troops making significant progress in southern Ukraine but stalling in other areas, a senior US official said several countries were discussing the advisability of supplying the fighter jets for which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pleaded.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces continued to bombard towns with rockets and heavy fighting raged in places. In the face of the shelling, Zelenskyy said Ukrainian forces were showing unprecedented courage.

“The problem is that for one Ukrainian soldier we have 10 Russian soldiers, and for one Ukrainian tank we have 50 Russian tanks,” Zelenskyy told ABC News in an interview that aired Monday night. He noted that the gap between the forces was narrowing and that even if Russian forces “came to all our cities”, they would encounter an insurgency.

In one of the most desperate towns, the beleaguered southern port of Mariupol, around 200,000 people – almost half of the population of 430,000 – hoped to flee, and Red Cross officials were waiting to hear when a corridor would be established.

The city lacks water, food and electricity, and mobile phone networks are down. Shops were looted as residents searched for essential goods.

Police moved around the city, advising people to stay in shelters until they heard official messages from loudspeakers to evacuate.

Hospitals in Mariupol face severe shortages of antibiotics and painkillers, and doctors have performed some emergency procedures without them.

The lack of phone service left anxious citizens reaching out to strangers asking if they knew relatives living in other parts of the city and if they were safe.

In the capital, Kyiv, soldiers and volunteers have built hundreds of checkpoints to protect the city of nearly 4 million people, often using sandbags, piled up tires and spiked cables . Some barricades looked substantial, with heavy concrete slabs and sandbags stacked more than two stories high, while others looked more haphazard, with hundreds of pounds used to weigh down piles of tires.

“Every house, every street, every checkpoint, we will fight to the death if necessary,” Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.

In Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine, with 1.4 million inhabitants, heavy shelling hit apartment buildings.

“I think it hit the fourth floor below us,” Dmitry Sedorenko said from his hospital bed in Kharkiv. “Immediately everything started to burn and crumble.” When the ground collapsed beneath him, he crawled across the third floor, past the bodies of some of his neighbors.

Klitschko reported that fierce battles continued in the Kyiv region, including around Bucha, Hostomel, Vorzel and Irpin.

In Irpin area, which was cut off from electricity, water and heating for three days, witnesses saw at least three tanks and said Russian soldiers were seizing homes and cars .

A few miles away, in the small town of Horenka, where shelling reduced an area to ash and shards of glass, rescuers and locals searched the ruins as chickens pecked around them.

“What are they doing?” rescuer Vasyl Oksak asked the Russian attackers. “There were two small children and two elderly people living here. Come in and see what they’ve done.

In the south, Russian forces also continued their offensive in Mykolaiv, opening fire on the Black Sea shipbuilding center of half a million people, according to the Ukrainian military. Rescuers said they were putting out fires caused by rocket attacks in residential areas.

In The Hague, Netherlands, Ukraine pleaded with the International Court of Justice to order a halt to the Russian invasion, claiming that Moscow was committing widespread war crimes.

Russia “uses tactics reminiscent of medieval siege warfare, encircling cities, cutting off escape routes and bombarding the civilian population with heavy munitions,” said Jonathan Gimblett, a member of Ukraine’s legal team.

Russia snubbed the legal proceedings, leaving its seats in the Great Hall of Justice empty.

Efforts to establish safe passage for civilians over the weekend crumbled amid continued Russian shelling. Before talks began on Monday, Russia announced a new plan, saying civilians would be allowed to leave Kyiv, Mariupol, Kharkiv and Sumy.

But many escape routes lead to Russia or its ally Belarus, which served as the launching pad for the invasion. Ukraine has instead offered eight routes for civilians to reach western parts of the country where there is no bombing.

Later, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the UN Security Council that Russia would enforce a ceasefire on Tuesday morning and appeared to suggest that the humanitarian corridors from Kyiv, Mariupol, Sumy and Chernigov could give people a choice of where they want. to go.

UN humanitarian chief Under-Secretary-General Martin Griffiths addressed the Security Council and urged people to cross safely “in any direction they choose”.

Zelenskyy’s office would not comment on the Russian proposal, saying only that Moscow’s plans could only be believed if a safe evacuation began. The office said Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk planned to issue a statement on the issue on Tuesday morning.

The Battle of Mariupol is crucial because taking it could allow Moscow to establish a land corridor to Crimea, which Russia seized from Ukraine in 2014.

The fighting has driven energy prices around the world soaring and stocks crashing, and is threatening the food supply and livelihoods of people around the world who depend on crops grown in the fertile sea region. Black.

The UN human rights office reported 406 confirmed civilian deaths, but said the true number was much higher. The invasion also caused 1.7 million people to flee Ukraine.

On Monday, Moscow again announced a series of demands to stop the invasion, including that Ukraine recognize Crimea as part of Russia and recognize eastern regions controlled by Moscow-backed separatist fighters as independent. He also insisted that Ukraine change its constitution to ensure that it will not join international bodies such as NATO and the EU. Ukraine has already rejected these claims.

Zelenskyy called for more punitive measures against Russia, including a global boycott of its oil exports, which are essential to its economy.

“If (Russia) does not want to follow civilized rules, then it should not receive goods and services from civilization,” he said in a video address.

He also requested more warplanes. US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said officials were “trying to see if this is possible and doable.”

As the West rushes into Ukraine with weapons such as anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, some officials fear sending warplanes will be seen by Moscow as direct involvement in the war.

One possible scenario being discussed: former Soviet bloc countries that are now members of NATO could send Ukraine their own Soviet-era MiGs, which Ukrainian pilots are trained to fly, and the United States The United States would then replace those countries’ planes with American-made F-16s. .

Russia’s invasion terrified neighboring countries that the war might spread to them.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has embarked on a whirlwind visit to the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, former Soviet republics that are members of NATO. Blinken hoped to reassure them about the protection of the alliance.

NATO showed no interest in sending troops into the country and rejected Zelenskyy’s demands to establish a no-fly zone for fear of starting a wider war.

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Associated Press reporters from around the world contributed to this report.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the Ukraine crisis at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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