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Russian forces shell residential buildings in Ukraine as convoy of refugees leaves Mariupol

Russia and Ukraine kept a fragile diplomatic path open with a new round of talks Monday even as Moscow's forces pounded away at Kyiv and other cities across the country in a punishing bombardment the Red Cross said has created "nothing short of a nightmare" for civilians.

Bombardments 'nothing short of a nightmare' for civilians, says Red Cross

Russia continues assault on Kyiv, diplomatic talks resume

5 months ago
Duration 3:05
Russian forces are closing in on Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, with deadly attacks in several suburbs. This comes as a new round of talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials show little sign of progress.

The latest:

  • Russian artillery hits residential buildings across Ukraine.
  • At least 596 civilians have died since start of invasion, says UN.
  • 4th round of Ukraine-Russia talks ends with no breakthrough.

Russia and Ukraine kept a fragile diplomatic path open with a new round of talks Monday even as Moscow's forces pounded away at Kyiv and other cities across the country in a punishing bombardment the Red Cross said has created "nothing short of a nightmare" for civilians.

Meanwhile, a convoy of 160 civilian cars left the encircled port city of Mariupol along a designated humanitarian route, the city council reported, in a rare glimmer of hope a week and a half into the lethal siege that has pulverized homes and other buildings and left people desperate for food, water, heat and medicine.

In the southern Ukrainian city, where the war has produced some of the greatest suffering, the city council didn't say how many people were in the convoy of cars headed west for the city of Zaporizhzhia. But it said a ceasefire along the route appeared to be holding.

Previous attempts to evacuate civilians and deliver humanitarian aid to the city of 430,000 were thwarted by continuing fighting.

A satellite image shows burning buildings in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Monday. (Maxar Technologies/Reuters)

Ukraine's military said it repelled an attempt Monday to take control of Mariupol by Russian forces, who were forced to retreat. Satellite images from Maxar Technologies showed fires burning across the city, with many high-rise apartment buildings heavily damaged or destroyed.

The Kremlin-backed leader of the Russian region of Chechnya said on a messaging app that Chechen fighters were spearheading the offensive on Mariupol.

Residential areas hit

Overnight, air raid alerts sounded in cities and towns around the country, from near the Russian border in the east to the Carpathian Mountains in the west, and fighting continued on the outskirts of Kyiv. Ukrainian officials said Russian forces shelled several suburbs of the capital.

Ukrainian authorities said two people were killed when the Russians struck an airplane factory in Kyiv, sparking a large fire. The Antonov factory is Ukraine's largest aircraft plant and produces many of the world's biggest cargo planes.

Russian artillery fire also hit a nine-storey apartment building in the northern Obolonskyi district of the city, killing two more people, authorities said.

WARNING: This video of the damage caused by a strike on a residential building includes scenes depicting major injury and death: 

Artillery hits Kyiv residential building

5 months ago
Duration 1:24
A look at the scene on the ground in Kyiv after local authorities say Russian artillery hit an apartment building Monday morning. At least one person was killed and several people were injured, said Ukrainian state TV. Warning: This video includes scenes depicting major injury and death.

And a Russian airstrike near a Ukrainian checkpoint caused extensive damage to a downtown Kyiv neighbourhood, killing one person, Ukraine's emergency agency said.

In an area outside Kyiv, Fox News reporter Benjamin Hall was injured while reporting and was hospitalized, the network said.

A town councillor for Brovary, east of Kyiv, was killed in fighting there, officials said. Shells also fell on the Kyiv suburbs of Irpin, Bucha and Hostomel, which have seen some of the worst fighting in Russia's stalled attempt to take the capital, local authorities said.

PHOTOS | Russian forces continue attacks on Kyiv, other Ukrainian cities: 

Airstrikes were reported across the country, including the southern city of Mykolaiv, and the northern city of Chernihiv, where heat was knocked out to most of the town. Explosions also reverberated overnight around the Russian-occupied Black Sea port of Kherson.

Nine people were killed in a rocket attack on a TV tower in the western village of Antopol, according to the region's governor.

In the eastern city of Kharkiv, firefighters doused the smoldering remains of a four-storey residential building. It was unclear whether there were casualties.

The Russian military said 20 civilians in the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine were killed by a ballistic missile launched by Ukrainian forces. The claim could not be independently verified.

'Nightmare' humanitarian crisis

In the southern city of Mariupol, where the war has produced some of the greatest suffering, the city council didn't say how many people were in the convoy of cars headed westward for the city of Zaporizhzhia. But it said a cease-fire along the route appeared to be holding.

Previous attempts to evacuate civilians and deliver humanitarian aid to the city of 430,000 were thwarted by continuing fighting.

Robert Mardini, director-general of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said the war has become "nothing short of a nightmare" for those living in besieged cities, and he pleaded for safe corridors for civilians to leave and humanitarian aid to be brought in.

WATCH | Ukrainian mother describes 'very long nightmare': 

Ukrainian mother describes 'very long nightmare' of Russian bombardment

5 months ago
Duration 9:08
Yulia Yanchar is the mother of a six-year-old and had just built a home on the outskirts of Kyiv, a home they had to leave because of heavy shelling. She's currently in western Ukraine, near the Polish border.

"The situation cannot, cannot continue like this," he said. "History is watching what is happening in Mariupol and other cities."

The UN has recorded at least 596 civilian deaths since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, though it believes the true toll is much higher. Millions more have fled their homes, with more than 2.8 million crossing into Poland and other neighbouring countries in what the UN has called Europe's biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War.

A pregnant woman who became a symbol of Ukraine's suffering when she was photographed being carried from a bombed maternity hospital in Mariupol last week has died along with her baby, The Associated Press has learned.

4th round of negotiations

The latest negotiations, held via video conference, were the fourth round of talks involving higher-level officials from the two countries and the first in a week.

The talks ended without a breakthrough after several hours, with an aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky saying the negotiators took "a technical pause" and planned to meet again Tuesday.

The two sides had expressed some optimism in the past few days. Mykhailo Podolyak, the aide to Zelensky, tweeted that the negotiators would discuss "peace, ceasefire, immediate withdrawal of troops & security guarantees."

Previous discussions, held in person in Belarus, produced no lasting humanitarian routes or agreements to end the fighting.

In Washington, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a briefing Monday that while the Biden administration supports Ukraine's participation in the talks with Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin would have to show signs of de-escalating in order to demonstrate good faith.

"And what we're really looking for is evidence of that, and we're not seeing any evidence at this point that President Putin is doing anything to stop the onslaught or de-escalate," she said.

U.S.-China talks

During a meeting in Rome with a senior Chinese diplomat, U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan warned China against helping Russia.

Two administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information, said China had signaled to Moscow that it would be willing to provide both military support in Ukraine and financial backing to help stave off the effects of Western sanctions.

The Kremlin has denied asking China for military equipment to use in Ukraine.

WATCH | U.S., Chinese officials in Rome: 

U.S., Chinese officials in Rome to discuss Russian invasion

5 months ago
Duration 3:34
American and Chinese officials are meeting in Rome to discuss Ukraine amid reports from the U.S. that Russia is asking China for military and economic help.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that "Russia has its own potential to continue the operation" and that it was "unfolding in accordance with the plan and will be completed on time and in full."

The war expanded Sunday when Russian missiles pounded a military training base in western Ukraine, close to the Polish border, that previously served as a crucial hub for co-operation between Ukraine and NATO.

The attack killed 35 people, Ukrainian officials said, and raised fears that NATO could be drawn into direct conflict with Russia.

The senior U.S. defence official said the base was not being used at the time as a shipment site for U.S. military supplies to Ukraine.

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