Ukraine says new Russian strikes on residential areas leave more civilians dead
A 7-year-old child was among the dead in an attack east of Kharkiv Tuesday
- Ukraine says Russian attacks on residential areas kill more civilians, including a child.
- Ukraine's president calls for expansion of humanitarian corridors, more support from Red Cross, Western countries.
- 2 million people have now fled Ukraine, UN official says.
- What questions do you have about Russia's invasion of Ukraine? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ukrainian authorities say Russian warplanes have carried out new strikes on residential areas in eastern and central parts of the country.
Ukrainian officials said two people, including a seven-year-old child, were killed in the town of Chuhuiv just east of Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine late Tuesday. And in the city of Malyn, in the Zhytomyr region west of the capital Kyiv, at least five people — including two children — were killed in a Russian air strike.
The Russian artillery has pounded the outskirts of Kyiv, forcing civilians to hide in shelters while water, food and power supplies have been cut, said Yaroslav Moskalenko, an official who co-ordinates humanitarian efforts in the Kyiv region.
He said shelling made it impossible to evacuate the area of the bodies of five people who died when their vehicle was fired upon in Borodianka near Kyiv, and the bodies of 12 patients of a psychiatric hospital there. He said another 200 patients were stuck there without food and medicines.
Shelling by Russian forces also thwarted an attempt to evacuate civilians from the bombarded port of Mariupol, according to Ukraine, and a plan to deliver food, water and medicine was thrown into jeopardy as conditions inside the strategic city of 430,000 grew more desperate.
Corpses littered the streets of Mariupol, where besieged residents have increasingly turned to breaking into stores to try to feed themselves. People got water from streams or by melting snow.
"Why shouldn't I cry?" Goma Janna demanded as she wept by the light of an oil lamp below ground, surrounded by women and children. "I want my home, I want my job. I'm so sad about people and about the city, the children."
Europe's worst refugee crisis since the Second World War grew even more severe, with UN officials reporting that two million people have now fled Ukraine.
Moscow's forces have laid siege to Ukrainian cities and cut off food, water, heat and medicine in a growing humanitarian disaster. But for days, attempts to create corridors to safely evacuate civilians have stumbled amid continuing fighting and objections to the proposed routes.
One evacuation attempt Tuesday did appear at least partially successful: A convoy of buses packed with people fleeing the fighting moved along a snowy road from Sumy, a northeastern city of a quarter-million people, according to video from the Ukrainian communications agency.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk later said that 5,000 people, including 1,700 foreign students, were evacuated from the city.
Hours before the convoy reached Sumy, overnight strikes killed 21 people there, including two children, according to the Ukrainian general prosecutor's office. Since the invasion began, more than 400 civilian deaths have been recorded by the UN human rights office, which said the true number is much higher.
Shelling reported on escape route
Meanwhile, buses emblazoned with red cross symbols carried water, medicine and food toward the encircled southern port of Mariupol, scene of some of the worst desperation. Vereshchuk said the vehicles would then ferry civilians out of the city.
But soon after officials announced that buses were on their way, the Ukrainian president's office said it had been informed of shelling on the escape route.
It is unclear whether the supply convoy made it to Mariupol — and it appeared unlikely that civilians would be able to board the buses to get out.
The deputy mayor of Mariupol cast doubt on the evacuations, telling the BBC that Russian forces continued to pound areas where people were trying to gather ahead of being taken out. He said some roads were blocked, while others were mined.
"So we cannot establish sustainable ceasefire and safety route at the moment," Serhiy Orlov said. "So we still have ... a city in blockade."
The city is without water, heat, working sewage systems or phone service. Authorities planned to start digging mass graves for all the dead.
With the electricity out, many people are relying on their car radios for information, picking up news from stations broadcast from areas controlled by Russian forces or Russian-backed separatists
Theft has become widespread for food, clothes and even furniture, with locals referring to the practice as "getting a discount."
Ludmila Amelkina walked along an alley strewn with rubble, with walls pocked by gunfire, as she described the destruction inside the city and the conditions residents faced.
"We don't have electricity, we don't have anything to eat, we don't have medicine. We've got nothing," she said.
In a video address from an undisclosed location, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said a child died of dehydration in Mariupol, in a sign of how desperate the city's population has become.
Questions around safe corridors
The exact status of the humanitarian corridors was not clear. The Russian military said it proposed safe corridors from Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv and Mariupol — two for each city, one leading toward Russia and the other toward the West.
It said that the Ukrainian side accepted only one of those 10 corridors — from Sumy to Poltava. Ukrainian officials have rejected the idea of sending civilians to Russia, but there was no immediate word on whether they had turned down those other corridors.
Nearly two weeks into the fighting, Russian forces have captured a swath of southern and coastal Ukraine but have seen their advances stopped in many areas — including around Kyiv, the capital — by nimble Ukrainian fighters targeting Moscow's armoured columns.
The fighting has caused global economic turmoil, with energy prices surging worldwide and stocks plummeting. It also threatens the food supply of millions around the globe who rely on crops farmed in the fertile Black Sea region.
Western countries have rushed weapons to Ukraine and moved to slap Vladimir Putin's Russia with sanctions.
On Tuesday, the U.S. announced a ban on Russian oil and other energy imports, while Shell said it would stop buying oil and natural gas from Russia. Britain followed, saying oil and oil products from Russia will be phased out by the end of the year.
Zelensky later thanked the leaders of both countries in his daily video address to the nation at the end of the day.
"This is a powerful signal to the whole world," he said. "Either Russia will respect international law and not wage wars, or it will have no money."
President speaks to British Parliament
Earlier Tuesday, Zelensky had released a selfie video of himself standing near the presidential offices in Kyiv, with piles of sandbags, a snow-dusted fir tree and a few cars in the background.
It was the second video in 24 hours showing him near the country's seat of power, an apparent bid to dispel any doubts about whether he had fled the city.
"Snow fell. It's that kind of springtime. You see, it's that kind of wartime, that kind of springtime," he said in a soft voice. "Harsh. But we will win."
Later, he evoked British wartime leader Winston Churchill as he told the U.K. Parliament that his country would fight Russia's invasion to the end in Ukraine's cities, fields and riverbanks.
Zelensky told British lawmakers "we will not give up and we will not lose," in a speech that evoked Churchill's stirring "never surrender" speech during the darkest days of the Second World War.
- This story has been updated to correct that buses an official said were part of Mariupol evacuation efforts did not have people on them. As well, a photo that was previously in the story was labelled as being from Thursday; in fact, it was taken on Monday.Mar 08, 2022 6:27 AM ET