Missile rain hits Ukrainian cities as Russia ramps up its bombardment campaign

Vladimir Putin’s forces bombed Ukraine’s frontline cities and critical infrastructure on Wednesday, causing waste to densely populated urban areas in one of the most devastating days of the invasion. a week-long comb.

With the aim of hitting two of Ukraine’s biggest cities, Russia has ramped up its air strikes heavily on Kharkiv while continuing faltering efforts to encircle the capital Kyiv from the north and northwest.

The striking images of destroyed buildings show how Russian forces have increased their use of artillery and unguided rockets on key urban targets, particularly in Mariupol and Kherson to the south. and the town of Borodyanka on the outskirts of Kyiv.

Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said: “Many of our cities and villages are currently suffering from Russian terrorism.

Nationwide, troop movements, reinforcements and a shift to more heavy weapons in urban areas have lined up for what analysts expect to be a pivotal phase in the conflict. conflict, with Russia set to accelerate ground attacks in the coming days.

As Russian forces moved deeper into the country, the army began patrolling several towns, including the areas of Kherson and Melitopol in the south, often to a hostile welcome from the population. local.

Videos taken by Melitopol residents on Wednesday showed large crowds confronting Russian troops directly, holding Ukrainian flags, marching, and chanting “Go home,” “Putin is an asshole,” and “Melitopol is a man.” Ukraine” and other slogans.

Russia said a new round of negotiations with Ukraine would begin Wednesday evening in Belarus, where the first meeting took place earlier this week. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “Our people will be at this location and ready to sit down to negotiate. “We have to see if the Ukrainian side comes or not. Let’s hope it happens.”

Late on Tuesday, US President Joe Biden vowed to make Putin a “dictator”. face the reckoning for his aggressionsaid that the Russian President had “wretchedly miscalculated” the strength of Ukrainian resistance and the resolve of the West.

“As the history of this era is written, Putin’s war in Ukraine will make Russia weak and the rest of the world strong,” Biden said in the Coalition’s first speech to a session. General Assembly.

Mr. Biden announced that Russian flights would be grounded in US airspace, the latest in a wave of measures aimed at plaguing Russia’s economy. He also hinted that further sanctions could come as the invasion progressed, saying Putin “didn’t know what was coming”.

The Russian economy is reeling from a squeeze on the financial sector, sanctions on oligarchs, restrictions on flying across Europe and North America and the exodus of Western companies from the country. economy of this country.

Boeing announced it was suspending key operations in Russia, including parts and maintenance for the country’s airlines, joining a rapidly growing list of suspensions that includes Apple, ExxonMobil, BMW, Ford, and others. Siemens and Nike.

Concerns about the conflict and its economic downturn pushed the price of oil above $100with Brent crude, the international benchmark, traded at a seven-year high of $113.

The human cost of the war is mounting, with civilian casualties rising and 874,000 people leaving Ukraine at a rate the United Nations says will soon exceed $1 million and become a refugee crisis. Europe’s largest in this century.

Residents of Kyiv heard loud explosions during the night, and fire sirens sounded in cities around the country.

Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said that in Kharkiv, the regional police headquarters was one of the targets. It shared images of firefighters trying to put out flames in a building that blew up as burning rubble fell to the ground.

The update comes a day after Russia attacked Kyiv’s TV tower in a missile attack and sent residents of Kharkiv into shelter amid intense shelling.

The BBC reports that Russian paratroopers landed in Kharkiv on Wednesday morning, part of an assault to capture the northeastern city that has suffered some of the heaviest fighting of the war.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday morning that it had captured the southern city of Kherson, which would be an important sign that Moscow is making progress in urban areas. However, the mayor of the city denied this claim, saying that Russian troops and armored vehicles had occupied the railway station and river port.

Inna Zelena, a Kherson resident who works in the local government and has moved elsewhere because of the fighting, told the Financial Times that Russian troops surrounded the city on Monday night.

A convoy of armored vehicles entered the city on Tuesday and stationed some of their vehicles in the town, shelling targets including the city’s regional security headquarters, a school and buildings. residential, according to residents.

“They are having problems with gasoline and food,” she said of the military. “They are begging for food from local residents and breaking into shops.”

The Ukrainian military said it was also thwarting Russian attempts to encircle the cities of Sumy, Lebedyn and Okhtyrka, and that the Russian army was trying to blockade the strategic port city of Mariupol with “no success”. The statement of the Ukrainian military cannot be independently verified.

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