Russia’s ‘noose’ tightens Mariupol; Biden tells China not to attack fuel According to Reuters


© Reuters. Firefighters work at the site of a fire at the Barabashova market, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv, Ukraine March 17, 2022. REUTERS / Oleksandr Lapshyn


KYIV/LVIV, Ukraine (Reuters) – Russia said its forces were “tightening the noose” around the besieged Ukrainian port of Mariupol on Friday and fears grew about mass civilian casualties as the United States Ky again warned China against Moscow during their invasion.

Russia’s advance in Ukraine has largely stalled and its troops, frustrated by fierce Ukrainian resistance, have left residential areas in ruins. On Friday, the rocket landed near Lviv, a western city where thousands of people have fled to refuge.

In Mariupol, the scene was heavily shelled, with officials estimating 80% of the city’s homes were damaged and 1,000 people may still be trapped in makeshift bomb shelters beneath a demolished theater. cancel.

Nearly 5,000 Ukrainians were evacuated from Mariupol on Friday, officials said, and residents said they had seen corpses along the roadside as they fled the city.

Nick Osychenko, CEO of a Mariupol TV station, who fled the city with six family members, said: ‘We were very careful and didn’t want the children to see the body, so we did. tried to cover their eyes.”

“We were very nervous the whole journey. It was scary, it was scary.”

Ukraine says it has rescued 130 people from the basement of a Mariupol theater that was flattened by Russian air strikes two days ago. Russia denies attacking the theater and says it was not aimed at civilians.

China is a major power that has yet to condemn the Russian attack, and Washington fears Beijing may be considering financial and military support for Moscow, which both Russia and China deny.

In a video call that lasted about two hours, US President Joe Biden on Friday warned Chinese President Xi Jinping about “the effects and consequences if China provides material support to Russia” in Ukraine, the House of Representatives said. White said.

The White House later said that sanctioning Beijing, the world’s largest exporter, was an option, although it did not detail what material assistance was constituted.

“The Ukraine crisis is something we don’t want to see,” Chinese state media quoted Xi as saying, adding that the call was requested by the US side.

Chinese state media quoted Xi as saying NATO should hold talks with Russia to resolve the factors behind the conflict.


Mayor Mariupol confirmed to the BBC that fighting had hit the city centre, where around 400,000 people had been trapped for more than two weeks, avoiding shelling that had cut off electricity, heating and water supplies.

Regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said some 35,000 people had tried to leave the city in recent days, many on foot or in convoys of private cars, but near-constant shelling had prevented the hospital humanitarian aid can enter.

Oksana Zalavska, 42, fled Mariupol two days ago after being in an overcrowded bomb shelter where adults eat a small meal a day because of low rations.

“Now I know everything about the famine in 2022,” she said.

French President Emmanuel Macron told Putin he was extremely concerned about the situation in Mariupol while the Kremlin said it was doing everything it could to protect civilians.

Jakob Kern, crisis emergency coordinator at the UN World Food Program (WFP), said “Ukraine’s food supply chain is falling apart” with uncertainty and fear of attack. obstruct the movement of goods.

WFP buys nearly half of its wheat from Ukraine to supply people in areas of global crisis, and Kern said the war could cause a “collateral famine” in poor countries around the world. all over the world.


At the start of the fourth week in Putin’s attempt to subjugate what he called an artificial state of disregard for the nation, Ukraine’s elected government was still standing and Russian forces had not yet captured a major city. any.

With Russia looking to regain the initiative, three missiles landed at an airfield near Lviv, a western city where hundreds of thousands of people thought they had found refuge far from the battlefields. of Ukraine.

Mr Putin promised tens of thousands of people waving Russian flags at a football stadium in Moscow that the “special operation” would be successful.

“We know what we need to do, how and at what cost. And we will absolutely fulfill all our plans,” Putin said, adding, when needed, Russian soldiers. shield each other from bullets with their bodies like brothers.”

The Russian military suffered heavy losses when it attacked urban areas, forcing more than 3 million refugees to flee across Ukraine’s western border.

Ukraine said its military had prevented Russia from making any new advances on Friday and that the Russians had problems with food, fuel and communications. Britain said Russian forces had made minimal progress this week.

Russia has heavily shelled the cities of eastern Ukraine, notably Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv and Mariupol, and there have been deadly nightly missile attacks on Kyiv, where Ukrainian forces have halted operations. column of troops outside the city.

Debris from a rocket blew away a large crater in the ground in the middle of a residential area where a school is located also north of Kyiv, shattering hundreds of windows and leaving debris scattered around around the complex.

Emergency services said at least one person was killed. The mayor of Kyiv said 19 people were injured, including four children.

“This is a war crime by Putin,” said Lyudmila Nikolaenko, visiting her son, who lived in one of the apartments attacked. “They say they’re not hitting ordinary people, they say we’re shooting at ourselves.”

Kyiv and Moscow reported progress in talks this week aimed at a political formula that guarantees Ukraine’s security outside of the NATO alliance.

However, Ukraine said Russia’s need for an immediate ceasefire and troop withdrawal remained unchanged, and both sides accused each other on Friday of prolonging the talks.

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