Ukraine war: Kyiv convoy has hardly moved in three days

Tragic images have laid bare the bloody cost of Putin’s war on Ukraine as a father weeps over the body of his son in the city of Mariupol, which has now been under continuous Russian bombardment for more than 24 hours with ‘hundreds’ of civilians thought to have been killed there. 

Serhii, father to teenager Iliya, was photographed cradling his son’s head as the boy’s body lay underneath a blood-soaked sheet in a maternity ward converted into a hospital in the Black Sea city. Another image reveals how Iliya had arrived moments earlier in the back of a car with both legs ripped apart by a Russian shell. 

The images emerged as Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister told the UN’s human rights council that Putin is ‘spilling the blood of Ukrainian children’ with his troops shelling civilian areas of cities in what ‘clearly amounts to war crimes and crimes against humanity.’  

Mariupol, which is all-but surrounded by Russian forces, has been bombarded since early yesterday in an attempt to force the city into submission – as Putin’s men resort to bloody siege tactics to try and win a war that he started more than a week ago.

Ukraine war: The latest 

  • Russian forces take the Black Sea port of Kherson in southern Ukraine, the first major city to fall 
  • Invasion so far has been badly managed, a ‘disaster, through and through’, US defence experts say
  • Ukraine’s second city Kharkiv continues to come under heavy Russian shelling 
  • Column of Russian vehicles north of Kyiv ‘stalled’ due to fuel and food shortages, and Ukrainian resistance
  • More than one million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion
  • Moscow admits 498 troops have died in Ukraine, widely thought to be an under-estimate but still a record total for post-Soviet Russia 
  • The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor says an active probe into possible war crimes in Ukraine ‘will immediately proceed’
  • A Bangladeshi sailor is killed in an attack on his vessel docked in the Black Sea port of Olvia
  • Russia floats the possibility of a ceasefire with talks with Ukraine scheduled for Thursday 
  • Russia tells citizens in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Mariupol  to leave, raising fears bombing will intensify
  • UN General Assembly demands Russia ‘immediately’ withdraws. Moscow wins support from only four nations – Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea and Syria
  • Swedish Armed Forces say four Russian fighter jets entered its airspace in the Baltic Sea
  • US launches ‘KleptoCapture’ with the aim of seizing yachts, private jets and homes of Russian oligarchs
  • Chelsea Russian owner Roman Abramovich confirms he is selling the Premier League club
  • Ukraine invites mothers of captured Russian troops to come and collect their sons
  • Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny urges Russians to protest daily against the invasion
  • US follows the EU in targeting Russian ally Belarus with sanctions for supporting invasion 

The city’s mayor says they are without electricity, heat or water, that Russian troops are trying to cut off food supplies and starve the residents, and have blown up the trains and blocked highways in order to stop people from escaping. He likened the situation to ‘genocide’.

Despite the vicious shelling, the city still remains in the hands of Ukrainian forces – as a defiant Volodymyr Zelensky vowed today that Ukraine will be rebuilt with Russian money as he praised his troops’ ‘heroic’ defence.

Kharkiv, in the east, and Chernihiv, in the north west, also remained under Ukrainian control despite coming under heavy rocket fire. Nine people died in Chernihiv after Russian rockets hit a school and nearby apartments. There were also fears the Russians were about to launch a major amphibious assault against the port city of Odessa after a large fleet of ships was spotted near Crimea in the early hours. 

The Ukrainian president said that ‘all lines of defence are holding’ with the cities of Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy and Mykolaiv all resisting Russian attacks. He even claimed the city of Kherson remains in Ukrainian hands, despite the mayor seeming to confirm overnight that it had been taken by Russian forces.  

‘They wanted to destroy us. They failed. We’ve been through so much. And if anyone thinks that, having overcome all this, Ukrainians will be frightened, broken or surrender, they know nothing about Ukraine,’ Zelensky said, adding: ‘We will restore every house, every street, every city and we say to Russia: learn the word ‘reparations’.

‘You will reimburse us for everything you did against our state, against every Ukrainian, in full.’ 

Separately, one of his presidential advisers said the Ukrainian army is now getting ready to launch counter-attacks on Russian forces after their initial assault on the country stalled – amid reported of fuel and food shortages, heavy casualties, and mismanagement of the operation.

‘Help to us is increasing every minute and the strength of the enemy is decreasing every minute. We’re not only defending but also counter-attacking,’ the adviser said in a televised briefing. 

Hours after he spoke, Vladimir Putin called the Elysee Palace in Paris to speak with Emmanuel Macron, aides said. Putin is said to have told Mr Macron in a 90-minute call that he had no plans to stop the invasion, will continue until he takes the whole of Ukraine, and may then add extra security demands on top of the ones he had already sent to the US and NATO. The attack will continue ‘without compromises’ until ‘the end’, Putin said.

Macron’s aide’s said there will be ‘worse to come’ from the war and that ‘there was nothing in what President Putin told us that should reassure us.’ Mr Macron is said to have told Putin he is making a ‘major mistake’ and ‘lying to himself’. Macron said Russia would end up poor, weakened and under sanctions for a very long time. 

After the call, President Zelensky’s office said a second round of negotiations is now underway between the two sides on the Belarus border. A first round of talks on Monday ended without an agreement. 

Ahead of the invasion, Washington had warned that Russia’s superior forces would be able to quickly overwhelm Ukraine’s 200,000-strong army – taking out air defences, achieving superiority in the skies, and then raining death down on those below.

Ukraine war: City by city 

Kyiv: Four large rocket strikes hit the Ukrainian capital overnight, including one which struck a train station being used to evacuate civilians , while others struck TV and radio stations.

Ukraine claimed to have shot down a Russian fighter jet over Irpin, a satellite city of Kyiv which has come under heavy attack, in the early hours of Thursday 

Kharkiv: The second-largest city in Ukraine continue to come under bombardment with pictures showing destroyed residential buildings and rubble littering the city centre.

Izyum, a city 70 miles to the south of Kharkiv towards Donetsk, also came under heavy bombardment with explosions lighting up the night sky

Chernihiv: Located to the north-west of Kyiv, the city has been the site of fierce fighting with Russian troops since the early days of the invasion

Despite being surrounded and under heavy shelling, the city remains under Ukrainian control

Mariupol: Heavy Russian shelling which began targeting the city on Wednesday continued into Thursday, with the mayor saying the bombardment is so heavy that medics can’t get into the streets to rescue the dead and injured

Despite the attacks, the city remains in Ukrainian hands

Kherson: City feared captured by Russian forces after mayor says ‘armed visitors’ joined a local council meeting and had imposed a curfew

However, the British MoD said Thursday morning that the military situation is still ‘unclear’ – suggesting that Russia may not be in full control

Zaporizhzhia: Russian forces have surrounded the city and its nuclear power plant, which is the largest in Europe

Civilians set up road blocks around the plant to defend it, with the city’s mayor saying one came under fire by Russian troops on Wednesday leaving two people hurt

Odessa: The Black Sea port city, and Ukraine’s main naval base, is preparing for a Russian assault after a dozen warships were seen forming up near Crimea

Mayor said fighter jets appear to be testing air defences by flying sorties overhead, as residents prepare makeshift defences made of old railway sleepers and lay landmines on the beach

But none of that has come to pass. Ukraine’s skies remain contested, US intelligence says, while attacks have been piecemeal with troops under-supplied and not fighting in a coordinated fashion, leading to large numbers of dead along with some abandoning their vehicles which have then been captured.

‘This is a colossal intelligence failure that vastly underestimated Ukrainian resistance, and military execution has been terrible,’ Michael Vickers, former US Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

‘[Putin’s] main attack has been underweighted. It’s been piecemeal. His reconnaissance elements have been captured, columns have been destroyed,’ he said. ‘It’s just a disaster, through and through.’

But many caution that Russia’s initial failures could simply pre-sage a secondary phase of the fighting in which it uses superior numbers and force of arms to surround and bomb Ukrainian troops into submission, causing large civilian casualties. 

Yves Le Drian, the French foreign minister, agreed with that assessment today as he issued a warning that the ‘worst’ is still to come as Russia switches to a ‘logic of siege’ with major cities in danger of being surrounded. 

He spoke as Europe continued to step up its assistance to Ukraine, with Germany pledging another 2,700 anti-aircraft missiles to bolster the Ukrainian defences. That comes on top of 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger anti-aircraft weapons it has already sent, in a stunning reversal of its long-standing pledge not to supply weapons. 

Kyiv has so-far escaped what observers feared would be Russian attempts to surround and bomb it into submission, after skirmishes in the outskirts led to Moscow’s men being pushed back. Sight of the convoy earlier this week seemed to confirm that Putin would resort to ‘siege’ tactics to force a bloody victory.

But, as of Thursday morning, the convoy was near-motionless – having stalled late Monday. The exact reason is unclear, but American and British intelligence believe it is due to a combination of Ukrainian resistance and logistical problems within the convoy itself.

Reports from the ground indicate that Russian vehicles have been running out of fuel, while pictures also appear to show some vehicles have been poorly maintained and their tyres are falling apart.

A Pantsir missile system bogged down and abandoned in a muddy field lost several of its tyres when Ukrainian forces tried to tow it away, with Trent Teletenko – a former Department of Defence civil servant – wrote on Twitter that it appears Russia has failed to maintain the tyres on its vehicles properly, leaving them brittle.

According to his analysis, it means lowering the pressure in the tyres – which is typically done so they can drive off-road – will cause them to shred, meaning the trucks and artillery systems will be confined to highways or else risk getting bogged down in mud.

Other images showed armoured vehicles bogged down and abandoned after Russian forces tried laying sawed-down trees under their wheels to keep them out of the muck.

Whatever the case, the longer the Russian convoy remains stuck the more vulnerable it becomes to Ukrainian counter attack and the longer the people of Kyiv get to go about their lives without the risk of being shelled.

MARIUPOL: Serhii, a father from the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, weeps over the body of teenage son Iliya at a maternity unit converted into a hospital to treat civilian victims of Russian shelling

MARIUPOL: Ilya is brought into hospital in the back of a car, with both of his legs destroyed by a Russian shell explosion. The mayor of Mariupol believes 'hundreds' of civilians have been killed in similar strikes

MARIUPOL: Ilya is brought into hospital in the back of a car, with both of his legs destroyed by a Russian shell explosion. The mayor of Mariupol believes ‘hundreds’ of civilians have been killed in similar strikes

MARIUPOL: A civilian wounded in Russian strikes on the city of Mariupol is treated at a maternity unit of the local hospital that has been converted into a centre to treat the victims

MARIUPOL: A civilian wounded in Russian strikes on the city of Mariupol is treated at a maternity unit of the local hospital that has been converted into a centre to treat the victims

MARIUPOL: A Ukrainian woman living in the Black Sea city of Mariupol is evacuated from her home during a brief break in Russian shelling, which has now been continuous for more than 24 hours

MARIUPOL: A Ukrainian woman living in the Black Sea city of Mariupol is evacuated from her home during a brief break in Russian shelling, which has now been continuous for more than 24 hours

MARIUPOL: An elderly woman laying in a pool of blood inside her apartment in Mariupol is rescued by paramedics after being injured during shelling of the city

MARIUPOL: An elderly woman laying in a pool of blood inside her apartment in Mariupol is rescued by paramedics after being injured during shelling of the city

MARIUPOL: Ambulance paramedics move a wounded in shelling civilian onto a stretcher to a maternity hospital converted into a medical ward in Mariupol

MARIUPOL: Ambulance paramedics move a wounded in shelling civilian onto a stretcher to a maternity hospital converted into a medical ward in Mariupol

MARIUPOL: The Black Sea city continues to be under heavy bombardment today, with the mayor saying there is no water, heat or electricity and that Russian fire is so intense they cannot collect bodies from the streets

MARIUPOL: The Black Sea city continues to be under heavy bombardment today, with the mayor saying there is no water, heat or electricity and that Russian fire is so intense they cannot collect bodies from the streets

Smoke rises over Chaika, a residential area on the outskirts of Kyiv, as the city again came under bombardment by Russia

Smoke rises over Chaika, a residential area on the outskirts of Kyiv, as the city again came under bombardment by Russia

KYIV: An apartment building in Borodyanka is seen on Thursday morning almost totally destroyed after a Russian missile struck it the day before, causing a large part of it to collapse

KYIV: An apartment building in Borodyanka is seen on Thursday morning almost totally destroyed after a Russian missile struck it the day before, causing a large part of it to collapse

KYIV: Another view of the apartment block in Borodyanka shows it suffered heavy damage in a Russian strike on Tuesday, as Putin's men continue to try and take the country

KYIV: Another view of the apartment block in Borodyanka shows it suffered heavy damage in a Russian strike on Tuesday, as Putin’s men continue to try and take the country

Kherson, a city of 300,000 on the Black Sea, appears to have fallen under Russian control after the mayor said 'armed visitors' had taken over a council meeting and imposed curfews. If Putin's men are in full control then it opens up the city of Odessa, home to Ukraine's main naval port, to attack - with amphibious assault ships seen forming up near Crimea today

Kherson, a city of 300,000 on the Black Sea, appears to have fallen under Russian control after the mayor said ‘armed visitors’ had taken over a council meeting and imposed curfews. If Putin’s men are in full control then it opens up the city of Odessa, home to Ukraine’s main naval port, to attack – with amphibious assault ships seen forming up near Crimea today 

CHERNIHIV: A diesel fuel storage facility burns in Chernihiv after being struck with a Russian shell

CHERNIHIV: A diesel fuel storage facility burns in Chernihiv after being struck with a Russian shell

CHERNIHIV: Ukrainian firefighters attempt to put out a burning diesel fuel depot in the northern city after attacks by Russia

CHERNIHIV: Ukrainian firefighters attempt to put out a burning diesel fuel depot in the northern city after attacks by Russia

A force of around a dozen Russian vessels including landing ships is massing off the coast of Crimea today, with experts saying an assault on Odessa could come later in the day

A force of around a dozen Russian vessels including landing ships is massing off the coast of Crimea today, with experts saying an assault on Odessa could come later in the day

KYIV: Destroyed Russian vehicles are seen on a street in the settlement of Borodyanka, around 30 miles from the capital

KYIV: Destroyed Russian vehicles are seen on a street in the settlement of Borodyanka, around 30 miles from the capital

KYIV: Destroyed Russian vehicles are seen on a street in the town of Borodyank, around 30 miles from Kyiv, after meeting 'staunch' Ukrainian resistance

KYIV: Destroyed Russian vehicles are seen on a street in the town of Borodyank, around 30 miles from Kyiv, after meeting ‘staunch’ Ukrainian resistance

KYIV: Damaged buildings and destroyed Russian vehicles are seen in the streets of Borodyanka, close to the capital of Kyiv, after a failed assault by Putin's men

KYIV: Damaged buildings and destroyed Russian vehicles are seen in the streets of Borodyanka, close to the capital of Kyiv, after a failed assault by Putin’s men

In just seven days of fighting, more than 2% of Ukraine’s population has been forced out of the country, according to the tally the U.N. refugee agency released to The Associated Press. 

The mass evacuation could be seen in Kharkiv, a city of about 1.4 million people and Ukraine’s second-largest. Residents desperate to escape falling shells and bombs crowded the city’s train station and pressed onto trains, not always knowing where they were headed.

At least 227 civilians have been killed and another 525 wounded in that time, according to the latest figures from the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. It acknowledges that is a vast undercount, and Ukraine earlier said more than 2,000 civilians have died. That figure could not be independently verified.

As the toll of war mounted, a second round of talks between Ukrainian and Russian delegations was expected later Thursday in neighboring Belarus – though the two sides appeared to have little common ground.

“We are ready to conduct talks, but we will continue the operation because we won’t allow Ukraine to preserve a military infrastructure that threatens Russia,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, repeating an accusation Moscow has repeatedly used to justify its invasion.

Lavrov said that the West has continuously armed Ukraine, trained its troops and built up bases there to turn Ukraine into a bulwark against Russia.

The U.S. and its allies have insisted that NATO is a defensive alliance that doesn’t pose a threat to Russia. And the West fears Russia’s invasion is meant to overthrow Ukraine’s government and install a friendly government – though Lavrov said Moscow would let the Ukrainians choose what government they should have.

Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier raised the specter of nuclear war, putting his country’s nuclear forces on high alert, but his foreign minister shrugged off questions of whether Russia could escalate the conflict with nuclear weapons, saying such talk comes from the West.

In Kherson, the Russians took over the regional administration headquarters, Hennady Lahuta, the governor of the region, said Thursday – while adding that he and other officials were continuing to perform their duties and provide assistance to the population.

Kherson’s mayor, Igor Kolykhaev, previously said that the national flag was still flying, but that there were no Ukrainian troops in the city. Britain’s defense secretary said it was possible the Russians had taken over, though not yet verified.

The mayor said the city would maintain a strict curfew and require pedestrians to walk in groups no larger than two, obey commands to stop and not to “provoke the troops.”

“The flag flying over us is Ukrainian,” he wrote on Facebook. “And for it to stay that way, these demands must be observed.”

Earlier Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Russian land forces have stalled and Moscow is now unleashing air attacks, but that they are being parried by Ukrainian defense systems, including in Kherson.

“Kyiv withstood the night and another missile and bomb attack. Our air defenses worked,” he said. “Kherson, Izyum – all the other cities that the occupiers hit from the air did not give up anything.”

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said explosions heard overnight in the Ukrainian capital were Russian missiles being shot down by air defense systems.

From Kherson, Russian troops appeared to roll toward Mykolaiv, another major Black Sea port and shipbuilding center to the west along the coast. The regional governor, Vitaliy Kim, said that big convoys of Russian troops are advancing on the city but said that they will likely need to regroup before trying to take it over.

A group of Russian amphibious landing vessels is also heading toward the port of Odesa, farther west, the Ukrainian military said. 

A building is engulfed in flames after shelling in Kyiv, with the Ukrainian capital under heavy attack on Thursday afternoon

A building is engulfed in flames after shelling in Kyiv, with the Ukrainian capital under heavy attack on Thursday afternoon

Heavy smoke blankets an area of Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, after it was hit by Russian shelling

Heavy smoke blankets an area of Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, after it was hit by Russian shelling

A Ukrainian serviceman walks past as fire and smoke rises over a damaged logistic center after shelling in Kyiv

A Ukrainian serviceman walks past as fire and smoke rises over a damaged logistic center after shelling in Kyiv

A badly damaged car and destroyed buildings are seen in central Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine, after being hit by artillery

A badly damaged car and destroyed buildings are seen in central Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine, after being hit by artillery

The interior courtyard of a building in Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, are pictured after being hit by a missile

The interior courtyard of a building in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, are pictured after being hit by a missile

Heavily damaged buildings in downtown Kharkiv are pictured after a strike by Russian rockets on Thursday

Heavily damaged buildings in downtown Kharkiv are pictured after a strike by Russian rockets on Thursday 

KHARKIV: A view of damaged civil settlements after Russian attacks in Kharkiv, Ukraine

KHARKIV: A view of damaged civil settlements after Russian attacks in Kharkiv, Ukraine

KHARKIV: Flattened buildings and a destroyed apartment block are seen in Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, after it came under attack by Russian forces

KHARKIV: Flattened buildings and a destroyed apartment block are seen in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, after it came under attack by Russian forces

KHARKIV: A view of damaged civil settlements after Russian attacks in Kharkiv, Ukraine

KHARKIV: A view of damaged civil settlements after Russian attacks in Kharkiv, Ukraine

The 40-mile Russian convoy continues to be stuck north of Kyiv, with vehicles bunched on to the road in an apparent attempt to stop them getting bogged down in mud

The 40-mile Russian convoy continues to be stuck north of Kyiv, with vehicles bunched on to the road in an apparent attempt to stop them getting bogged down in mud

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Images have been steadily emerging of Russian vehicles getting stuck, including one where the tyres shredded (left) after apparently being poorly maintained

A satellite image shows southern end of convoy armour towed artillery trucks, east of Antonov airport, Ukraine

A satellite image shows southern end of convoy armour towed artillery trucks, east of Antonov airport, Ukraine

damaged heating water pipeline blows steam over a train station in Kyiv, after being struck by a Russian missile

damaged heating water pipeline blows steam over a train station in Kyiv, after being struck by a Russian missile

A damaged train station is pictured in Kyiv after it was struck by a Russian missile overnight Wednesday

A damaged train station is pictured in Kyiv after it was struck by a Russian missile overnight Wednesday

A damaged shop outside the main train station in Kyiv, after an overnight strike by a Russian missile

A damaged shop outside the main train station in Kyiv, after an overnight strike by a Russian missile

Ukrainian soldiers patrol in front of the Independence Monument during Russian attacks in Kyiv

Ukrainian soldiers patrol in front of the Independence Monument during Russian attacks in Kyiv

A Ukrainian soldier tasked with defending Kyiv is pictured patrolling the streets shortly after airstrikes on the city

A Ukrainian soldier tasked with defending Kyiv is pictured patrolling the streets shortly after airstrikes on the city

Ukrainian soldiers patrol in front of the Independence Monument during Russian attacks in Kyiv

Ukrainian soldiers patrol in front of the Independence Monument during Russian attacks in Kyiv

A woman cooks for Ukrainian soldiers at a frontline, northeast of Kyiv

A woman cooks for Ukrainian soldiers at a frontline, northeast of Kyiv

Ukrainian soldiers share a light moment at a frontline, northeast of Kyiv

Ukrainian soldiers share a light moment at a frontline, northeast of Kyiv

An Ukrainian soldier walks next to a camp fire at a frontline, northeast of Kyiv

An Ukrainian soldier walks next to a camp fire at a frontline, northeast of Kyiv

Moscow’s isolation deepened when most of the world lined up against it at the United Nations to demand it withdraw from Ukraine. The prosecutor for the International Criminal Court opened an investigation into possible war crimes. And in a stunning reversal, the International Paralympic Committee banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from the Winter Paralympic Games.

Russia reported its military casualties Wednesday for the first time in the war, saying nearly 500 of its troops have been killed and almost 1,600 wounded. Ukraine did not disclose its own military losses.

Ukraine’s military general staff said in a Facebook post that Russia’s forces had suffered some 9,000 casualties in the fighting. It did not clarify if that figure included both killed and wounded soldiers.

In a video address to the nation early Thursday, Zelenskyy praised his country’s resistance.

“We are a people who in a week have destroyed the plans of the enemy,” he said. “They will have no peace here. They will have no food. They will have here not one quiet moment.”

He said the fighting is taking a toll on the morale of Russian soldiers, who “go into grocery stores and try to find something to eat.”

“These are not warriors of a superpower,” he said. “These are confused children who have been used.”

Meanwhile, the senior U.S. defense official said an immense Russian column of hundreds of tanks and other vehicles appeared to be stalled roughly 25 kilometers (16 miles) from Kyiv and had made no real progress in the last couple of days.

The convoy, which earlier in the week had seemed poised to launch an assault on the capital, has been plagued with fuel and food shortages, the official said.

On the far edges of Kyiv, volunteers well into their 60s manned a checkpoint to try to block the Russian advance.

“In my old age, I had to take up arms,” said Andrey Goncharuk, 68. He said the fighters needed more weapons, but “we’ll kill the enemy and take their weapons.”

Around Ukraine, others crowded into train stations, carrying children wrapped in blankets and dragging wheeled suitcases into new lives as refugees.

Among the million-plus refugees who have fled Ukraine in recent days were some 200 orphans with severe physical and mental disabilities who arrived from Kyiv by train in Hungary on Wednesday.

Some of them spent more than an hour in underground shelters during a bombing, said Larissa Leonidovna, the director of the Svyatoshinksy orphanage for boys.

Overnight, Associated Press reporters in Kyiv heard at least one explosion before videos started circulating of apparent strikes on the capital.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said it had knocked out a reserve broadcasting center in the Lysa Hora district, about 7 kilometers (4 miles) south of the government headquarters. It said unspecified precision weapons were used, and that there were no casualties or damage to residential buildings.

A statement from the general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces didn’t address the strikes, saying only that Russian forces were ‘regrouping’ and ‘trying to reach the northern outskirts’ of the city.

‘The advance on Kyiv has been rather not very organized and now they’re more or less stuck,’ military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer told the AP in Moscow. 

Ukrainian soldiers unload weapons from the trunk of an old car, northeast of Kyiv

Ukrainian soldiers unload weapons from the trunk of an old car, northeast of Kyiv

A Ukrainian soldier holds an anti-tank launcher at a frontline, northeast of Kyiv

A Ukrainian soldier holds an anti-tank launcher at a frontline, northeast of Kyiv

A Ukrainian soldier flashes the victory sign at a frontline, northeast of Kyiv

A Ukrainian soldier flashes the victory sign at a frontline, northeast of Kyiv

Ukraine war: Kyiv convoy has hardly moved in three days

Ukraine war: Kyiv convoy has hardly moved in three days

Ukraine war: Kyiv convoy has hardly moved in three days

Civilians build iron barricades and traps to block armored vehicles in Lviv, as Russia attacks other cities in the country

Civilians build iron barricades and traps to block armored vehicles in Lviv, as Russia attacks other cities in the country

Metal workers in Lviv, western Ukraine, help to make barricades that can be used to defend the city in case Russia attacks

Metal workers in Lviv, western Ukraine, help to make barricades that can be used to defend the city in case Russia attacks

Civilians build iron barricades and traps to block armored vehicles in the city of Lviv, western Ukraine

Civilians build iron barricades and traps to block armored vehicles in the city of Lviv, western Ukraine

Clusters of metal spike traps designed to puncture the wheels of Russian armoured vehicles are manufactured by metal workers in Lviv, western Ukraine

Clusters of metal spike traps designed to puncture the wheels of Russian armoured vehicles are manufactured by metal workers in Lviv, western Ukraine

At least 227 civilians have been killed and another 525 wounded since the invasion began, according to the latest figures from the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. Earlier, Ukraine said more than 2,000 civilians have died, a figure that could not be independently verified.

The U.N. office uses strict methodology and counts only confirmed casualties, and admits its figures are a vast undercount.

Still, the tally eclipses the entire civilian casualty count from the fighting in 2014 in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces – which left 136 dead and 577 injured.

In a videotaped address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on Ukrainians to keep up the resistance. He vowed that the invaders would have ‘not one quiet moment’ and described Russian soldiers as ‘confused children who have been used.’

Moscow’s isolation deepened when most of the world lined up against it at the United Nations to demand it withdraw from Ukraine. The prosecutor for the International Criminal Court opened an investigation into possible war crimes. And in a stunning reversal, the International Paralympic Committee banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from the Winter Paralympic Games.

Felgenhauer said with the Russian economy already suffering, there could be a ‘serious internal political crisis’ if Russian President Vladimir Putin does not find a way to end the war quickly.

‘There’s no real money to run to fight this war,’ he said, adding that if Putin and the military ‘are unable to wrap up this campaign very swiftly and victoriously, they’re in a pickle.’

Several parts of the country were under pressure.

Ukraine’s military said Russian forces ‘did not achieve the main goal of capturing Mariupol’ in its statement, which did not mention the another important port, Kherson, whose status was unclear.

Putin’s forces claimed to have taken complete control of Kherson, and U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said Thursday that it was ‘possible – it’s not verified yet – that Russia is in control’ there.

A senior U.S. defense official earlier disputed the Russians controlled the city.

‘Our view is that Kherson is very much a contested city,’ the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Zelenskyy’s office told the AP that it could not comment on the situation in Kherson while the fighting was still going on.

The mayor of Kherson, Igor Kolykhaev, said Russian soldiers were in the city and came to the city administration building. He said he asked them not to shoot civilians and to allow crews to gather up the bodies from the streets.

‘We don’t have any Ukrainian forces in the city, only civilians and people here who want to LIVE,’ he said in a statement later posted on Facebook.

The mayor said Kherson would maintain a strict 8 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew and restrict traffic into the city to food and medicine deliveries. The city will also require pedestrians to walk in groups no larger than two, obey commands to stop and not to ‘provoke the troops.’

People board an evacuation train from Kyiv to Lviv at Kyiv central train station amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine

People board an evacuation train from Kyiv to Lviv at Kyiv central train station amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

People board an evacuation train from Kyiv to Lviv at Kyiv central train station amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine

People board an evacuation train from Kyiv to Lviv at Kyiv central train station amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Children look out from an evacuation train from Kyiv to Lviv as they say goodbye to their father at Kyiv central train

Children look out from an evacuation train from Kyiv to Lviv as they say goodbye to their father at Kyiv central train

Pictured: Footage from Kiyv overnight showed a huge explosion light up the night sky. Reports said at least two huge blasts were heard in the city air raid sirens warned residents to urgently seek shelter

Pictured: Footage from Kiyv overnight showed a huge explosion light up the night sky. Reports said at least two huge blasts were heard in the city air raid sirens warned residents to urgently seek shelter

Burned buildings which were hit by shelling is seen in small city of Borodyanka near Kyiv

Burned buildings which were hit by shelling is seen in small city of Borodyanka near Kyiv

A view shows damaged buildings following recent shelling, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in the settlement of Borodyanka in the Kyiv region, Ukraine March 2, 2022

A view shows damaged buildings following recent shelling, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, in the settlement of Borodyanka in the Kyiv region, Ukraine March 2, 2022

‘The flag flying over us is Ukrainian,’ he wrote. ‘And for it to stay that way, these demands must be observed.’

Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko said the attacks there had been relentless.

‘We cannot even take the wounded from the streets, from houses and apartments today, since the shelling does not stop,’ he was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

Russia reported its military casualties for the first time in the war, saying nearly 500 of its troops have been killed and almost 1,600 wounded. Ukraine did not disclose its own military losses.

Ukraine’s military general staff said in a Facebook post that Russia’s forces had suffered some 9,000 casualties in the fighting. It did not clarify if that figure included both killed and wounded soldiers.

In a video address to the nation early Thursday, Zelenskyy praised his country’s resistance.

‘We are a people who in a week have destroyed the plans of the enemy,’ he said. ‘They will have no peace here. They will have no food. They will have here not one quiet moment.’

He said the fighting is taking a toll on the morale of Russian soldiers, who ‘go into grocery stores and try to find something to eat.’

‘These are not warriors of a superpower,’ he said. ‘These are confused children who have been used.’

Meanwhile, the senior U.S. defense official said an immense Russian column of hundreds of tanks and other vehicles appeared to be stalled roughly 25 kilometers (16 miles) from Kyiv and had made no real progress in the last couple of days.

The convoy, which earlier in the week had seemed poised to launch an assault on the capital, has been plagued with fuel and food shortages, the official said.

On the far edges of Kyiv, volunteers well into their 60s manned a checkpoint to try to block the Russian advance.

‘In my old age, I had to take up arms,’ said Andrey Goncharuk, 68. He said the fighters needed more weapons, but ‘we’ll kill the enemy and take their weapons.’

Around Ukraine, others crowded into train stations, carrying children wrapped in blankets and dragging wheeled suitcases into new lives as refugees.

In an email, U.N. refugee agency spokesperson Joung-ah Ghedini-Williams told the AP that the refugee count surpassed 1 million as of midnight in central Europe, based on figures collected by national authorities.

Shabia Mantoo, another spokesperson for the agency, said that ‘at this rate’ the exodus from Ukraine could make it the source of ‘the biggest refugee crisis this century.’

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