Home » First Ukrainian city falls: Mayor of Kherson tells people to follow the orders of Russian soldiers

First Ukrainian city falls: Mayor of Kherson tells people to follow the orders of Russian soldiers

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First Ukrainian city falls: Mayor of Kherson tells people to follow the orders of Russian soldiers

Russia has captured its first major city in Ukraine after a week of fighting, with Kherson – a regional capital of 300,000 people on the Black Sea – now under the control of Putin’s forces. 

Igor Kolykhaiev, the city’s mayor, said in an update around 1.a.m that ‘armed visitors’ had stormed a council meeting and imposed new rules including a strict curfew and urged citizens to follow them. But it was far from clear whether Ukrainian forces had totally withdrawn, with the UK MoD saying Thursday the situation is ‘unclear’. 

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 

If Kherson is under full Russian control, then it opens up Odessa – Ukraine’s main port city and primary naval base – to an assault. Amphibious landing ships were seen forming up off the west coast of Crimea Thursday morning as US officials warned a major assault from the sea could come later in the day.

Meanwhile Kyiv and Kharkiv, Ukraine’s two largest cities, remained under a heavy bombing campaign overnight with missiles striking civilian areas – including a train station in the Ukrainian capital being used to evacuate people from the city and as a shelter for those who cannot or have chosen not to leave.

Chernihiv, in the north west, and Mariupol, in the south, also remain under Ukrainian control despite being all-but surrounded by Russian forces and coming under heavy bombardment. The mayor of Mariupol said Thursday that Russian artillery fire has been so intense that they cannot even remove wounded people from the streets.

Vadym Boichenko accused the Russians of doing ‘everything to block the exit of civilians’ including blowing up the city’s trains, leaving people stranded before the artillery opened fire. Evacuations continued elsewhere, however, with the UN estimating that 1million people have now fled Ukraine into neighbouring countries.  

Ukraine estimates that 2,000 civilians have been killed in fighting. The UN has confirmed 227 of those but said the true toll is likely far higher. War crimes prosecutors have opened a case into the deaths. 

Negotiators from both Ukraine and Russia are set to meet on the border with Belarus today for a second round of talks, after an initial summit on Monday failed to yield any result.

Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, issued a video address to the nation in the early hours of Thursday, giving an upbeat assessment of the war and calling on Ukrainians to keep up the resistance.

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

Zelensky did not comment on whether the Russians have seized several cities, including Kherson. ‘If they went somewhere, then only temporarily. We’ll drive them out,’ he said.

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.’ He added: ‘These are not warriors of a superpower. These are confused children who have been used,’ while giving the death toll at 9,000 Russian troops. The US believes the toll is actually around 6,000. Moscow has admitted only 500 deaths.

His assessment of the Russian attack was shared by several US defence analysts who said the campaign had been mismanaged, under-supplied, ineffective, and led to Moscow suffering much-higher casualties in the first few days of fighting than had been anticipated.

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

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.

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. 

Meanwhile a Bangladeshi sailor was killed in an attack on his vessel in the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Olvia, the state shipping company said Thursday.

The Banglar Samriddhi, a bulk carrier, arrived in the country on February 22, a day before Russia invaded, and has since been unable to leave.

Pijush Dutta, executive director of the Bangladesh Shipping Corporation, said the vessel was hit in a ‘rocket or bomb’ attack on Wednesday – though it was not clear who had opened fire.

The third engineer was killed and the bridge caught fire, he said, but the remaining 28 crew – all Bangladeshis – were still on board. ‘The fire has been brought under control,’ he added. ‘Other crew in the ship are safe.’

In the early hours of Thursday a huge explosion rocked Kyiv – preceded by the blaring of air raid sirens at around 2am local time in multiple districts across the city. Kyiv’s buildings were then lit up by a huge blast from a bomb.  

The Kyiv Independent reported that air raid alerts were issued in multiple regions included Kyiv Oblast, Lviv, Zhytomyr, Frankivsk, Chernihiv and Odessa.

Footage from the capital, filmed from windows overlooking the city, showed at least one massive explosion that lit up the night sky, and appeared to cause a shock-wave.  

Russian tanks and a military truck are seen rolling through the streets of Kherson on Wednesday

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 

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

The city of Kherson is seen on Wednesday, with Russian forces seemingly in control. Kherson is the first major city to fall to the Russians

Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, published another video to his social media in the early hours of Thursday, providing an upbeat assessment of his country’s resilience and saying the Russian advance was not going according to plan

In another video, captured by CBS News reporters moments after signing off following a report, two bursts of light could be seen over Kyiv. 

While the explosions were not filmed directly, the intensity of them was enough to shock the reporter and his film crew, who were some distance away from the blasts.

Hours earlier, a Russian missile struck near Kyiv’s southern main rail station where thousands of women and children are being evacuated, Ukraine’s state-run railway company Ukrzaliznytsya said in a statement. 

The station building suffered minor damage and the number of any casualties was not yet known, it said, adding trains were still operating despite the blast.

Ukraine’s interior ministry adviser Anton Herashchenko said the blast was caused by wreckage from a downed Russian cruise missile, not a direct rocket strike. 

Trains continued to run. Herashchenko added the strike may have cut off central heating supply to parts of the Ukrainian capital amid freezing winter temperatures.

Unverified reports said two missiles were launched towards the headquarters of Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense, with one being shot down. The HQ and the railway station sit across a road from one another in Kyiv.  

Forty miles from Kherson, in Mykolaiv, Ukrainian forces captured several Russian troops on Wednesday, where fierce fighting broke out in recent days.

The region’s governor and a member of Ukraine’s Parliament shared pictures with the captured soldiers. 

Roman Kostenko, a lawmaker and secretary of the Parliament’s Committee on National Security, Defense and Intelligence, told CNN that a reconnaissance unit of the Russian GRU’s 10th brigade had been intercepted on the outskirts of Mykolaiv.

‘We encircled them and they gave themselves up,’ he said. 

Kherson mayor’s message on Wednesday evening

These weren’t negotiations or anything that was already rumored about.

No one agreed anything with me.

However, indeed there were armed visitors in the city council today.

My team and I are peaceful people, we had no weapons or aggression on our side. We have shown that we are working to secure the city and are trying to eliminate the consequences of the invasion.

We are experiencing enormous difficulties with collecting and burying the dead, delivering food and medicine, garbage removal, clearing accidents, etc.

Everything that is happening now in our city is politics that I hate.

I came to renew infrastructure, invest in Kherson, build houses, roads, parks and a new life for my hometown. As a result, I’m looking for special packages for the killed, putting the whole world on my shoulders, asking for a ‘green corridor’ and thinking HOW should I now rebuild the city after tanks and APCs.

I made no promises to them. I just have nothing to promise. I am only interested in the normal life of our city!

I just asked them not to shoot people. We don’t have the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the city, only civilians and people who want to LIVE here!


1. You can only go to the city during the day.

2. The curfew from 20.00 to 06.00 is strictly observed.

3. Only cars with food, medicines and other things can enter the city.

4. We will release public transport again so that employees of the bakery, shops, pharmacies, etc. could get to work.

5. Pedestrians walk one by one, maximum two. The military will not be provoked. Stop at the first demand. They do not seek conflict.

6. Cars that are allowed to be in the city must drive at minimum speeds, and should be ready to show the contents of their vehicle at any moment.

So far this is how it is. The Ukrainian flag above us.

And to keep it the same, these requirements must be met.

I have nothing else to say yet.

‘They are with the SBU,’ he said, referring to the Ukrainian security services. 

He said one of the five Russian soldiers had died, one was taken straight to hospital and three were alive. 

The capture of Kherson came as Western officials told CNN that they believe the Russian strategy is moving toward a ‘slow annihilation’ of the Ukrainian military.

They warned that the grinding pace of the conflict could see Russia resorting to the bombardment of cities and civilian targets.

Ukrainian forces have so far been able to stave off Russia’s initial push, maintaining control of Kyiv and other major cities. 

Russia has lost roughly 3-5 percent of its tanks, aircraft, artillery and other military assets inside Ukraine, according to two US officials familiar with the latest intelligence. 

Ukraine has lost roughly 10 percent of its capabilities, and they remain massively outgunned and outmanned. 

And Russia is now bringing in heavier, more destructive weaponry and increasingly striking civilian infrastructure, after an initial focus on military targets, the officials said.

‘The cruel military math of this will eventually come to bear, absent some intervention, absent some fundamental change in the dynamic,’ one official said. 

Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, told Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a call on Wednesday that Ukraine needs additional deliveries of weapons ‘now,’ Kuleba tweeted.

A senior intelligence official said: ‘They need bullets. They need bandages. They’re going to need fuel. They’re going to need ammunition, in addition to the humanitarian support to help with medical assistance, sustaining hospitals, both for combat wounded and for civilians that are being hurt.

‘And they’re going to need a lot again in ammunition and the weapons resupply, because the Russian force is both numerically and qualitatively superior.’ 

Moscow’s isolation deepened, meanwhile, when most of the world lined up against it at the United Nations to demand it withdraw from Ukraine. 

And the prosecutor for the International Criminal Court opened an investigation into possible war crimes. 

President Joe Biden and his administration have stopped short of accusing the Kremlin of conducting war crimes in its invasion of Ukraine so far.

On Wednesday Antony Blinken, the Secretary of State, said instead they are ‘looking very closely at what’s happening’ and ‘documenting it.’ 

He said it was ‘shameful’ that hospitals and residential buildings were being hit.

‘We’re looking very closely at what’s happening in Ukraine right now, including what’s happening to civilians,’ Blinken said. 

‘We’re taking account of it, we’re documenting it, and we want to ensure, among other things, that there’s accountability for it.’ 

He compared Russia’s tactics in Ukraine to previous conflicts, where its forces were ‘absolutely brutal in trying to cow the citizenry of a given country, and that includes at the very least indiscriminate targeting and potentially deliberate targeting as well.’ 

A second round of talks aimed at ending the fighting was expected on Thursday, but there appeared to be little common ground between the two sides.

Russia reported its military casualties for the first time since the invasion began last week, saying nearly 500 of its troops have been killed and almost 1,600 wounded. 

Ukraine did not disclose its own military losses but said more than 2,000 civilians have died, a claim that could not be independently verified.

With fighting going on on multiple fronts across the country, Britain’s Defense Ministry said Mariupol, a large city on the Azov Sea, was encircled by Russian forces. 

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.

Meanwhile, the senior U.S. defense official said the immense column of hundreds of tanks and other vehicles appeared to be stalled roughly 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 and has faced fierce Ukrainian resistance, the official said.

On the far edges of Kyiv, volunteer fighters 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.’

Russian warplanes bombed the village of Gorenka, a half-hour’s drive from Ukraine’s capital, Wednesday, leaving the bodies of villagers strewn among ruined homes, residents said.

In the northern city of Chernihiv, two cruise missiles hit a hospital, according to the Ukrainian UNIAN news agency 

Ihor Kolykhaiev, mayor of Kherson, said on Wednesday that armed forces had taken control of his city

The mayor of Kherson, Ihor Kolykhaiev, made a post on Facebook at around 7pm local time on Wednesday evening. The translation is done by Facebook itself

A woman cries in the small basement of a house crowded with people seeking shelter from Russian airstrikes, outside the capital Kyiv, on Wednesday

The remains of a destroyed Russian military convoy are seen on a street in Bucha, to the south of Kyiv, on Wednesday morning

An armed man stands by the remains of a Russian military vehicle in Bucha, close to the capital Kyiv, Ukraine

Russia also pounded Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city with about 1.5 million people, in another round of aerial attacks that shattered buildings and lit up the skyline with flames. 

At least 21 people were killed and 112 injured over the past day, said Oleg Sinehubov, head of the Kharkiv regional administration.

Several Russian planes were shot down over Kharkiv, according to Oleksiy Arestovich, a top adviser to Zelensky.

‘Kharkiv today is the Stalingrad of the 21st century,’ Arestovich said, invoking what is considered one of the most heroic episodes in Russian history, the five-month defense of the city from the Nazis during World War II.

From his basement bunker, Kharkiv Mayor Igor Terekhov told the BBC: ‘The city is united and we shall stand fast.’

Russian attacks, many with missiles, blew the roof off Kharkiv’s five-story regional police building and set the top floor on fire, and also hit the intelligence headquarters and a university building, according to officials and videos and photos released by Ukraine’s State Emergency Service. 

Officials said residential buildings were also hit.

Seven days into Russia’s invasion, the United Nations said more than 934,000 people have fled Ukraine in a mounting refugee crisis on the European continent, while the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency warned that the fighting poses a danger to Ukraine’s 15 nuclear reactors.

Rafael Grossi of the International Atomic Energy Agency noted that the war is ‘the first time a military conflict is happening amid the facilities of a large, established nuclear power program,’ and he said he is ‘gravely concerned.’

‘When there is a conflict ongoing, there is of course a risk of attack or the possibility of an accidental hit,’ he said. 

Russia already has seized control of the decommissioned Chernobyl power plant, the scene in 1986 of the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

A private U.S. satellite company, Maxar Technology, on Wednesday released a series of 11 images taken on Monday showing damaged infrastructure in towns north of Kyiv. 

A damaged bridge could be clearly seen beside bombed homes on Monday in Chernihiv, 80 miles north east of Kyiv.

A bombed-out factory could also be seen near Chernihiv.

Burning homes and impact craters could be seen other photos showing fields near Rivnopillia, 100 miles north of Kyiv. The tiny village is 30 miles south of the Belarus border.

Military vehicles and homes are seen in another photo, destroyed in residential areas on Vokzalna Street in Bucha, 20 miles north west of the center of Kyiv. 

Further photos showed long lines of vehicles waiting to cross from Ukraine into Slovakia, Hungary and Poland.

Long lines are also seen in the photos outside supermarkets in Kyiv. 

A damaged bridge is clearly seen beside bombed homes on Monday in Chernihiv, 80 miles north east of Kyiv

This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows a close up of destroyed factory building west of Chernihiv. The image was taken on Monday

Burning homes and impact craters are seen in fields near Rivnopillia, 100 miles north of Kyiv. The tiny village is 30 miles south of the Belarus border

Military vehicles and homes are seen destroyed in residential areas on Vokzalna Street in Bucha, 20 miles north west of the center of Kyiv. The photos were taken on Monday, after the Russian forces staged multiple advances on Kyiv from the west

Cars are pictured on Monday waiting to cross from Ukraine into Hungary at a checkpoint. People are still forced to wait for up to 24 hours to cross

Vehicles are seen on Monday waiting to cross from Ukraine into Slovakia. Ukraine’s border posts with Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Moldova have seen huge lines of people desperate to flee the war

A satellite image shows people and vehicles waiting to cross into Romania from Ukraine, at the Siret Border crossing, on Friday – the second day of the conflict

This handout satellite image released by Maxar Technologies shows refugees vehicles waiting to cross into Slovakia from Ukraine at Vysne Nemecke border crossing on Monday. As of Wednesday, almost one million people have fled

A satellite image shows a large crater in the middle of a residential area and destroyed homes, in Sukachi village, 300 miles east of Kyiv, towards the border with Poland and Belarus

Another long line is seen on Monday outside a supermarket in Kyiv, in an image taken by Maxar Technology released on Wednesday

A satellite image shows a long line of people waiting for food outside a grocery store in Kyiv on Monday. The line can be seen snaking through the parking lot, next to the nearly-empty highway

In New York, the U.N. General Assembly voted to demand that Russia stop its offensive and immediately withdraw all troops, with world powers and tiny island states alike condemning Moscow. The vote was 141 to 5, with 35 abstentions.

Assembly resolutions are not legally binding but can reflect and influence world opinion.

The vote came after the 193-member assembly convened its first emergency session since 1997. 

The only countries to vote with Russia were Belarus, Syria, North Korea and Eritrea. Cuba spoke in Moscow’s defense but ultimately abstained.

Ukraine’s U.N. Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya said Russian forces ‘have come to the Ukrainian soil, not only to kill some of us … they have come to deprive Ukraine of the very right to exist.’ 

He added: ‘The crimes are so barbaric that it is difficult to comprehend.’

A convoy of Russian vehicles is seen parked along a residential street in an unknown area of Ukraine, in footage released by Russia’s armed forces on Wednesday

Police officers remove the body of a passerby killed in Tuesday’s airstrike that hit Kyiv’s main television tower

Police officers stand guard at the site of Tuesday’s airstrike that hit Kyiv’s main television tower

A large explosion shook central Kyiv on Wednesday night in what the president’s office said was a missile strike near the capital city’s southern railway station. 

There was no immediate word on any deaths or injuries. 

Thousands of Ukrainians have been fleeing the city through the sprawling railway complex.

A spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, released his side’s military casualty figures, disputing as ‘disinformation’ reports of much higher losses. 

Ukraine’s leader claimed almost 6,000 Russian soldiers have been killed.

Konashenkov also said more than 2,870 Ukrainian troops have been killed and about 3,700 wounded, while over 570 have been captured.

Russia also ramped up its rhetoric. 

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reminded the world about the country’s vast nuclear arsenal when he said in an interview with Al-Jazeera that ‘a third world war could only be nuclear.’

Commanders of Ukraine’s Special Operations Forces warned they would no longer take Russian artillerymen as prisoner of war in response to their ‘brutal shelling’ of cities – a move which would be a war crime. 

‘Each and every gun crew… will be slaughtered like pigs,’ a statement on their Facebook page on Wednesday evening said. 

Footage from Kyiv overnight into Thursday morning 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

A Russian air strike hit near Kyiv’s southern rail station on Wednesday where thousands of women and children are being evacuated, Ukraine’s state-run railway company Ukrzaliznytsya said in a statement. Pictured: Footage purportedly showing a blast in Kyiv on Wednesday night near a southern train station and Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense

Ukraine’s interior ministry adviser Anton Herashchenko said the strike may have e cut off central heating supply to parts of the Ukrainian capital amid freezing winter temperatures

A woman cries outside houses damaged by a Russian airstrike, according to locals, in Gorenka, outside the capital Kyiv

A woman says goodbye as a train with evacuees is about to leave Kyiv’s railway station on Wednesday

People stay inside Dorohozhychi subway station, which is used as a bomb shelter, in Kyiv

Civilians are seen at the train station attempting to head west from Kyiv on Wednesday amid Russian attacks

Civilians are seen at the train station attempting to head west from Kyiv on Wednesday, before the building was hit

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

Paramedics walk at the residential area following recent shelling, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, in the settlement of Borodyanka in the Kyiv region on Wednesday

On Wednesday morning, the bodies of the five victims of a rocket strike on Kyiv’s television tower were piled into a van and removed from the site by police – as the capital’s mayor Vitali Klitschko warned that Russian forces were ‘getting closer’. 

Klitschko vowed that ‘we will fight’ to defend the city, amid fears it could soon be battered by artillery fire from a 40-mile long convoy parked nearby. 

Along with his brother and fellow former boxer Wladimir, the mayor called for more support from the west in an interview on Wednesday.

Ukrainian police said Wednesday they had arrested a man who brought explosives hidden in a child’s toy to one of the Kyiv subway stations where thousands of people have been sheltering. 

The police also said four other suspected saboteurs were arrested, including two who were carrying weapons.  

Police officers prepare to remove the bodies of passersby killed in Tuesday’s airstrike that hit Kyiv’s main television tower

Ukrainian police forces remove the bodies of people killed during a Russian rocket attack on Kyiv’s main TV tower on Tuesday, ahead of an expected assault on the capital

Kyiv is preparing to come under fresh bombardment today after Moscow warned civilians to flee or else face being killed (pictured, bodies of people killed in last night’s strike are covered by police)

Five people were killed on Tuesday in a Russian missile strike which wiped out several TV stations in Kyiv, thought to be preparation for a larger follow-up attack

Smoke and flames rise up the side of Kyiv’s 1,300ft TV tower after Russia bombed it on Tuesday. The tower remained standing but buildings around it were damaged, with some broadcasts knocked off air

Smoke rises around Kyiv’s main television tower after several explosions near the base of it on Tuesday afternoon

After failing to swiftly take major cities and to subdue Ukraine’s military, U.S. officials have said for days that they believe Russia will instead seek to encircle cities, cutting off supply and escape routes, then attacking with a combined force of armour, ground troops and engineers.

A top Ukrainian diplomat received a standing ovation from diplomats after a heartfelt speech Wednesday to the U.N.’s top human rights body, calling on the Human Rights Council to help hold Russia’s government accountable by creating a panel of experts to scrutinize the invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking by video from Kyiv, Emine Dzhaparova, Ukraine’s first deputy minister of foreign affairs, described being awoken by the sound of an explosion on February 24 as the invasion began. 

She said her government was ‘fully operational’ and lashed out at ‘false claims’ by Putin that Ukraine was committing ‘genocide.’

‘Do you know how Russia treats and deals with genocide in Ukraine? By airstrikes using cruise and operational tactical missiles, tanks and artillery, reconnaissance groups and sabotage groups,’ she said. 

‘Ukrainian babies are born in the bomb shelters in bunkers. 

‘As we speak here today, Russian armed forces keep attacking maternity wards, kindergartens, orphanages, hospitals.’

Dzhaparova noted an ‘urgent debate’ at the council about the situation in Ukraine, calling for countries in the 47-member-state body’s to set up a Commission of Inquiry – the council’s most powerful tool to scrutinize human rights violations and abuses. 

US President Joe Biden used his first State of the Union address to highlight the resolve of a reinvigorated Western alliance that has worked to rearm the Ukrainian military and adopt tough sanctions, which he said have left Putin ‘isolated in the world more than he has ever been.’

‘Throughout our history we’ve learned this lesson – when dictators do not pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos,’ Biden said. 

‘They keep moving. And the costs and threats to America and the world keep rising.’  

Soldiers are seen around piles of sand used for blocking a road in Ukrainian capital, Kyiv

A view of smoke from inside a damaged gym following shelling in Kyiv which partially destroyed a gym

A destroyed apartment building in Irpin, a city on the outskirts of Kyiv, was struck by Russian missiles early on Wednesday

Soldiers are seen around piles of sand used for blocking a road in Ukrainian capital, Kyiv

A fighter of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces, the military reserve of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, stands guard at the underground crossing and subway entrance in the center of Kyiv

original source: First Ukrainian city falls: Mayor of Kherson tells people to follow the orders of Russian soldiers

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