LVIV / KYIV – Ukrainian authorities have condemned Russian artillery attacks on northeastern cities and the continued blockade of the southern port city of Mariupol, with Moscow saying it had taken full control after nearly two months of bloody fighting.
After failing to overcome Ukrainian resistance in the north, the Russian military has re-concentrated its ground offensive in Donbass, launching long-range attacks on targets elsewhere, including the capital Kyiv.
Eighteen people have been killed and more than 100 injured in shelling in the northeastern city of Kharkiv in the past four days, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said.
“This is nothing more than intentional terrorism: mortars, artillery, civilian casualties against civilian quarters,” he said late Sunday night.
Russia denies targeting civilians, and Ukraine denies what it says is evidence of atrocities to undermine peace talks. It calls its move a special military operation to disarm Ukraine and eliminate dangerous nationalists.
The West and Kyiv have accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of unwarranted aggression.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shamihal said troops were still fighting at the port of Mariupol on Sunday, despite Russia’s demand for its early surrender.
“The city hasn’t read yet,” he told ABC This week The program adds that Ukrainian troops continue to control parts of the southeastern city.
On Saturday, Russia said it had control of urban areas, with some Ukrainian fighters remaining on the Azovstal steelworks, ignoring the Sea of Azov.
The capture of Mariupol, the main port in the Donbass region, will be a strategic reward for Russia, a region formerly occupied by pro-Russian separatists that annexed Crimea to Moscow in 2014.
The governor of Luhansk’s neighboring region, Serhiy Gaidai, who has seen heavy fighting, reiterated a request to evacuate people.
“Next week will be tough,” he said in a post on his Facebook page. “This could be the last chance to save you.”
On the streets of Mariupol, small groups of corpses lined up under colorful blankets, surrounded by shattered trees and gleaming buildings.
Residents, pushing some bicycles, pick their way around destroyed tanks and civilian vehicles while Russian troops check motorist documents.
Among them was Irina, who came out with a niece wounded in the shooting.
Referring to the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, he said: “I have a daughter in my DNR. “We will probably try to get there for now.
“I hope they (Mariupol) rebuild. The most important thing is the utility system. Summer will pass quickly and winter will be difficult. “
‘Easter of War’
Nearly four million Ukrainians have fled the country since the attack began on February 24, cities have been torn apart and thousands have died.
The economic losses are significant. Mr. Shamihal said Ukraine’s budget deficit was about $ 5 billion a month and called on Western governments to provide more financial assistance.
On Twitter, Mr Zelensky said he had discussed with the International Monetary Fund’s managing director Kristalina Georgieva about ensuring Ukraine’s financial stability and readiness for post-war reconstruction, adding that support was essential to lay the groundwork for restructuring.
Ukraine is rapidly trying to join the European Union (EU), as officials have completed a questionnaire that is a start. Points for deciding on EU membership.
On Easter Sunday, Pope Francis indirectly criticized Russia, called for an end to the bloodshed, and lamented “Easter of war” in a speech in St. Peter’s Square after the rally.
“Let there be peace for war-torn Ukraine, so it was dragged down by the violence and destruction of a brutal and meaningless war,” he said. – Reuters