Besieged Ukraine Cities Prepare for Russian Attacks

Civilians practice throwing Molotov cocktails in Zhytomyr
A civilian train throws Molotov cocktails to defend the city, as Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine, in Zhytomyr, Ukraine March 1, 2022. REUTERS / Viacheslav Ratynskyi

March 2, 2022

KYIV (Reuters) – Besieged Ukrainian cities are bracing for more attacks on Wednesday as Russian commanders in the face of fierce Ukrainian resistance step up their bombardment of urban areas. their town in an attack towards the capital city Kyiv.

Already shunned by the West because of its invasion of Ukraine, Russia shows no sign of stopping an offensive that has included attacks on Kyiv and missile attacks on the second city of Kharkiv. Dozens of people were killed.

Faced with a massive Ukrainian army backed by citizen soldiers, Russia has not captured a single city since the full-scale invasion began nearly a week ago. Western analysts argue that Russia has fallen short of tactics that call for destroying built-up areas before entering them.

Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians fled the fighting as a Russian military convoy stretched for miles north of Kyiv toward the city. In western Kyiv, in the city of Zhytomyr, four people, including a child, were killed Tuesday by a Russian cruise missile, a Ukrainian official said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has drawn global condemnation and sanctions have sent the ruble to an all-time low and forced Russians to queue outside banks to deposit their savings.

Mr Putin ordered a “special military operation” last Thursday aimed at disarming Ukraine, capturing the “neo-Nazi” he said was running the country and dashing hopes of close ties. than the West.

Ukraine, which is not a member of NATO, has called on the US-led military alliance to implement a no-fly zone – a request denied by Washington, which fears direct conflict between the two powers. largest nuclear force in the world.

Washington and its allies sent weapons to Kyiv instead, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the United States had agreed with partners to convene a task force to “freeze and seize assets.” of Russia’s key elites”.

The move “will cause financial pain to the powerful individuals around Putin and make it clear that no one is beyond our collective reach,” Yellen said in a statement after the call Tuesday. with Group of 7 officials.


The West has imposed heavy sanctions on Russia to block its economy from the global financial system, prompting international companies to halt sales, sever ties and dump their products. investments worth tens of billions of dollars.

Sanctions have had an immediate impact on the Russian economy, with queues lining up outside banks as Russians rush to seek their savings.

Exxon Mobil has joined other major Western energy companies including BP PLC and Britain’s Shell in vowing to abandon oil-rich Russia because of the invasion.

Several countries have moved to ban Russian planes from entering their airspace, and US President Joe Biden is expected to announce a similar ban during his State of the Union address Tuesday night, an informed source said.

Russia’s heaviest bombardment to date appears to have been around Ukraine’s second-largest city Kharkiv, near the border with Russia. A Russian strategic bomber fired 16 guided missiles towards a residential area in Kharkiv on Monday, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said.

“According to preliminary data, dozens of Kharkiv residents, including children, have died as a result of these airstrikes,” the ministry said on its Facebook page.

In the largely Russian-speaking Ukrainian city of Donetsk, on territory controlled by Russia-backed separatists, authorities said three civilians were killed by Ukrainian shelling.

Reuters could not confirm any breakdown of reported casualties. The United Nations says at least 136 civilians were killed in the invasion, but the real number is likely much higher.

Russia did not release any exact casualty figures for its troops, but said its losses were much lower than those of Ukrainian forces.

Negotiators from Russia and Ukraine met over a ceasefire on Monday but talks broke down without further rounds being announced. On Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russia must “stop bombing its people” before negotiations can make any progress.

Zelenskiy, who is staying in a heavily guarded government compound in Kyiv, warned that the capital remains a prime target for Russia. Residents took shelter in subway stations at night fearing attacks.

Zelenskiy wrote on Twitter late Tuesday, after thanking Western leaders for their support. “Today, more than ever, it is important for us to feel that we are not alone.”

(Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic in Kyiv, Kevin Liffey in London and other Reuters offices including Moscow; Writing by Rami Ayyub; editing by Grant McCool and Stephen Coates) Besieged Ukraine Cities Prepare for Russian Attacks

Bobby Allyn

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