Russian troops in strategic Black Sea port city of Kherson, says mayor

Local residents clear debris from a residential building destroyed by shelling, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in Zhytomyr
Local residents clear debris from a residential building destroyed by shelling, as Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine, in Zhytomyr, Ukraine March 2, 2022. REUTERS / Viacheslav Ratynskyi

March 3, 2022

KYIV/KHARKIV, Ukraine (Reuters) – Russian troops are in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson and have entered the council building, the mayor said after a day of wrangling over whether Moscow would get its first major gain. of a city at its eight-day invasion.

The invasion has yet to topple the government in Kyiv but thousands are believed to have died or been injured and more than 870,000 have fled Ukraine.

The biggest attack on a European country since 1945 has also caused a slump in the global economy still recovering from the COVID pandemic, leading to a flurry of sanctions against Russia and raised fears of broader conflict in the West.

For the Russians, the explosion has included queuing outside banks, the value of the ruble plunging and the emigration of companies while the Ukrainians are calculating the cost of the bombings despite their support. new global support, including the United Nations.

The Black Sea port of Kherson, a capital of the southern province of about 250,000 inhabitants, is strategically located where the Dnipro River flows into the Black Sea and will be the first major city to fall to Moscow.

The Russian Defense Ministry on Wednesday morning said it had captured Kherson, but hours later an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy replied that the Ukrainian side was continuing to defend the site.

Late Wednesday, Mayor Igor Kolykhayev said Russian troops had taken to the streets.

“Today there are armed visitors on the city’s executive committee,” he said in a statement. “I don’t promise them… I just ask them not to shoot people.”

He urged civilians to only walk through daylight streets and side streets.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation” not designed to seize territory but to destroy the military capabilities of neighboring countries and capture what it considers its followers. dangerous nationalism. It denies targeting civilians.

In other incidents, the bombing in Kharkiv, a city of 1.5 million people, turned its center into a wasteland of ruined buildings and debris.

Ukraine’s parliament said the Russians shelled the city of Izyum, 120 kilometers southeast of Kharkiv, killing six adults and two children.

An explosion also rocked Kyiv railway station overnight, where thousands of women and children were being evacuated.

An interior ministry adviser said the explosion was caused by debris from a downed Russian cruise missile, not a direct hit by the missile. There were no reports of casualties.


A UN resolution reprimanding Moscow for its invasion was supported by 141 of the council’s 193 members, a symbolic victory for Ukraine that increased Moscow’s international isolation .

“More is at stake than the conflict in Ukraine. This is a threat to Europe’s security and to the entire rules-based order,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

An investigation into possible war crimes will be immediately opened by the International Criminal Court, at the request of the court’s 39 member states, an unprecedented number.

No one at the Russian Foreign Ministry was available to comment when contacted after hours.

Diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis have so far failed.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow was still seeking to “demilitarize” Ukraine and needed a list of specific weapons that should never be deployed on Ukrainian territory. Moscow opposes Kyiv’s bid to join NATO.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak told Reuters a Ukrainian delegation had left for a second round of talks with Russian officials after the first round made little progress on Monday.


The United Nations Office for Human Rights said it had confirmed the deaths of 227 civilians and 525 injured in the conflict as of midnight on March 1, largely due to the “use of high-range explosive weapons”. wide influence”.

It warns that the actual fee will be much higher due to late reporting.

The Russian Defense Ministry says 498 Russian soldiers have died and another 1,597 have been injured since the start of the invasion, the first time Moscow has released a figure for casualties.

The Interfax news agency reported that more than 2,870 Ukrainian soldiers and “nationalists” were killed.

Ukraine says more than 7,000 Russian soldiers have been killed so far and hundreds taken prisoner.

The figures cannot be independently verified.

Western governments say that Russia’s main advance into the capital – a giant steel column that stretches for miles along the road to Kyiv – has been frozen in place for days.

The Kremlin’s decision to launch war – after months of rejecting such plans – shocked Russians to see Putin, their 22-year reign, as a methodical strategist.

It has also spurred global companies like Apple, Exxon and Boeing to join the exodus from the Russian market.

SWIFT, the dominant messaging system underpinning global financial transactions, said seven Russian institutions would be excluded as of March 12.

The Russian ruble fell to a new record low on Wednesday, a slide that will affect Russians’ living standards, and the stock market remained closed.

The central bank, itself sanctioned, doubled interest rates to 20% and Fitch downgraded Russia’s sovereign credit rating to ‘junk’.

Forbes reports that Germany has seized the giant yacht of Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov at the shipyard in Hamburg, while at least five superyachts owned by the billionaire are moored or cruised in the Maldives, a country Indian Ocean islands do not have an extradition treaty with the US, data shows.

Russian businessman Roman Abramovich has said he will sell Chelsea Football Club in London and raise money to help the victims of the war in Ukraine.

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk, Natalia Zinets and Aleksandar Vasovic in Ukraine, David Ljunggren in Ottawa and other Reuters offices; written by Costas Pitas; edited by Rosalba O’Brien and Lincoln Feast.) Russian troops in strategic Black Sea port city of Kherson, says mayor

Bobby Allyn

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