Russian troops surrounded cities across Ukraine on Sunday morning, preventing civilians from fleeing the violence and firing on civilian targets.
Russia continued bombing various cities and launched airstrikes that increased shelling outside of the capital, Kyiv.
According to local reports, air alerts again echoed in almost all regions of Ukraine.
Russian planes fired eight missiles around 6 a.m. local time on Sunday, which hit the Yaroviv International Peace and Security Center near the city of Lviv, just 10 miles from the Polish border, Ukrainian officials said on Sunday.
The IPSC is a huge military base that includes a training center for soldiers, primarily for peacekeeping missions supported by the United States in the past.
In the strategic port city of Mariupol in southern Ukraine – which has been ravaged by incessant Russian bombing – efforts to bring food, water and medicines to the city of 430,000 people were thwarted by another day of brutal shelling on Saturday.
More than 1,500 people have died in Mariupol during the siege, according to the mayor’s office, which said the shelling even interrupted efforts to bury the dead in mass graves.
Talks between Ukrainian and Russian officials trying to reach a ceasefire agreement fell apart again on Saturday.
The US has pledged to send an additional $200 million in arms, but Russia has issued strong warnings to the US and its allies that arms shipments to Ukraine are considered “legitimate targets” for Russian forces.
French and German leaders spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday about a failed attempt to reach a ceasefire, in which Putin laid out his terms for ending the fighting: Ukraine must drop its bid to join NATO and assume neutral status; recognition of Russian sovereignty over Crimea; recognize the independence of the Russian-controlled regions of Luhansk and Donetsk; and to demilitarize.
Ukrainian President Voloymyr Zelenskyy has accused Russia of starting “a new phase of terror” and has since likened Russian soldiers to “ISIS terrorists”. kidnapped the mayor of the city of Melitopol on Friday.
“Ukraine will pass this test. We need time and strength to break the war machine that has reached our country,” Zelenskyy said during his nightly address on Saturday.
Zelensky said Russia must carpet bomb Kyiv and kill its residents to take the city ahead of an expected full-scale attack on the capital while Russian forces try to encircle it. According to the President, about 2 million people have fled the city so far.
“They will only come here if they kill us all,” he said. “If that’s her goal, let her come.”
A convoy of hundreds of people fleeing Peremoha, a suburb some 12 miles northeast of Kyiv, was forced to turn back under fire from Russian forces, killing seven people, including a child, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry claimed on Saturday.
Moscow has announced it will set up humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians from conflict zones, but Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of disrupting these routes and shooting at civilians.
Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Iryna Vereshchuk said only nine of 14 agreed corridors were open on Saturday and that about 13,000 people used them to evacuate across the country.
Russian soldiers looted a humanitarian convoy trying to reach Mariupol and blocked another, a Ukrainian official said. Russian forces now control the city’s eastern outskirts as they escalate their siege of the port to establish a land corridor to Crimea, captured from Ukraine in 2014.
Mariupol has been without water and electricity for over a week. The aid group Doctors Without Borders said residents are dying from a lack of medicines and draining heating pipes for drinking water.
In Irpin, a suburb about 12 miles northwest of central Kyiv, bodies lay outdoors on streets and in a park on Saturday.
Zelensky attempted to rally his people to maintain his resistance against Russian invaders. “We have no right to relax our defense, no matter how difficult it may be,” he said.
On Saturday, Zelenskyi reported that 1,300 Ukrainian soldiers had died since the Russian invasion began 17 days ago on Feb. 24.
Thousands of civilians have been killed, including at least 79 Ukrainian children, the Ukrainian government says. At least 2.5 million people have fled the country, according to the United Nations refugee agency, and more than 1.5 million have entered Poland.
Russian forces have hit at least two dozen hospitals and medical facilities, according to the World Health Organization.
The Russian invaders appear to have fought far more than expected against the fierce defenses of embattled Ukrainian fighters, but their outnumbered and armed forces may be worn down by the incessant Russian attacks.
With postal wires
https://nypost.com/2022/03/13/russia-bombards-ukrainian-cities-blocks-civilian-evacuation-routes/ Russia bombs Ukrainian cities, blocks civilian escape routes