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Ukraine’s first major city falls to Russians as mayor Kherson admits Putin’s forces are now in control

The first major city in Ukraine fell to Russian invaders a week after Vladimir Putin ordered his troops into the country.

Mayor Kherson has now acknowledged that Kremlin forces are now in charge, and the Ukrainian government has also confirmed the city has been captured.

Russian troops in the center of Kherson

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Russian troops in the center of KhersonCredit: Avalon.red
Kherson was the first major city in Ukraine to fall to the Russians

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Kherson was the first major city in Ukraine to fall to the RussiansCredit: Reuters
Russian tanks and troops have now occupied the city

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Russian tanks and troops have now occupied the cityCredit: Reuters

Russian forces are besieging the strategic port cities of southern Ukraine Kherson and Mariupol.

Fierce fighting is still going on in Mariupol, where the Russians once lived accused of genocide.

The mayor of Kherson, Igor Kolykhaev, said Russian soldiers were already in the city and arrived at the city administration building.

He said he asked them not to shoot civilians and to allow crews to collect bodies from the streets.

“I’m just asking them not to shoot people,” he said in a statement.

“We don’t have any Ukrainian forces in the city, just civilians and people here who want to live.”

Gennady Lakhuta, the head of the regional regulator, added in a Telegram post: “The occupiers are in all parts of the city and are very dangerous.”

Putin had hoped for a quick takeover of Ukraine, but his forces were met with stiff Ukrainian resistance.

The chaos of supplies hindered their advance while it seemed that morale of the soldiers was low, many of them had already tearful surrender.

Read ours Russia – Ukraine Live Blog for the latest updates

The lack of progress has led to growing concern that Russia will increasingly use indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets to force an end to the war.

The Russians are accused of indiscriminately shelling the Ukrainian port of Mariupol, home to nearly 450,000 people, over the past day, with unconfirmed reports that hundreds have been killed.

Mayor Mariupol accused Russian about carrying out “genocide” on his city, while his deputy claimed the entire residential area of ​​130,000 people had been razed to the ground.

Footage allegedly shot in the city appears to show gun battles between Ukrainian and Russian forces on Wednesday.

The city is located in an important position, between the annexed Crimean Peninsula, where several Russian forces are stationed, and the pro-Russian breakaway provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk.

Mariupol is believed to have been under continuous fire for the past 14 hours, according to the city government.

A maternity hospital and dozens of residential buildings were severely damaged, while a school and migrant residences were destroyed.

Three boys playing soccer were hit by bullets during a Russian attack in the city.

One person lost a leg and died shortly after arriving, an AP reporter said.

The other two were taken to hospital and remain in intensive care.

All three boys are about 15 to 16 years old.

Unconfirmed reports say hundreds of people were killed during hours of continuous shelling.

The basement of the maternity hospital in Mariupol was turned into a bomb shelter and a nursery as Russian forces stepped up their attack.

Vadym Boychenko, mayor of Mariupol, told UkraineThe 1+1 TV channel reported that the Russian military had also prevented civilians from escaping.

An injured man is quickly taken away by paramedics in Mariupol

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An injured man is quickly taken away by paramedics in MariupolCredit: AP
Video recording the gunfight in the city of Mariupol

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Video recording the gunfight in the city of Mariupol
The aftermath of Wednesday's shelling of the city

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The aftermath of Wednesday’s shelling of the citySource: Armed Forces of Ukraine
A makeshift hospital has been created in the basement of a maternity ward

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A makeshift hospital has been created in the basement of a maternity wardSource: Mariupol . City Council

“Residential infrastructure was destroyed enormously, a lot of people were injured and unfortunately many people died, women, children, the elderly,” he said.

“A total genocide of the Ukrainian people is underway.

“You must understand that the occupation forces of the Russian Federation did everything to prevent the escape of civilians from our city of half a million people.

“Our rail link was cut – they even went to the train station and shot at our diesel locomotives so people couldn’t evacuate.

“So their mission is to destroy us, they have no intention of helping civilians.”

Earlier, on Wednesday, Boychenko said the number of wounded civilians “is increasing every day”.

“Our doctors are not even coming home. They are fighting for the lives of the residents of Mariupol.”

Water supplies are also at stake in the city after more than half a day of Russian bombardment.

City deputy mayor Sergiy Orlov said a riverside district, home to about 130,000 people – including his father – had been wiped out.

He said Russian forces were besieging the city on all sides and several kilometers away.

“The situation is dire, we are on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe,” he said.

“We were bombed non-stop for more than 15 hours. A quarter of the city was almost completely destroyed. We couldn’t go inside to pick up the bodies so we couldn’t count.”

All you need to know about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Everything you need to know about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine…

He told the BBC: “The Ukrainian army is very brave and they will continue to defend the city, but the style of the Russian army is like that of pirates.

“They don’t fight their armies, they just destroy entire districts.”

A message from a Ukrainian soldier recorded in the city read: “If anything happens, don’t let us be forgotten. We are surrounded in Mariupol, with no way out.”

A British soldier currently fighting in the Ukrainian Marines said he and his comrades were “besieged in Mariupol” as he urged people to “continue to support” Ukraine.

It comes the day after a A six-year-old girl was killed in a Russian air strike in Mariupol.

Terrifying images show the poor child in unicorn pajamas lying injured in a city hospital.

An angry doctor told reporters: “Show this to Putin”, after the girl died despite the heroic efforts of the medical team.

The terrified mother of the child, covered in blood and holding a pink scarf, was crying as she waited outside the ambulance as the medical team desperately tried to revive her.

Other rocket attacks hit the second Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, hitting the regional police station and part of the university.

And shelling was reported in Okhtyrka, where dozens of buildings were destroyed.

According to the United Nations, one million people have now left Ukraine so far, amid fears of the largest displacement of people since World War Two.

On Wednesday, Russian paratroopers landed in the city and began fighting for control, according to the Ukrainian military.

The second round of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine will take place this evening, according to Russian state news agencies.

Burning Russian car on the way to Mariupol

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Burning Russian car on the way to MariupolCredit: Twitter
A makeshift bomb shelter has been built in a sports center in the city

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A makeshift bomb shelter has been built in a sports center in the cityCredit: AP
Mariupol has been heavily shelled since the war started

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Mariupol has been heavily shelled since the war startedCredit: Reuters
It takes place days after a six-year-old girl was killed in a Russian air strike in Mariupol

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It takes place days after a six-year-old girl was killed in a Russian air strike in MariupolCredit: AP
The city's midwifery department was moved to the basement after the hospital was bombarded

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The city’s midwifery department was moved to the basement after the hospital was bombardedCredit: AP

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/17826859/ukraine-city-falls-russians-kherson/ Ukraine’s first major city falls to Russians as mayor Kherson admits Putin’s forces are now in control

Bobby Allyn

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