KYIV, Ukraine — The authorities in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol say that nearly 40,000 people have fled over the past week. That’s nearly 10% of its 430,000 population.
The city council in the Azov Sea port city said Sunday that 39,426 residents have safely evacuated from Mariupol in their own vehicles. It said the evacuees used more than 8,000 vehicles to leave via a humanitarian corridor via Berdyansk to Zaporizhzhia.
The strategic city has been encircled by the Russian troops and faced a relentless Russian bombardment for three weeks, coming to symbolize the horror of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Local authorities have said the siege has cut off food, water and energy supplies, and killed at least 2,300 people, some of whom had to be buried in mass graves. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Sunday that the siege of Mariupol would go down in history for what he said were war crimes committed by Russian troops.
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KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:
— School bombed in Ukraine city; Zelenskyy cites war crimes
— Even if Russia is denied an easy victory, Putin can keep pounding Ukraine for months
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— Surrogate babies born in Ukraine wait out war in basement
— Grassroots groups help rescue Holocaust survivors in Ukraine
— Minister: Clearing the live ordnance now scattered across Ukraine will take years and outside help
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— Go to https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine for more coverage
OTHER DEVELOPMENTS TODAY:
KYIV, Ukraine — Authorities in Ukraine’s eastern city of Kharkiv say at least five civilians have been killed in the latest Russian shelling.
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Regional police in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, said the victims of the Russian artillery attack early Sunday included a 9-year-old boy.
Kharkiv has been besieged by Russian forces since the start of the invasion and has come under a relentless barrage.
KYIV, Ukraine — Authorities in Ukraine have evacuated scores of baby orphans from a city engulfed by combat.
The governor of the northeastern Sumy region, Dmytro Zhyvytskyy, said Sunday that 71 infants have been safely evacuated via a humanitarian corridor. Zhyvytskyy said on Facebook that the orphans will be taken to an unspecified foreign country. He said most of them require constant medical attention.
Like many other Ukrainian cities, Sumy has been besieged by Russian troops and faced repeated shelling.
The Russian military says it has carried out a new series of strikes on Ukrainian military facilities with long-range hypersonic and cruise missiles.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Sunday that the Kinzhal hypersonic missile hit a Ukrainian fuel depot in Kostiantynivka near the Black Sea port of Mykolaiv. The strike marked the second day in a row that Russia used the Kinzhal, a weapon capable of striking targets 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) away at a speed 10 times the speed of sound.
The previous day, the Russian military said the Kinzhal was used for the first time in combat to destroy an ammunition depot in Diliatyn in the Carpathian Mountains in western Ukraine.
Konashenkov noted that the Kalibr cruise missiles launched by Russian warships from the Caspian Sea were also involved in the strike on the fuel depot in Kostiantynivka. He said Kalibr missiles launched from the Black Sea were used to destroy an armor repair plant in Nizhyn in the Chernihiv region in northern Ukraine.
Konashenkov added that another strike by air-launched missiles hit a Ukrainian facility in Ovruch in the northern Zhytomyr region where foreign fighters and Ukrainian special forces were based.
KYIV, Ukraine — Authorities in the besieged Ukrainian port city of Mariupol say that the Russian military has bombed an art school where about 400 people had taken refuge.
Local authorities said Sunday that the school building was destroyed and people could remain under the rubble. There was no immediate word on casualties.
Russian forces on Wednesday also bombed a theater in Mariupol where civilians took shelter. The authorities said 130 people were rescued but many more could remain under the debris.
Mariupol, a strategic port on the Azov Sea, has been encircled by Russian troops, cut off from energy, food and water supplies, and has faced a relentless bombardment.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the siege of Mariupol would go down in history for what he said were war crimes committed by Russian troops.
KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has ordered activities of 11 political parties with links to Russia to be suspended.
The largest of them is the Opposition Platform for Life, which has 44 out of 450 seats in the country’s parliament. The party is led by Viktor Medvedchuk, who has friendly ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is the godfather of Medvedchuk’s daughter.
Also on the list is the Nashi (Ours) party led by Yevheniy Murayev. Before the Russian invasion. the British authorities had warned that Russia wanted to install Murayev as the leader of Ukraine.
Speaking in a video address early Sunday, Zelenskyy said that “given a large-scale war unleashed by the Russian Federation and links between it and some political structures, the activities of a number of political parties is suspended for the period of the martial law.” He added that “activities by politicians aimed at discord and collaboration will not succeed.”
Zelenskyy’s announcement follows the introduction of the martial law that envisages a ban on parties associated with Russia.
KYIV, Ukraine — In peacetime, Ukraine has a thriving surrogate industry, one of the few countries where foreigners can get Ukrainian women to carry their pregnancies. Now at least 20 of those babies are stuck in a makeshift bomb shelter in Ukraine’s capital, waiting for parents to travel into the war zone to pick them up.
They’re well cared for at the moment. Surrogacy center nurses are stranded with them, because constant shelling makes it too dangerous for them to go home. Russian troops are trying to encircle the city, with Ukrainian defenders holding them off for now, the threat comes from the air.
Nurse Lyudmilla Yashchenko says they’re staying in the bomb shelter to save their lives, and the lives of the babies, some of whom are just days old. They have enough food and baby supplies for now, and can only hope and wait for the newborns to be picked up, and the war to end.
The British defense ministry said the Ukrainian Air Force and air defense forces are “continuing to effectively defend Ukrainian airspace.”
“Russia has failed to gain control of the air and is largely relying on stand-off weapons launched from the relative safety of Russian airspace to strike targets within Ukraine,” the ministry said on Twitter. “Gaining control of the air was one of Russia’s principal objectives for the opening days of the conflict and their continued failure to do so has significantly blunted their operational progress.”
A Ukrainian military official meanwhile confirmed to a Ukrainian newspaper that Russian forces carried out a missile strike Friday on a missile and ammunition warehouse in the Delyatyn settlement of the Ivano-Frankivsk region in western Ukraine.
But Ukraine’s Air Forces spokesman Yurii Ihnat told Ukrainskaya Pravda on Saturday that it has not been confirmed that the missile was indeed a hypersonic Kinzhal.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said earlier Saturday that Russian military hit the underground warehouse in Delyatyn on Friday with the hypersonic Kinzhal missile in its first reported combat use. According to Russian officials, the Kinzhal, carried by MiG-31 fighter jets, has a range of up to 2,000 kilometers (about 1,250 miles) and flies at 10 times the speed of sound.
LVIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the siege of Mariupol will go down in history for what he’s calling war crimes by Russia’s military.
“To do this to a peaceful city, what the occupiers did, is a terror that will be remembered for centuries to come,” he said early Sunday in his nighttime video address to the nation.
Zelenskyy told Ukrainians the ongoing negotiations with Russia were “not simple or pleasant, but they are necessary.” He said he discussed the course of the talks with French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday.
“Ukraine has always sought a peaceful solution. Moreover, we are interested in peace now,” he said.
Meanwhile, Russia’s military isn’t even recovering the bodies of its soldiers in some places, Zelenskyy said.
“In places where there were especially fierce battles, the bodies of Russian soldiers simply pile up along our line of defense. And no one is collecting these bodies,” he said. He described as battle near Chornobayivka in the south, where Ukrainian forces held their positions and six times beat back the Russians, who just kept “sending their people to slaughter.”
WASHINGTON — The math of military conquests and occupation may be against Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine.
Estimates of Russian deaths vary widely. Yet even conservative figures are in the low thousands. That’s a much faster pace than in previous Russian offensives, threatening support for the war among ordinary Russians. Russia had 64 deaths in five days of fighting during its 2008 war with Georgia. It lost about 15,000 in Afghanistan over 10 years, and more than 11,000 over years of fighting in Chechnya.
Russia’s number of dead and wounded in Ukraine is nearing the 10% benchmark of diminished combat effectiveness, said Dmitry Gorenburg, a researcher on Russia’s security at the Virginia-based CNA think tank. The reported battlefield deaths of four Russian generals — out of an estimated 20 in the fight — signal impaired command, he said.
Researchers tracking only those Russian equipment losses that were photographed or recorded on video say Russia has lost more than 1,500 tanks, trucks, mounted equipment and other heavy gear. Two out of three of those were captured or abandoned, signaling the failings of the Russian troops that let them go.
When it comes to the grinding job of capturing and holding cities, conventional military metrics suggest Russia needs a 5-to-1 advantage in urban fighting, analysts say. Meanwhile, the formula for ruling a restive territory in the face of armed opposition is 20 fighters for every 1,000 people — or 800,000 Russian troops for Ukraine’s more than 40 million people, said Michael Clarke, former head of the British-based Royal United Services Institute, a defense think tank
That’s almost as many as Russia’s entire active-duty military of 900,000, and it means controlling substantial Ukrainian territory long term could take more resources than Russia can commit, he said.
“Unless the Russians intend to be completely genocidal — they could flatten all the major cities, and Ukrainians will rise up against Russian occupation — there will be just constant guerrilla war,” said Clarke.