The Associated Press
The Russian invasion of Ukraine began its fourth week of fighting on Wednesday with Russian forces mostly encircling near major cities, bombarding the cities from afar, and wreaking destruction on civilians.
In the city of Mariupol, which is under siege, of Mariupol the city of Mariupol was hit by a Russian airstrike struck a theater in which thousands of residents were sheltered, Ukrainian officials said. They claimed how many people were killed from the attack of Wednesday was unclear since the entrance was obstructed by debris.
The strike occurred at the same time that Ukrainian Vice President, Volodymyr Zlenskyy cited 9/11 in an urgent plea at Congress U.S. Congress for more weapons to thwart the Russian attack. U.S. President Joe Biden declared an extra $800 million to Ukraine’s military, and claimed Russian President Vladimir Putin is a “war criminal.”
Putin was also adamant about any attempt by the West as well as his Russian opposition to create a “destruction of Russia,” in a sign of a broader attack on those opposed to the conflict.
He added that Russians “will always be able to distinguish true patriots from scum and traitors and will simply spit them out like a gnat that accidentally flew into their mouths.”
WHAT IS HAPPENING ON THE GROUND?
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the attack on the theater in Mariupol is a “horrendous war crime.” Satellite images were taken by Maxar space technology firm. Maxar space technology company revealed that the words “CHILDREN” were written in large white letters in Russian in the front and behind the theater.
Pavlo Kyrylenko, chief of the Donetsk regional administration, wrote in the Telegram late Wednesday evening that “several hundred” residents were staying within the Drama Theater when it was struck and that the theater’s entrance has been buried by rubble. The official stated that the airstrike also struck the Neptune swimming pool complex, which buried children and women.
The Russian Defense Ministry denied bombing any targets in Mariupol on Wednesday.
A fire started in an apartment block in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital. Kyiv on Thursday morning after it was struck by the remains of a destroyed Russian rocket, which killed the victim and injured three others according to emergency services.
The fighting continued in Kyiv’s suburbs and deprived thousands of people residents of hot water and clean air.
Russian forces also released the mayor of Melitopol as a trade for 9 conscripts who were captured according to a Ukrainian official told reporters on Wednesday. People living in the Russia-held Ukrainian city have demanded the exile of the mayor Ivan Fedorov, who Kyiv claims were detained by Russian forces in the last week.
The British Defense Ministry said Russia’s invasion “has largely stalled on all fronts” in the face of the fierce Ukrainian opposition. It added that Russian forces have achieved “minimal progress” on land air, sea, or land over the last few days, and have suffered massive losses.
The Ukrainian military is using low-cost Turkish drones to launch deadly attacks against the Russian intruders.
WHAT HAS THE AP DIRECTLY WITNESSED OR CONFIRMED?
In Mariupol, the people who were afraid of their own safety fought endless shelling to dump the remains of children into an unmarked grave. Local officials have recorded 2500 deaths during the battle, but a lot of bodies buried in rubble cannot be counted due to the nature of the attack.
The bodies lie on the streets. Family members are advised by workers to dispose of their deceased outside as it’s unsafe to have funerals.
In Kharkiv where doctors struggle to treat COVID-19 patients while the bombs explode out. Every day, sirens of air raids sound at local hospitals that are directing patients with the virus who are connected via ventilators or struggling with breathing in bomb shelters.
“Bombing takes place from morning into night,” hospital director Dr. Pavel Nartov said. “It could hit at any time.”
WHAT DETAILS HAVE EMERGED FROM NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN RUSSIA AND UKRAINE?
Zelenskyy’s advisor Mikhailo Podolyak has said that Ukraine is seeking a cease-fire, the withdrawal of Russian troops as well as legal security assurances for Ukraine from several nations. Ukrainian along with Russian delegations met again Wednesday, via video.
Another official from Zelenskyy’s office who spoke under the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the talks said the principal topic of discussion was the question of whether Russian troops would be able to remain in regions of separatism in the eastern region of Ukraine following the war, and what the boundaries will be.
In the days prior to the conflict, Russia recognized the independence of two Russia-backed separatists in 2014 and expanded the boundaries of these regions to include areas Ukraine has held including Mariupol.
HOW IS THE WORLD RESPONDING TO THE WAR?
Six Western nations have requested the U.N. Security Council meeting on Ukraine on Thursday. the United Kingdom’s U.N. Mission tweeted Wednesday that “Russia is guilty of violations of the law and targeting civilians. Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine poses a threat for all of us.”
The mission noted that it was requested by 6 Security Council members and posted their flags – they are the U.K., United States, France, Ireland, Norway, and Albania. It is not yet officially scheduled.
Zelenskyy admitted in his address before Congress U.S. Congress that the no-fly zone is not likely to happen. However, he stated that his U.S. must sanction Russian lawmakers and block imports, and provide military aid.
“We need you right now,” Zelenskyy stated in remarks broadcast live to the U.S. Capitol, which were followed by a graphic video that showed the horrific consequences of the invasion.
Biden has announced his announcement that the U.S. is sending an additional $800 million of military aid — which includes anti-aircraft and antiarmor weapons as well as drones to Ukraine in the total $2 billion in aid in support of Kyiv since Biden became president about a year ago.
Biden is also planning to travel across Europe next week to hold discussions with European leaders on the Russian invasion. Biden will also attend an unprecedented NATO Summit in Brussels. NATO has been strengthening the eastern part of its border with more troops and equipment to stop Russia from attacking one of its members.