Twenty-one people were killed and 25 wounded Thursday after rockets hit the western Ukrainian city of Merefa as Russia’s bloody invasion lasted for four weeks.
Merefa Mayor Benjamin Sitau said the school and community center were destroyed in the attack. Ten survivors were seriously injured, the local prosecutor’s office said.
Merefa, a city of 20,000 people, is located about 20 miles south of Kharkiv and fell victim to its location near a vast regional gem that Russian military strikes have failed to defeat.
Kharkiv has become one of the saddest stories of the war, a city of museums and universities, home to 1.4 million people. Now it is slowly but surely being torn to pieces, as the Russian military has obviously stopped at all the targets that its missiles can achieve.
Similar storylines unfolded over most of the country. Rescue operations continued in the ruined southern city of Mariupol on Thursday after Russian airstrikes tore the theater apart. The building, which served as a makeshift shelter for hundreds of women and children, was bombed late Wednesday although the word “CHILDREN” was spelled out in giant letters around him.
“The building withstood the impact of a high-powered air bomb and protected the lives of people hiding in the bomb shelter,” Ukrainian Ombudsman Lyudmila Denisova said on Thursday. Ukrainian MP Sergei Taruta added on social media that “people are taking to the streets.” alive. “
The Kyiv Independent reports that at least 130 survivors have been pulled from the rubble. Rescue operations continued.
“Our hearts are broken by what Russia is doing to our people, to our Mariupol,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
RETURNED TO A FRIEND:Heart images explore the destroyed residential areas of Ukraine
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova denied the blast and said the military was “not bombing cities”.
But adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Vadim Denisenko said that 90% of Mariupol was destroyed or damaged, and almost no buildings remained intact. Most of the 400,000 residents remain in the city, he said.
“Evacuation and rescue remain extremely difficult due to constant Russian shelling,” Denisenko said. “It’s not just a humanitarian catastrophe.”
In the northern city of Chernihiv, “colossal losses and destruction” brought heavy bombing by Russian artillery and air strikes, Governor Vyacheslav Chavus said on Thursday.
Chaus told Ukrainian television that the bodies of 53 people had been taken to the city morgue over the past 24 hours.
“The enemy continues systematic … airstrikes on the regional center, destroying civilian infrastructure,” Chavus said. post on Facebook. “We are incurring great losses.”
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►The city of Slavutych near Kyiv was completely isolated by Russian aggressors, cutting it off from supplies. The city is approaching a humanitarian catastrophe, the Kiev region government said.
►Europe will not try to send its first rover to Mars this year due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the European Space Agency confirmed on Thursday.
►The Ukrainian military says it has captured about a thousand Russian servicemen and an estimated 14,000 more have been killed in action.
►Former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko called on Europe to stop buying oil and gas from Russia: “You pay Putin $ 50 million every hour. Every hour. And this money is used to kill us Ukrainians. “
►Ukrainian military says it shot down 10 Russian planes and cruise missiles over the city,
►Six Western countries – the United States, Britain, France, Ireland, Norway and Albania – have requested an open meeting on Ukraine before the United Nations is expected to vote on Russia’s humanitarian resolution on Friday. that she does not mention it invasion of Ukraine.
WNBA star Britney Greener will remain in custody in Russia until May 19
WNBA star Britney Greener, detained at Moscow’s airport last month, will run until at least May 19, This was reported by the Russian state agency Tass. Greener was detained after Russian authorities said cartridges for vape electricians had been found in her luggage. They were found to contain cannabis oil, which could be punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison in Russia.
“The court granted the request of the investigation and extended the detention of US citizen Greener until May 19,” the statement said.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist, 31, has played basketball in Russia for the past seven years in the winter, earning more than $ 1 million per season, more than four times the WNBA’s salary. The WNBA season opens on May 6.
British assessment: the Russian push has largely stalled
The invasion of Ukraine has largely stopped, and Russian troops are suffering heavy losses and are unable to take control of major cities, according to a new assessment by British intelligence. The assessment reflects estimates made by U.S. defense officials in recent days. The UK’s defense ministry says Ukraine’s resistance remains “steady and well-coordinated” and the Ukrainian government controls most of the country.
“Russian forces have made minimal progress on land, at sea and in the air in recent days, and they continue to suffer heavy losses,” the statement said.
Putin says that the “special operation” in Ukraine is going well
In his speech on Russian television, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the “special operation” of his troops in Ukraine was going according to plan and that all goals would be achieved.
He repeated a number of false allegations of invasion, including conspiracy theory that Ukraine was developing weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear and biological weapons. He also said that by imposing sanctions, the West is trying to “cancel” Russia. The Russian economy must adapt to new realities, he said.
“The West thinks we will retreat,” Putin said in a translation from the Latvian media Meduza. “The West does not understand Russia.”
Saying goodbye to their families, Ukrainian men stood up for the fight
LVIV, Ukraine – As millions of Ukrainian women and children are moving west run away Russia’s war in their country is spreadingthe largely unspoken front line – open, full of burning psychological trauma – continues to expand across Ukraine: the men they leave behind.
Many women interviewed by USA TODAY were too overwhelmed with emotion to touch on the topic of leaving their husbands, but many Ukrainian men showed remarkable stoicism, speaking of the pain of family separation that has no predictable end. They consider it their duty to defend their country.
“My family understands that if we do not win this battle, future generations – maybe even the whole world – will not have a good life,” said Kotsa’s 37-year-old husband Igor, a developer who has become head of security. for the Lviv Center for Humanitarian Aid, which helps provide professional and civilian armed forces of Ukraine. Read more here.
– Kim Helmgaard and Jessica Kostelnyak
Biden calls Putin a “war criminal”
For the first time, President Joe Biden publicly called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “war criminal” on Wednesday for his continued attack on Ukraine, which killed hundreds of civilians.
“I think he is a war criminal,” Biden said in response to a reporter’s question after a speech at the White House on the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act.
Earlier on Wednesday, Biden has authorized an additional $ 800 million in military aid to Ukraine. He promised that the American people would be “steadfast in our support for the people of Ukraine in the face of Putin’s immoral, unethical attacks on civilians.”
“We are united in our disgust at Putin’s depraved offensive,” he said.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the president “spoke from the heart and spoke from what you saw on television, which is the barbaric actions of a brutal dictator through his invasion of a foreign country.”
The State Department has said it is considering Russia’s actions for possible war crimes, and the trial, according to Psaki, is ongoing.
Former Russian ambassador to Putin: he kills Ukrainians “indiscriminately”
Michael Anthony McFaul served on the U.S. National Security Council as Senior Director of Russia and Eurasia until President Barack Obama was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Russia. For five years, McFaul regularly sat in front of Russian President Vladimir Putin, trying to improve relations between the two superpowers.
As US ambassador to Russia, McFaul met regularly with Russian pro-democracy activists, much to the chagrin of Putin’s government. He is now on the Kremlin’s sanctions list against Russia. Today, McFaul works as a professor of international studies at Stanford University and is the director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.
On Tuesday, McFaul gave an exclusive interview to the Great Falls Tribune, part of the USA TODAY Network, in which he discussed Putin’s war in Ukraine, China’s role in the conflict, and commented on additional US measures. may accept opposition to the Russian invasion.
“It’s just shocking and horrible, traits that Putin has already crossed,” McFaul told the Tribune. He is deliberately terrorizing civilians. He is killing old people, women and children, young children, people in hospitals, people trying to give birth. This is a horrible way of waging war. He is not fighting Ukrainian soldiers, he is fighting the Ukrainian people. And he is killing them indiscriminately. ” Read more here.
– David Murray, Great Falls Tribune, USA TODAY
Contributed by: Associated Press