Ukraine authorities confirm loss of Kherson city to Russian forces

Talks to resume as Russian strikes widen in western Ukraine

Mar 3, 2022: According to a report by AFP, Ukraine on Thursday confirmed the loss of Kherson – the first major Ukrainian city to fall in a devastating week-old war – a day after Russian forces claimed to seize the city, with a further breakout of the attacking forces anticipated in the south of the country.

Russian troops were in “all parts” of Kherson, Ukrainian regional official Gennady Lakhuta conceded late on Wednesday. The capture comes as a significant win for Russia ahead of ceasefire talks on Thursday. The  victory in Kherson comes one week after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s army marched into Ukraine from the north, east and south, training a vast arsenal of weaponry at Ukrainian cities.

Following a three-day siege that left Kherson short of food and medicine, and struggling to collect and bury the bodies of the fallen, the town’s mayor also announced that he would speak to “armed guests.”

He made “no promises” to Russian forces but agreed to a night curfew and restrictions on traffic. Russia continues to make significant advances on the southern front, troops are entering Kherson – opening the way to the west and north – and besieging the strategically important port city of Mariupol.

There, Mayor Vadim Boychenko reported hours of bombardment that trapped citizens in a city that no longer has light, water or heat because the temperature is hovering around freezing.

Since the invasion started, Russian forces have periodically bombed civilian targets across the country, including the capital Kyiv and other Russian-speaking cities of Kharkiv, which are now under increasing attack. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called the barrage of missiles, shells and rockets a “war crime” and the International Criminal Court has confirmed that an investigation is under way.

Amid the violence that has rekindled memories of Europe’s bloody past, one million Ukrainians fled cross the border in neighboring Poland, Slovakia, Moldova, Hungary and Romania, according to the UN refugee agency.

The Russian Defense Ministry aknowledged on Wednesday for the first time that 498 soldiers had “died in the line of duty”.

Yesterday, the UNGA issued another powerful rebuke, overwhelmingly backing a resolution demanding Russia “immediately” withdraw from Ukraine. The vote was 141-5 against Russia with Moscow winning the support of only four other nations — Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea and Syria. Its allies China and Cuba abstained.

Ukraine is sending a delegation for ceasefire talks Thursday at an undisclosed location on the Belarus-Poland border, but has warned it will not accept an “ultimatum.”

Western nations have already imposed heavy sanctions on Russia’s economy, and there have been international sanctions and boycotts against Russia in everything from finance to tech, sports to the arts. EU and NATO members have already sent arms and ammunition to Ukraine, although they have made it clear they will not send troops, and the EU has dashed Zelenskyy’s hopes of joining the bloc.

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