Day 11 of war in Ukraine: Mariupol under siege, civilians cannot get out. Russians open fire on the people trying to flee Irpin

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Russia continues the offensive in Ukraine, and the fighting continues in several areas. The port city of Mariupol has been completely surrounded and bombed for six days in a row. The port city of Mariupol is still under Russian blockade and has been without electricity, water and heat for five days. The attacks during the night in the north of the country resulted in casualties, according to the Ukrainian emergency services.

Russia and Ukraine had agreed to a partial ceasefire for the evacuation of civilians, which did not happen after the Russians continued to bomb. Putin went public again with threats against Western states not to interfere in the conflict, while on Saturday night, Volodymyr Zelensky had a new telephone conversation with Joe Biden, to whom he asked for more financial help to resist the Russian invasion.

Israeli PM kicked off a tour of mediation in the conflict.

 

After ten days of war, Russia is beginning to “realize the real cost of the war,” says a close adviser to the Ukrainian president, who says negotiations can be “constructive.”  Russia is said to have lost 11,000 troops and $ 3 billion in military equipment, the Ukrainian side says.

In retort, the Russian Defence Ministry says that “Russia’s armed forces continue to strike at Ukraine’s military infrastructure.”

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that an S-300 missile system controlled by the Ukrainian army was destroyed by Russian missiles. The Russian official also claimed that Russia had shot down 10 Ukrainian planes and helicopters in the last 24 hours.

Mariupol under siege, cut from electricity and water utilities

The mayor of the port city of Mariupol in southern Ukraine, Vadim Boichenko, said the city was facing a “humanitarian blockade” and lacked all utilities. The Russian military destroyed all 15 high-voltage lines in the city, which had been without electricity for five days, Boicenko told Ukraine TV on Saturday, according to DPA.

People are shivering in their apartments, as power plants run on electricity, he added. Mobile communications do not work without electricity either, Boicenko explained. The city also has no water. Boikenko accused the Russian side of acting “very methodically” to stop all supplies to the city and thus increase pressure. He also accused the Russian side of opening fire on buses that were to take civilians out of the city through a humanitarian corridor on Saturday. Of the 50 buses with full tanks, only 20 remained, Boicenko added.

Russian troops opened fire on civilians in Irpin, killing at least three people, including two children, according to Kyiv Independent.

The quoted source said that the occupants began firing, while people began to hide, including many children and the elderly.

People are trying to evacuate both on foot and by car. The occupiers shoot at civilian cars without mercy or indiscretion. The volunteers’ car was shot the day before, three people were killed.

 

Missile raids in Zhitomir, children saved from basements

Ukrainian emergency services have reported casualties following a Russian rocket blast that hit a residential area in the Zhitomir region, about 140 km west of Kyiv, writes The Guardian. About 15 houses were destroyed in the assault on the town of Ovruci in the Zhitomir region. In the town of Korosten, south of Ovruci, one person was killed and two others were injured in a rocket attack on Saturday night, according to Ukrainian authorities. Ten houses were destroyed and a building set on fire. Five children were rescued from the basement.

More cities under Russian attacks

The cities of Sumi and Lebedin in northeastern Ukraine continued to be under Russian attack on Saturday, Sumi regional administration chief Dmitro Zhivitsky said on his Telegram account. Russian planes destroyed a food depot, construction materials and a parking lot on Saturday, Jivitsky said, according to the dpa.

A power plant that also supplied electricity was destroyed on Friday. Russian forces are trying to take control of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv and the city of Kharkov, as well as other key territories throughout the country. The heating system is no longer operating in the entire city of Ohtîrka, located between the two cities, and in some places water and electricity have been shut down.

Ukraine is also negotiating the evacuation of civilians from the cities of Hostomel and Bukha near Kyiv, as these towns are constantly bombarded by Russian forces, said Aleksei Arestovich, an adviser to President Zelensky’s chief of staff.

Zelensky asks Biden for more financial aid

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced in the early hours of Sunday that he had spoken again on the phone with his US counterpart, Joe Biden, to discuss US financial support for Ukraine and sanctions against Russia.

As part of the constant dialogue, I had another conversation with@POTUS. The agenda included the issues of security, financial support for Ukraine and the continuation of sanctions against Russia,” says Zelensky in a Twitter post.

The White House also announced the talk.

“President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke this evening with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine. President Biden highlighted the ongoing actions undertaken by the United States, its Allies and partners, and private industry to raise the costs on Russia for its aggression in Ukraine. In particular, he welcomed the decision this evening by Visa and Mastercard to suspend service in Russia. President Biden noted his administration is surging security, humanitarian, and economic assistance to Ukraine and is working closely with Congress to secure additional funding. President Biden reiterated his concern about the recent Russian attack on a Ukrainian nuclear power plant, and he commended the skill and bravery of the Ukrainian operators who have kept the reactors in safe condition. The leaders also discussed the recent talks between Russia and Ukraine.”

However, Ukraine still insists to call for a no-fly zone. In a call with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Saturday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba asked for more ammunition.

“It’s no secret that the highest demand that we have is in fighting jets, attack aircrafts, and air defense systems. We thank all those countries, including the United States, who provided us the – with Stingers. We effectively use them, and just today we shot down three Russian attack aircrafts, which were bombing our cities, with the use of Stingers. But we need to, how to say, big air defense systems to ensure the safety of our skies. If we lose the skies, there will be much, much more blood on the ground, and that will be the blood of civilians. And I don’t want anyone to share responsibility for their blood, anyone in the world to share responsibility for their deaths and suffering.”

Asked by reporters if he still calling for a no-fly zone, Kulebo replied: “Yes, yes, and we will continue to call.  I understand – I hear the messages.  I heard was the NATO secretary general said yesterday after the meeting of the Allies.  I regret – I think it’s a sign of weakness by – of NATO.  We’ve been saying many things for the last eight years about Russia, about intentions.  We were never heard.  Everyone was saying you’re – many were saying: you’re exaggerating; this is not going to happen.  People were – then at certain points, some countries were saying: no, we can never supply you with weapons.  But in the last eight days, the world politics were shattered by the Russian aggression against Ukraine, and those countries who had never supplied us with weapons are now doing so.”

Poland might supply fighter jets to Ukraine

The United States is working with Poland on the possibility of supplying Russian-made fighter jets to Ukraine, and is consulting with other allies, a White House spokesman told CNN.

Sending fighter jets to Ukraine is a “sovereign decision that any country can make,” but there are a number of logistical issues that need to be addressed, including how the planes will be transferred from Poland to Ukraine, the spokesman said the White House spokesperson.

More protests in support for Ukraine in Europe

Besides the massive protests of Ukrainians in Ukraine against “the Russian invaders”, protests in support of the Ukrainians took place in other several cities in Europe this weekend, as well.

For instance, tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Prague to send a message of support to the Ukrainian people who have been defending themselves for 9 days against an invasion launched by Vladimir Putin. People gathered in Prague to express their support for Ukraine and President Volodymyr Zelensky, who was hailed in the Czech capital.

“President Zelensky now addressing anti-war protesters around the world: “Vilnius, Frankfurt, Tbilisi, Bratislava, Prague, Lyon, Paris — all of you today are Ukrainians, and thank you for this.”

Protests against Putin’s war in Ukraine are taking place in Almaty, Kazakhstan, The Economist correspondent posting on social media a series of photos of this morning’s demonstrations.

“Lenin decked out in blue and yellow at anti-war rally in Almaty #Kazakhstan – “no to bloody dictators” reads the placard #Russia #Ukraine“, says a Twitter post by journalist Joanna Lillis.

 

Extensive protests broke out in several cities in Kazakhstan in January after the government raised the price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) prices and the cost of this hugely popular alternative to gasoline rose. Russia sent so-called “peacekeeping troops”, the government has resigned and the revolt has been quelled.

Solidarity through Airbnb

A new gesture of solidarity with the Ukrainian people is beginning to take hold: foreigners are renting homes in Ukraine through Airbnb without any intention of staying in them, but only to send money to Ukrainians fleeing the war.

Irpin, a city near Kyiv heavily affected by fighting and bombing, has become one of the most popular accommodation sites on the Airbnb network, Fortune reports. Those who make reservations obviously have no intention of using those homes, but are just looking for a way to send cash quickly to the besieged country by Russian forces.

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