Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues as negotiations yield limited progress. Video / AP
Ukraine has accused Moscow of forcibly removing thousands of civilians from the ruined port city of Mariupol to Russia so that they can be used as “hostages” to put pressure on Kyiv to refuse.
Meanwhile, a month after the invasion, both sides dealt heavy blows in a devastating war of attrition. The Ukrainian Navy said it had sunk a large landing craft near the port of Berdyansk, which was used to supply Russian forces with armored vehicles.
Russia has said it has captured the eastern city of Izyum after fierce fighting.
At a NATO emergency summit in Brussels, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked Western allies about planes, tanks, missiles, air defense systems and other weapons, saying his country was “defending our common values.”
US President Joe Biden, who is in Europe at a number of summits, assured that more help is on the way.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the leaders of the alliance agreed to send equipment to protect Ukraine from chemical attacks. In the vicinity of the capital, Kyiv and other regions, Ukrainian defenders seem to have fought Moscow’s ground forces to a standstill, raising fears that frustrated Russian President Vladimir Putin will use chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine accused that Russian forces against their will took 6,000 residents of Mariupol to the camp. The Russian military is confiscating identity documents from an additional 15,000 people in the Russian-controlled area of Mariupol, the ministry said.
Ukrainian military intelligence has reported that Ukrainian civilians are being sent through camps in Russian-controlled territory and then through Russia’s southern regions to economically depressed areas of the country.
Ukrainian intelligence has said some may be sent as far as Sakhalin Island in the Pacific, and they are being offered jobs provided they do not leave for two years. An independent verification of the claims failed. Russia has said it is evacuating thousands of civilians of its own accord.
The photo and video after the sea attack in Berdyansk show fire and thick clouds of smoke. Earlier this week, Russian television reported that the Orsk, which was sunk by Ukrainians, was the first Russian warship to enter Berdyansk. The report said the port was used to deliver military equipment to the Russians.
Ukraine said two more ships were damaged and a 3,000-ton fuel tank was destroyed when the Orsk was sunk, leading to a fire that spilled over into nearby ammunition stockpiles.
By sending a signal that Western sanctions have not brought it to its knees, Russia has reopened the stock market but allowed only limited trade to prevent mass sales. Foreigners were forbidden to sell, and traders – short selling, otherwise prices will fall.
Millions of people in Ukraine have left the country, some have reached the border trying to stay and cope.
At the central station in the western city of Lviv, a teenage girl was standing in the doorway of a waiting train, with a white domestic rabbit in her arms trembling. She went to her mother and then to Poland or Germany. She rode alone, leaving other family members in the Dnieper.
“At first I didn’t want to leave,” she said. – Now I am afraid for my life. – AP