LVIV, March 2 (Reuters) – The Ukrainian port city of Mariupol is suffering mass casualties and a water outage as it defends itself from a nonstop onslaught by Russian forces, Mayor Vadym Boichenko said in a live broadcast on Ukrainian TV on Wednesday.
“The enemy occupying forces of the Russian Federation have done everything to block the exit of civilians from the city of half a million people,” he said.
He did not provide an exact casualty figure.
- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday that he believed the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin towards Ukraine already qualified as a war crime.
“What we have seen already from Vladimir Putin’s regime in the use of the munitions that they have already been dropping on innocent civilians … in my view already fully qualifies as a war crime,” Johnson told parliament.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said law firms working to stop Russian oligarchs from being hit by government sanctions could face penalties themselves.
“The legal profession, everybody involved in assisting in those who wish to hide money in London and assisting corrupt oligarchs have been set on notice that their actions are under scrutiny,” Johnson told parliament.
“If they break the law, if they undermine the interests of this country and advance the interests of Putin’s war machine, they will pay a price.”
- Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on Wednesday the country was set to receive Stinger and Javelin missiles from abroad, as well as another shipment of Turkish drones.
Several Western countries have pledged to supply Ukraine with weapons to fend off a Russian invasion.
- An adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Wednesday Russia had not captured Kherson and that there was street fighting going on in the southern port, which sits at the Dnepr river’s exit into the Black Sea. “The city has not fallen, our side continues to defend,” said the adviser, Oleksiy Arestovych
- Russia is gathering troops closer and closer to Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital’s mayor Vitali Klitschko wrote in an online post on Wednesday.
“We are preparing and will defend Kyiv!,” he added. “Kyiv stands and will stand.”
- Ukrainian deputy defence minister Hanna Malyar said on Wednesday authorities were looking into information about possible Russian rocket or artillery fire on the airport of Ukraine’s Black Sea port city of Odessa.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Wednesday nearly 6,000 Russians had been killed in the first six days of Moscow’s invasion, and that the Kremlin would not be able to take his country with bombs and air strikes.
Referring to Russia’s attack on Babyn Yar – the site of a World War Two massacre of Jews by German occupation troops and Ukrainian auxiliaries – Zelenskiy said: “This strike proves that for many people in Russia our Kyiv is absolutely foreign.”
“They don’t know a thing about Kyiv, about our history. But they all have orders to erase our history, erase our country, erase us all,” he added in the address made on video.
- Mariupol city council said on Wednesday their southern city was under Ukrainian control but locked in battles with Russian troops.
The council said on social media that Russian attackers were shelling civilian sites, including residential blocks, hospitals and dormitories for people displaced by fighting.
Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak told Reuters on Wednesday that holding more talks with Russia was under discussion and that a “substantial agenda” was needed.
Asked about the date for a second round of talks since Russia invaded its neighbour last week, Podolyak said: “It’s under discussion for now. A substantial agenda is needed.”
Photo – Sand bags reinforce the windows of the Kiev City Hall in Kiev (Kyiv), Ukraine. EPA-EFE/ZURAB KURTSIKIDZE