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Russia targets urban areas; Biden vows Putin will ‘pay the price’

By JIM HEINTZ, YURAS KARMANAU, VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV and DASHA LITVINOVA

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) – Most of the world lined up against Moscow at the United Nations on Wednesday to demand its withdrawal from Ukraine, as Russian aggression forces continued to bombard the second-largest city. of the country, seizing the capital and strategically laying siege to its gates.

Russia reported military casualties for the first time since the invasion began last week, saying nearly 500 of its soldiers had been killed and nearly 1,600 wounded. Ukraine insisted the Russian losses were much higher but did not immediately disclose it.

Envoys from Ukraine and Russia are expected to meet on Thursday in Belarus for a second round of talks aimed at ending the fighting. But there seems to be little in common between the two.

Seven days after Russia’s invasion, the UN says more than 870,000 people have left Ukraine amid a growing refugee crisis in mainland Europe, while the head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog warns that the fighting could jeopardize Ukraine’s 15 nuclear reactors.

Rafael Grossi of the International Atomic Energy Agency noted that the war was “the first time a military conflict has occurred in the context of the facilities of a large, established nuclear power program” and he said he was “very concerned”.

“When there is a conflict going on, of course there is the risk of being attacked or the possibility of being hit by a bullet,” he said. Russia has taken control of the decommissioned Chernobyl power plant, the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986.

In New York, the United Nations General Assembly voted to demand that Russia halt the attack and withdraw all troops immediately, with world powers and small island nations condemning Moscow. The number of votes was 141 to 5, with 35 abstentions.

Council resolutions are not legally binding but can reflect and influence world opinion.

The vote came after the 193-member council convened its first emergency session since 1997. Countries that voiced support for Russia include Belarus, Cuba, North Korea and Syria.

United Nations Ambassador to Ukraine Sergiy Kyslytsya said Russian forces “have come to Ukrainian soil, not only to kill some of us… they also take away Ukraine’s right to exist”. He added: “The crime is so barbaric that it is difficult to fully understand.”

Meanwhile, Russia attacked Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city with about 1.5 million inhabitants, in a wave of aerial attacks aimed at destroying buildings and lighting up the skyline with fireballs. . Oleg Sinehubov, head of Kharkiv regional government, said at least 21 people were killed and 112 injured in the past day.

Several Russian planes were shot down over Kharkiv, according to Oleksiy Arestovich, a top adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“Today’s Kharkiv is the Stalingrad of the 21st century,” Arestovich said, referring to what is considered one of the most heroic periods in Russian history, the five-month defense of the city from Nazi Germany during the Second World War. second war.

From his basement bunker, Kharkiv Mayor Igor Terekhov told the BBC: “The city is united and we will stand.”

The Russian attacks, multiple rocket attacks, blew off the roof of a five-story regional police building in Kharkiv and set the top floor on fire, while also hitting the intelligence headquarters and a building university, according to officials and videos and photos released by Ukraine’s Emergency Intelligence Service. Officials said residential buildings were also affected, but did not give details.

Ukraine is under threat on other fronts, too: A massive 40-mile column of Russian tanks and other military vehicles stands outside the capital, Kyiv, and Russian invaders storm port cities. Kherson and Mariupol strategy.

The armored column appeared to have stalled about 25 kilometers (16 miles) from Kyiv and had made no real progress over the past few days, a senior US defense official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The official said it had fallen short of fuel and food, and faced fierce resistance from Ukrainians.

Ukraine’s emergency services reported that more than 2,000 civilians were killed. That cannot be independently verified.

The spokesman for the Russian Ministry of Defense, Major General Igor Konashenkov, gave the casualty figures of his side’s troops, saying that the “misinformation” report of the casualties was much higher. The Ukrainian leader announced that nearly 6,000 Russian soldiers had been killed.

Konashenkov also said more than 2,870 Ukrainian soldiers were killed and about 3,700 wounded, while more than 570 were captured.

Russia increased its rhetoric. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reminded the world of the country’s huge nuclear arsenal when he said in an interview with Al-Jazeera that “a third world war can only be nuclear”.

UNIAN Ukraine news agency quoted health agency chief Serhiy Pivovar as saying that in the city of Chernihiv, two cruise missiles hit a hospital.

At besieged Mariupol, at least one teenager was killed and two others wounded by apparent Russian shelling. The boys’ families told the Associated Press the attack happened while they were playing soccer near a school.

The British Ministry of Defense said Kharkiv and Mariupol were surrounded. Kherson is also under pressure, but there are conflicting reports about who is in control.

Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko said the attacks there were non-stop.

“We can’t even get the wounded out of the streets, from houses and apartments today, because the shelling has not stopped,” he was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying.

In the remote regions of Kyiv, volunteer fighters in their 60s manned a checkpoint to block the Russian advance.

Andrey Goncharuk, 68, says: “In my old age, I had to carry a weapon.

On Tuesday, Russia stepped up attacks on cities, bombing Kharkiv’s central square – where at least six people are believed to have been killed – and hitting Kyiv’s main TV tower, where activists are located. Authorities say five people have died. Kyiv’s nearby Babi Yar Holocaust memorial also caught fire, but the main memorial was undamaged.

The announced talks have stoked hope, although it remains unclear what they can deliver. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that Russia’s demand had not changed and that he would not accept any ultimatum.

In other developments:

– Oil prices continued to soar, reaching $112 per barrel, the highest since 2014.

– Russia is even economically isolated when Airbus and Boeing said they would cut spare parts and technical support for the country’s airlines, a blow. Jets from Airbus and Boeing make up the bulk of Russia’s passenger fleet or fleet.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov acknowledged global economic sanctions were unprecedented but said Moscow was prepared for any form of sanctions.

“We have experience with this. We’ve been through some crises,” he said.

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Isachenkov and Litvinova reported from Moscow; Karmanau reports from Lviv, Ukraine. Edith M. Lederer and Jennifer Peltz at the United Nations; Mstyslav Chernov in Mariupol, Ukraine; Sergei Grits in Odesa, Ukraine; Robert Burns and Eric Tucker in Washington; Francesca Ebel, Josef Federman and Andrew Drake in Kyiv; and other AP journalists from around the world contributed to this report.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the Ukraine crisis at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

https://www.mercurynews.com/2022/03/02/most-of-the-world-lines-up-against-moscow-attacks-intensify/ Russia targets urban areas; Biden vows Putin will ‘pay the price’

Joel McCord

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