Published on 06 March 2022 at 12:26, updated at 18:30 – Image: Twitter
The Russian army attacked the strategic port of Mariupol again on Saturday and advanced elsewhere in Ukraine, with heavy fighting still going on around Kiev and thousands of civilians fleeing the shelling, as Vladimir Putin issued warnings.
The Ukrainian general staff in a statement on Facebook reported “heavy fighting” against Russian forces for control of the towns of Mykolayev in the south and Chernigury in the north, it said. A Ukrainian military operation was also underway in the Donetsk region.
Mariupol: the evacuation of civilians due to take place on 6 March has been halted.
The strategic port of Mariupol, under siege, continues to resist Russian forces.
“Amid devastating scenes of human suffering in Mariupol, a second attempt today to begin evacuating some 200,000 people from the city has been halted,” the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said in a statement.
“The main efforts are focused on the city of Mariupol,” the military said. The mayor, Vadim Boichenko, had confirmed that a humanitarian evacuation would take place today at noon. He spoke of a “humanitarian blockade”. “We have been living without electricity for five days, we have no heating or mobile phone network,” he said on You Tube.
During the night of Saturday to Sunday, the capital has suffered little bombing, but Russian soldiers are approaching Kiev, while meeting a tenacious resistance. Intense fighting is taking place on its outskirts, according to the Ukrainian regional administration, especially around the road leading to Jytomyr (150 km west of Kiev), “the hottest spot”.
In the vicinity of Kiev, thousands of inhabitants are fleeing the hostilities, the shelling is intense and makes us fear the worst.
On Saturday, Vladimir Putin made new statements threatening anyone who imposes an exclusion zone in Ukrainian skies.
At 4am this morning, President russe threatened to deprive Ukraine of its “statehood” while comparing the international sanctions against Russia to a “declaration of war”.
The Ukrainian authorities “must understand that if they continue to do what they are doing, they are putting the future of Ukrainian statehood in question. And if that happens, they will be fully responsible,” he said on Saturday.
Erdogan offers to host talks
Erdogan will also call for “leadership-level” talks between Russia and Ukraine that could take place in Turkey, the spokesman said.
French president to hold talks with Putin again
Emmanuel Macron “is getting ready to have President Putin on the phone,” the French presidency said on Sunday, without giving further details.