Here are the latest developments in Ukraine
By Marc Santora and Shanshank Bengali
Frantic efforts to rescue civilians from the worsening violence in Ukraine came under direct attack by Russian forces Sunday as at least three people were killed in shelling outside Kyiv. Russian forces were struggling to advance on multiple fronts. The Ukrainian military said it was successfully defending its position in fierce fighting north of Kyiv, the capital, and holding back Russians from the east, where President Vladimir Putin’s forces bogged down in clashes around an airport. Here are the latest developments:
— A planned evacuation of Mariupol — a port city of a half-million people that has become a key battleground in Russia’s objective to capture Ukraine’s entire southern coast — was halted for a second consecutive day amid “intense shelling” by Russian forces that have encircled the city, the mayor’s office said. Residents are facing increasingly dire conditions in the city, which has been cut off from food, heat and electricity for days.
— A Russian force advancing on Kyiv fired mortar shells at a battered bridge used by people fleeing the fighting, killing at least three members of a family.
— Amid anti-war rallies across Russia, police said more than 3,000 people were arrested, the highest nationwide total in any single day of protest in recent memory. An activist group that tracks arrests, OVD-Info, reported detentions in 49 Russian cities.
— Hundreds of thousands of homes across eastern and southern Ukraine had their gas turned off Sunday as the areas faced heavy fighting, according to Ukraine’s Gas Transmission System Operator. Natural gas is the primary way many homes are heated and is used for cooking.
— The United Nations refugee agency said that 1.5 million people had fled Ukraine in the 10 days since Russia’s invasion began, making it the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.
— Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy repeated his calls for NATO to enforce a no-fly zone over his country to stop Russia’s aerial attack, saying, “It’s easy when you have the will.” NATO has been unwilling to take such a step, fearful of triggering a wider war with Russia. On Saturday, Putin said that any third-party countries that tried to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine would be considered enemy combatants.