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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Russian forces deport thousands against their will from besieged Mariupol

Many Ukrainians who were displaced from Horenka have been living in the basement of a kindergarten in Kyiv for several weeks.

By Marc Santora and Valerie Hopkins

Firing rockets and bombs from the land, air and sea, Russian forces continued to bombard the besieged coastal city of Mariupol on Sunday and were also deporting thousands of residents to Russia against their will, according to city officials and witnesses.

With the Russian advance on Ukraine’s major cities stalled and satellite imagery showing soldiers digging into defensive positions around Kyiv, the fierce fighting in the coastal city showed no signs of easing. The bombing of a theater where an estimated 1,300 people were seeking refuge Thursday was followed Sunday, according to local officials, by a strike on a drama school where 400 people were hiding.

The city is largely cut off from the outside world, and, as in scores of other towns and villages across Ukraine’s eastern and southern fronts, the extent of the toll on civilians is hard to estimate. Ukrainian officials said Sunday that an attack on a home for the elderly March 11 in a town called Kreminna in the Luhansk region had killed 56 people.

“They just adjusted the tank, put it in front of the house and started firing,” the head of Luhansk Regional State Administration, Serhiy Haidai, said Sunday.

Here are the latest developments:

— The war across much of Ukraine has reached a stalemate after more than three weeks of fighting, with Russia making only marginal gains and increasingly targeting civilians, analysts and U.S. officials said.

— Russia is using long-range missiles to devastating effect, even as its ground advance on key targets remains stalled (see story on page 13). On Sunday, Russia said it had used advanced long-range missiles to hit three military facilities in different parts of Ukraine.

— At least 40 marines died in a Russian airstrike on barracks in the southern city of Mykolaiv.

— Dozens of workers trapped for more than three weeks at the crippled Chernobyl nuclear power plant after it became a military objective have been rotated out, officials said Sunday.

— “Our people are now wandering in the world, seeking security, as you once did,” Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, told Israeli lawmakers, calling on them for more support.

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