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Ukraine Russia war live updates: Ukraine recaptures city, kills Putin’s commanders

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Ukranian officials have vowed to “fight to the death” in order to protect Kyiv, as Russia ramps up its attacks against major cities.

A third round of tentative peace talks between Russia and Ukraine have failed to reach a ceasefire deal that would allow Ukrainian citizens to safely evacuate besieged cities.

Kyiv said there has been “positive results” from Monday’s negotiations, but the Kremlin said its expectation for the talks were “not fulfilled”.

Russia has now put forward four demands in order to end the brutal invasion, including having Ukraine recognise Crimea as Russian and Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states.

The invasion, now into its 12th day, has seen more than 1.5 million people flee Ukraine, with hundreds killed and thousands wounded.

Read on for the latest updates.

‘Fight to the death’: Russia steps up attack

Ukrainian officials have claimed Russia is ramping up its attack of several major cities, including Kyiv.

Russian forces have reportedly launched hundreds of missiles and artillery attacks on residential areas of Chernihiv, north of Kyiv.

Mykolaiv is also being shelled, with Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovich saying Ukrainian forces were also defending the port city of Odesa from invading ships.

Russian forces are still pushing their way forward to Kyiv, with soldiers and citizens alike setting up hundreds of checkpoints in a bid to protect the city.

“Every house, every street, every checkpoint, we will fight to the death if necessary,” Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.

Ukraine kills another top Russian commander

Ukraine has claimed responsibility for the death of another high-ranking Russian army official.

The Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine claims Major General Vitaliy Gerasimova was “eliminated” in a battle near Kharkiv.

“A number of senior officers of the Russian army were also killed and wounded,” Ukrainian officials said.

“Vitaliy Gerasimov participated in the Second Chechen War and Russian military operation in Syria.”

Chernobyl workers trapped inside nuclear plant

More than 100 workers at Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear power plant have been trapped there for more than 12 days after Russian forces stormed the site.

Russian troops took Chernobyl – the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986 – on February 24.

A further 200 Ukrainian guards who were in charge of security at the time of the attack are also trapped.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said communicating with workers was only possible through emails at the moment, after Russian forces switched off some mobile networks.

Staff are reportedly unable to rotate, with IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi I stressing “the importance of operating staff being able to rest to carry out their important jobs safely and securely”.

There are ongoing concerns for the welfare of the workers, with the BBC reporting staff have been limiting themselves to one meal per day as they don’t know how long they will be trapped.

The site is also not set up for sleeping, with temporary dormitories created, including makeshift beds on tables and the floor.

“Some of the workers require medication which is limited at the plant, and that adds extra worries for the relatives,” Yuri Fomichev, Mayor of Slavutych, told the BBC.

“We have to tell them that there is currently no safe way of getting the workers out of there.”

Mr Fomichev said the situation is “complicated and tense”.

Putin’s plan to ‘destroy and terrorise Ukraine’

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield has offered a grim warning about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plan for the Ukraine invasion.

“It’s clear Mr. Putin has a plan to destroy and terrorise Ukraine,” she said at a UN Security Council meeting.

Ms Thomas-Greenfield added that the US was “concerned” and the “world needs to be prepared for a very long and very difficult road ahead”.

“If the last two weeks have shown us anything, it’s that the Ukrainian people are not going to give up. And many Russian people themselves, including many Russian soldiers, do not want this war,” she said.

“Putin is clearly willing to sacrifice the lives of thousands of Russian soldiers to achieve his personal ambitions.”

Russian soldiers killed as city recaptured

Ukrainian forces have taken back the city of Chuhuiv, with defence officials saying Russia suffered “heavy losses in the battle”, including the deaths of two high ranking officials.

“The Defence Forces continues to conduct a defence operation in the South, East and North. In the course of hostilities, the city of Chuhuiv was liberated. The occupiers suffered heavy losses in personnel and equipment,” Lieutenant General Serhiy Shaptala said.

“Lieutenant Colonel Dmitry Safronov, Commander of the 61st Separate Marine Brigade of the Russian Armed Forces, and Lieutenant Colonel Denis Glebov, Deputy Commander of the 11th Separate Airborne Assault Brigade of the Russian Armed Forces, were killed.

“Let’s win together! Let’s keep the system! Glory to Ukraine!”

Chuhuiv is a small city 30,000 people, located about 35km southeast of Kharkiv.

It was one of the first cities to be taken by Russia when troops invaded Ukraine on February 24.

A week ago, a young boy was killed in the city after heavy shelling struck an apartment block.

Putin adds Australia to Russia’s hit list

Russian President Vladimir Putin has put Australia on a hit-list of countries taking “unfriendly actions against Russia”, allowing creditors to repay any debts “in roubles.”

Hitting back over punitive economic sanctions announced by western nations in protest against Russia’s bloody invasion of Ukraine, officials have drawn up their own list of countries they plan to sanction.

According to a decree published on the government’s website overnight, the list includes Australia, Albania, Andorra, Great Britain, including Jersey, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Gibraltar, EU member states, Iceland, Canada, Liechtenstein, Micronesia, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, San Marino, North Macedonia, Singapore, US, Taiwan, Ukraine, Montenegro, Switzerland, and Japan.

All of the countries on the list have applied tough financial sanctions on Russia that sent the Russian stock market and the rouble plunging in value.

The rules mean Russian citizens and companies, and even the state itself, that have foreign exchange obligations to foreign creditors that are on the list will be able to pay them in roubles.

– Samantha Maiden

‘Catastrophic consequences’: Warning amid oil ban talks

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak warned Monday that a ban on Russian oil imports would have “catastrophic” consequences, as Western allies consider further sanctions on Moscow over Ukraine.

“A ban on Russian oil will lead to catastrophic consequences for the global market. The surge in prices will be unpredictable more than $300 per barrel, if not more,” Novak said in remarks carried by Russian news agencies.

Novak added that it would be “impossible” to quickly replace Russian oil on the European market.

“It will take more than one year and it will be much more expensive for European consumers,” he said.

“European politicians should then honestly warn their citizens, consumers what awaits them and that prices at gas stations, for electricity, for heating will skyrocket,” he said.

Novak said talks of an embargo on Russian oil creates “instability and leads to significant harm for consumers”.

All of the countries on the list have applied tough financial sanctions on Russia that sent the Russian stock market and the rouble plunging in value.

Russia’s four demands to stop invasion

The Kremlin has demanded that Ukraine recognise Crimea as Russian and Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states if the invasion is to end.

Ahead of peace talks, a spokesman for the Russian government outlined what Vladimir Putin wants from the invasion.

A Kremlin spokesman called for Ukraine to cease military action, change its constitution to become a neutral country, acknowledge Crimea as Russian territory and recognise the separatist republics of Luhansk and Donetsk.

Dmitry Peskov told Reuters that Russia had told Ukraine it was ready to halt its military action “in a moment” if Kyiv met its conditions.

And he insisted Russia wasn’t seeking any further territorial claims in Ukraine.

“We really are finishing the demilitarisation of Ukraine,” he said. “We will finish it. But the main thing is that Ukraine ceases its military action.

“They should stop their military action and then no one will shoot. They should make amendments to their constitution according to which Ukraine would reject any aims to enter any bloc.

“We have also spoken about how they should recognise that Crimea is Russian territory and that they need to recognise that Donetsk and Luhansk are independent states. And that’s it. It will stop in a moment.”

‘Hand-to-hand combat’: Street battles rage on Kyiv’s edge

Ukrainian servicemen and fleeing residents described ferocious fighting on Kyiv’s northwestern edge Monday that could soon spread to the besieged capital.

“There is real street fighting now,” a Ukrainian paratrooper lieutenant who agreed to be identified as Stas told AFP in the flashpoint town of Irpin.

Bursts of automatic gunfire and blasts of exploding shells rang out as he spoke on the 12th day of the Russian invasion.

“In some places, there is hand-to-hand combat,” said Stas.

“There is a huge column, 200 men, 50 light armoured vehicles, several tanks,” he said of the Russian threat.

“We are trying to push them out, but I don’t know if we’ll be fully able to do it. The situation is very unstable.”

The industrial town of Irpin represents the outgunned Ukrainian forces’ last point of resistance against the Russian assault on Kyiv.

The Russian offensive began with missile strikes and a paratrooper deployment in Kyiv’s more distant suburb of Gostomel on February 24.

Ukrainian soldiers beat back the initial push and destroyed some of the first Russian armoured vehicles.

But the Russians sent in reinforcements from Belarus that reached the outer reaches of suburban Kyiv at the start of last week, with the offensive has been gaining momentum ever since.

– with AFP



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