A bombing destroys a maternity hospital in Mariupol
Yesterday a scene summed up the fourteen days of war: with the city’s morgues full, the social services of the besieged port city of Mariupol, on the coast of the Sea of Azov, dug a large mass grave to bury – without names – the dead.
Thousands of Ukrainians and Russians with names and surnames, now dead, would still be alive if Vladimir Putin had not invaded Ukraine.
Two weeks after its brutal invasion of Ukraine, Russia has made less progress and suffered more than it imagined in Europe’s largest ground confrontation since World War II.
But the Russian army, with more than 150,000 soldiers fighting, is much more powerful than the Ukrainian one – according to the Pentagon, it retains 90% of the combat power with which it began the invasion – and remains relentless against key cities.
From the north, the Russian army continues to bring its tanks closer to Kyiv. From the south, he continues to besiege Mariupol (to control the entire eastern coast) and bombard Mikolaiev (to open the way to Odessa and take over the western coast).
In Mariupol, an airstrike hit a children’s hospital and a maternity hospital yesterday, injuring at least 17 adults. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of the bombing. No hospital facility in Ukraine “should ever be a target for projectiles,” UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarri denounced.
As in Kyiv, Mariúpol or Mikolaiev, the other cities besieged by the Russian army tried as best they could to evacuate civilians between bombings and uncertain humanitarian corridors.
On the atomic front, the war has cut power to the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear power plant, though the UN has said the lack of power has “no critical impact on safety.”
The Kremlin, after insistently denying it, officially admitted yesterday that conscripts had participated in the invasion of Ukraine.
The UN calculates that, in these two weeks, some 2,150,000 people have already fled Ukraine, about to exceed the 2,400,000 displaced that the Yugoslav wars caused for a whole decade.
Russian tanks are approaching Kyiv and the siege and bombardment of large cities continues
The number of victims rises like the western stock markets rose yesterday, spurred on by timid declarations by Russians and Ukrainians about the need to negotiate. But the stock market, like geopolitics today, changes every second.
Thousands and thousands of Ukrainians will continue to be bombed and will continue to flee while the heads of Russian diplomacy, Sergey Lavrov, and Ukrainian diplomacy, Dmytro Kuleba, meet today in a Turkish spa to talk about how to stop this, the first meeting at this level since The war started. The Russians have already made it clear that they are not going to make any concessions at the meeting.
The atmosphere of the meeting will not be friendly. The Ukrainian foreign minister has described his Russian counterpart as “contemporary Ribbentrop”, named after Adolf Hitler’s foreign minister at the outbreak of World War II.
In the Turkish resort, the two ministers will also meet with the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Because this is a war between nuclear power plants.
And, on the diplomatic carpets, more iron masses and more corpses. The Ukrainians assured yesterday that since the beginning of the war 67 children have died. The Russians claimed that since the beginning of the “special military operation” – as they call the war – they have destroyed 89 Ukrainian planes and 57 helicopters.
The number of dead that are buried without names that identify them in mass graves throughout Ukraine is not so precise.
In Mariupol, its mayor said yesterday, the Russian offensive has claimed the lives of 1,300 of its citizens. “We will fight for each one of them,” he said.
Pessimism before the meeting, today in Turkey, of the heads of diplomacy of Russia and Ukraine
On Tuesday, in the common grave opened in one of its cemeteries, forty bodies were buried and yesterday, thirty.
They are the corpses of soldiers killed in combat, civilians killed by Russian artillery or people who die of natural causes or diseases that the war ends up aggravating.
War often attends these funerals. On Tuesday, a bombardment interrupted the mass burial and damaged a fence in the cemetery.
After the projectiles, the funeral ended as it began: without the presence of any family member, any friend.