Russian forces bomb a residential complex in Kiev and intensify their offensive in the west of the country
The siege against Kiev continues as fighting in western Ukraine intensifies.
On the 19th day since the beginning of the Russian invasion, the Ukrainian capital was hit by heavy artillery attacks after a weekend of heavy fighting in the city’s suburbs.
Ukrainian emergency services say a Russian airstrike hit an apartment block nine storey in the Obolon districtin the north of the city and 10 kilometers from the center.
According to authorities, at least one person died as a result of the attack and three others had to be taken to hospital. Another 9 were treated at the scene and 15 residents were saved from what happened.
The attack took place early Monday morning as Russian troops approached the capital.
Footage shows a building on fire as firefighters rush to rescue residents and remove them and their belongings.
“We left the apartment and saw that the staircase was no longer there, everything was on fire,” Maksim Korovii told the agency. Reutersdescribing how he and his mother initially went into hiding, thinking Russian forces were breaking down the door.
“We did not know what to do. So we ran out to the balcony. We managed to put on the clothes we had on hand and made our way from balcony to balcony and at the end we went down through the entrance of the next building. Now we are trying to get some of our stuff back with the help of the fire brigade.”
The capital’s government further reported that the Antonov aircraft plant had been bombed.
Russia denies targeting civilians and describes its actions as a “special operation” to demilitarize and “denazify” Ukraine. The West considers it a baseless pretext to invade the country.
Meanwhile, Ukraine and Russia began the fourth round of negotiations on Monday.
Ukraine said it had started “difficult” talks on a ceasefire, the immediate withdrawal of troops and security guaranteesad.
Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak posted a photo on Twitter and wrote: “Negotiations. Fourth round. On peace, ceasefire, immediate withdrawal of troops and security guarantees”.
He later said that the discussions had started but that they were complex, because the political systems of Russia and Ukraine were too different.
The parties actively express their specified positions. Communication is being held yet it’s hard. The reason for the discord is too different political systems. 🇺🇦 is a free dialogue within the society & an obligatory consensus. 🇷🇺 is an ultimatum suppression of its own society pic.twitter.com/O00fnCd1WP
— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) March 14, 2022
Previous rounds had focused mainly on ceasefires to bring aid to towns and cities besieged by Russian forces and evacuate civilians.
But those truces have so far failed.
In the region of Zhytomyrwest of Kiev, residents have faced massive daily shelling, killing civilians and leaving many homeless.
In the first two weeks of the invasion, the Russians launched more than 40 air and rocket attacks on the city of Zhytomyr itself and surrounding towns and villages.
The city, which had a population of about 280,000 before the war, is a key point in the logistics and humanitarian corridor to Kiev, Zhytomyr Mayor Serhiy Sukhomlyn tells the BBC.
Mairorpola port city in southern Urania, is suffering from “constant shelling, shelling and some street battles,” Deputy Mayor Serhiy Orlov told the BBC.
Thousands of civilians have been trapped there for almost two weeks, surrounded by Russian troops firing rockets and shells, which have destroyed many buildings. City officials say there is a desperate need for food, water, medicine and electricity.
“The humanitarian crisis and the genocide continue,” says Orlov.
The city is strategic because capturing it would allow Russia to join forces in Crimea and the eastern Donbas region, controlling the coast.
Ukraine says the number of civilians killed there has risen above 2,500, a figure the BBC has not been able to verify.
Kiev region governor Oleksiy Kuleba said frontline towns near the capital were being evacuated for a fifth day on Monday. “The ceasefire in our region is holding, although it is very conditional,” Kuleba said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said a clear goal of his negotiators, who spoke daily with the Russians, was “to do everything possible” to organize a meeting with Putin.
“We must hold on. We must to fight. And we will win,” Zelensky said in a video.
For his part, the Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, said that the attack on a Ukrainian military base near the border with Poland this past Sunday was aimed at “creating panic among the civilian population.”
Ukrainian authorities said eight Russian missiles hit the International Peacekeeping and Security Center (ISPC) located in the city of Yavoriv in the Lviv region, just 10 km away. from the border with Poland, a NATO member.
Authorities reported at least 35 dead and 134 wounded as a result of the attack.
Moscow confirmed that it had carried out the attacks. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, “up to 180 foreign mercenaries” were killed in this offensive and a large quantity of weapons supplied to Ukraine by other countries was destroyed.
- What is known about the strategic Ukrainian military base near Poland that was attacked by Russia
In the early days of the invasion, Russian forces entered Ukraine mainly from the east, north and south of the country. But the rise in attacks in the west, closer to NATO-controlled territory, is seen as a challenge to the West, with the United States in the lead.
US President Joe Biden assured that a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia could result in a Third World War; although he has repeatedly ruled out sending US troops for a direct confrontation with Russia.