Crisis deepens, Ukraine accuses Moscow of ‘medieval’ tactics – Press Enterprise


LVIV, Ukraine (AP) – The humanitarian crisis in Ukraine deepened on Monday as Russian forces intensified their shelling and food, water, heat and medicines became increasingly scarce in what the country condemned as a medieval-style siege by Moscow beating it into submission.

A third round of talks between the two sides ended with a senior Ukrainian official saying there had been minor, unspecified progress in establishing secure corridors that would allow civilians to escape the fighting. Russia’s chief negotiator said he expects those corridors to become operational on Tuesday.

But that remained to be seen given the failure of previous attempts to evacuate civilians in the largest ground war in Europe since World War II.

Well into the second week of the invasion, which saw Russian troops making significant progress in southern Ukraine but faltering in some other regions, a senior US official said several countries were debating whether to provide the fighter jets for which the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj has pleaded.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces continued to bombard cities with rockets, and fierce fighting raged in places.

In one of the most desperate cities, the encircled southern port of Mariupol, an estimated 200,000 people – nearly half of the 430,000 population – were hoping to flee, and Red Cross officials waited to hear when a corridor would be established.

There is a lack of water, food and electricity in the city, and cell phone networks are down. Shops were looted as residents searched for essential supplies.

Police marched through the city advising people to stay in temporary shelters until they heard official messages broadcast over loudspeakers to evacuate.

Hospitals in Mariupol are facing serious shortages of antibiotics and painkillers, and doctors performed some emergency procedures without them.

Due to the lack of phone service, concerned citizens reached out to strangers to ask if they knew relatives living in other parts of the city and if they were safe.

In the capital, Kyiv, soldiers and volunteers have built hundreds of checkpoints to protect the city of nearly 4 million, often using sandbags, stacked tires and barbed cables. Some barricades looked significant, with heavy concrete slabs and sandbags piled more than two stories high, while others looked more haphazard, with hundreds of books used to weigh down stacks of tires.

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

In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city with 1.4 million inhabitants, heavy shelling hit residential buildings.

“I think it hit the fourth floor below us,” Dmitry Sedorenko said from his hospital bed in Kharkiv. “Immediately everything started to burn and fall apart.” As the floor collapsed beneath him, he crawled through the third floor past the bodies of some of his neighbors.

Klitschko reported that fierce fighting continued in the Kyiv region, particularly around Bucha, Hostomel, Vorzel and Irpin.

In the Irpin area, which has been cut off from electricity, water and heating for three days, witnesses saw at least three tanks and said Russian soldiers had confiscated houses and cars.

A few miles away, in the small town of Horenka, where shells reduced an area to ash and broken glass, rescuers and local residents ransacked the ruins while chickens pecked around them.

“What do you do?” asked rescue worker Vasyl Oksak from the Russian attackers. “There were two small children and two elderly people living here. Come in and see what they did.”

In the south, Russian forces continued their offensive in Mykolayiv and, according to the Ukrainian military, opened fire on the Black Sea shipbuilding center containing half a million people. Rescuers said they were putting out fires caused by rocket attacks in residential areas.

In The Hague, Netherlands, Ukraine asked the International Court of Justice to halt the Russian invasion, saying Moscow was committing widespread war crimes.

Russia “is resorting to tactics reminiscent of medieval siege warfare, encircling cities, cutting off escape routes and crushing civilians with heavy artillery,” said Jonathan Gimblett, a member of Ukraine’s legal team.

Russia opposed the trial and left its seats in the Great Hall of Justice empty.

Efforts to provide safe passage for civilians over the weekend faltered amid continued Russian shelling. Before talks began on Monday, Russia announced a new plan that would allow civilians to leave Kyiv, Mariupol, Kharkiv and Sumy.

But that offer was quickly dismissed by Ukraine and others as an empty and cynical gesture, as most evacuation routes led to Russia or its ally Belarus, which served as the launch pad for the invasion.

Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Irina Vereshchuk has branded the proposal as unacceptable.

“I don’t know many Ukrainians seeking refuge in Russia. This is hypocrisy,” French President Emmanuel Macron said in an interview with French news channel LCI.

Ukraine instead proposed eight routes, allowing civilians to travel to the country’s western regions where there is no shelling.

On Monday, the UN humanitarian chief said the UN was unable to meet the needs of millions of Ukrainian civilians caught up in the conflict.

In a speech to the UN Security Council, Undersecretary of State Martin Griffiths called for safe passage for people to go “in their chosen direction” and for humanitarian supplies to get into zones of hostilities.

The battle for Mariupol is crucial, as its capture could allow Moscow to establish a land corridor to Crimea, which Russia captured from Ukraine in 2014.

The fighting has sent global energy prices skyrocketing and stocks plummeting, threatening the food supply and livelihoods of people around the world who depend on crops grown in the fertile Black Sea region.

The UN human rights office reported 406 confirmed civilian deaths but said the real number was much higher. The invasion has also caused 1.7 million people to flee Ukraine.

On Monday, Moscow again announced a series of demands to halt the invasion, including Ukraine’s recognition of Crimea as part of Russia and recognition of Moscow-backed separatist fighters controlled eastern regions as independent. She also insisted that Ukraine change its constitution to ensure it does not join international bodies such as NATO and the EU. Ukraine has already rejected these demands.

Zelenskyy has called for further punitive measures against Russia, including a global boycott of its oil exports, which are vital to its economy.

“If (Russia) does not want to abide by civilized rules, then they should not receive goods and services from civilization,” he said in a video address.

He has also asked for more fighter jets. Assistant Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said officials are “trying to see if this is possible and feasible.”

While the West has shipped weapons like anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine, some officials worry that sending fighter jets from Moscow could be seen as direct involvement in the war.

One possible scenario under discussion: Former Soviet bloc countries that are now NATO members could send Ukraine their own Soviet-era MiGs, which Ukrainian pilots are trained to fly, and the US would then replace those countries’ planes with American F- 16 replace .

Russia’s invasion has terrified nearby countries that the war could spread to them.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken began a lightning visit to the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, former Soviet republics that are members of NATO. Blinken hoped to persuade them to protect the Alliance.

NATO has shown no interest in sending troops into the country and has rejected Zelenskyy’s requests to establish a no-fly zone for fear of triggering a wider war.


Associated Press reporters from around the world contributed to this report.


Follow AP’s coverage of the Ukraine crisis at


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