Saturday, December 3, 2022

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Fighting raged outside Kyiv Saturday as Russian forces appeared to make fresh progress in their slow advance on Ukraine’s capital and continued to bombard cities already under siege across the country.

Britain’s defense ministry said in an intelligence briefing that Russian forces were around 15 miles from the city center. It added that a larger Russian column north of the city had dispersed, which might be part of an attempt to encircle Kyiv.

Elsewhere, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video post that Russian forces had kidnapped the mayor of the southern city of Melitopol. “It is a crime against the democracy itself,” he said.

His country launched a fresh effort to open humanitarian corridors from several cities, including besieged Mariupol where civilians are trapped without water or food, although previous attempts have been disrupted by Russian attacks.

Ukraine accused Russian forces Saturday of shelling a mosque in the city that was sheltering civilians.

Meanwhile, U.S. soldiers are continuing to deploy to Europe, joining thousands already sent overseas to support NATO allies.

Follow our full coverage on the conflict here.

Russia shelled mosque sheltering civilians in besieged Mariupol, Ukraine says

Ukraine has accused Russian forces of shelling a mosque that was sheltering more than 80 civilians in Mariupol, the besieged southern port city.

“The mosque of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and his wife Roxolana (Hurrem Sultan) in Mariupol was shelled by Russian invaders,” Ukraine’s foreign ministry said on Twitter Saturday.

“More than 80 adults and children are hiding there from the shelling, including citizens of Turkey,” it said.

Local officials have warned of a humanitarian catastrophe in the city, which has been left without water, food, heat and medical supplies for more than a week while encircled and bombarded by Russian troops.

The city council said Friday that at least 1.582 people had died in 12 days under siege.

Russia has consistently denied targeting civilians and NBC News has not verified the death toll.

March 12, 202201:15

Ukraine launches fresh humanitarian corridor effort for Mariupol, other areas

Ukraine launched a fresh effort to open humanitarian corridors from several areas, including the besieged city of Mariupol where residents are trapped without water or food. 

Previous attempts have been disrupted by Russian shelling.

Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, Iryna Vereshchuk, said in a video posted to Telegram that she hoped civilians could be evacuated from several cities, towns and villages that have faced heavy Russian bombardment.

The routes included one between Mariupol and Zaporizhzhia, with authorities once again hoping to get thousands of people out and aid into the strategic port city.

They also included a number of areas around Kyiv, where heavy fighting has been taking place as Russian forces step up their attempts to encircle the capital.

Russian forces around 15 miles from center of Kyiv, U.K. defense ministry says

Russian forces northwest of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv were around 15 miles from the city center and fighting was continuing, the United Kingdom’s defense ministry said Saturday.

The British assessment said that a larger Russian column north of the city had dispersed, which might be part of an attempt to encircle it. It could also be an attempt to reduce vulnerability to counterattacks, the ministry said.

Elsewhere, the cities of Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Sumy and Mariupol remained encircled and continue to be shelled by Russian forces, the U.K. said. 

March 12, 202209:50

Over 600 Indian students stranded in Ukraine used social media to make it home

Hundreds of Indian students have made it home from Ukraine after being stranded at their schools for days with little food or water. Students from universities in Sumy and Odessa told NBC News that inaction from the Indian Embassy led them to take matters into their own hands. 

“We decided ourselves that we should leave,” Ovais Choudhary, a medical student at Odessa National University, said in an interview translated from Hindi. “The more you wait, the more critical and tense the situation becomes.”

Choudhary traveled with a group of 50 students who left their school housing on foot Feb. 24 as tanks rolled through Odessa. They all moved into a set of three apartments where they spent two sleepless nights trying to figure out what to do. 

Read the full story here

Shelling damages cancer hospital, Ukraine says

Ukrainian officials accused Russia damaging a cancer hospital and several residential buildings in the southern city of Mykolaiv with shelling from heavy artillery.

The hospital’s head doctor, Maksim Beznosenko, said several hundred patients were in the hospital during the attack but that no one was killed. The assault damaged the building and blew out windows.

Russian forces have stepped up their attacks on Mykolaiv, located 292 miles south of Kyiv, in an attempt to encircle the city.

Ukrainian and Western officials earlier accused Russia of shelling a maternity hospital in the southern city of Mariupol on Wednesday. Three people died in that attack.

More U.S. soldiers deploy to Europe to support NATO allies

SAVANNAH, Ga. — U.S. soldiers are continuing to deploy to Europe, joining thousands already sent overseas to support NATO allies amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

About 130 soldiers from the 87th Division Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Division Sustainment Brigade gathered Friday at Hunter Airfield in Savannah, Georgia and departed on a chartered flight.

The soldiers are in addition to the estimated 3,800 soldiers from the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division who deployed recently from nearby Fort Stewart.

A division commander said that soldiers are being told to prepare for about six months overseas. The Pentagon has ordered roughly 12,000 total service members from various U.S. bases to Europe.

The soldiers’ mission is to train alongside military units of NATO allies in a display of force aimed at deterring further aggression by Russia. The Pentagon has stressed U.S. forces are not being deployed to fight in Ukraine.

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