Russia on Wednesday threatened to strike command centers in Kyiv, accusing Ukraine of attacks on its territory.
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At the same time, the UN said that a “general ceasefire” for humanitarian purposes did not seem “at present possible”, the United Nations still awaiting responses from Moscow to concrete proposals for the evacuation of civilians.
“We are seeing sabotage attempts and strikes by Ukrainian forces on targets on the territory of the Russian Federation,” said Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry.
“If such events continue, strikes will be carried out by the Russian military on decision-making centers, including in Kyiv, which the Russian military has refrained from doing so far,” he said. he warned.
In Mariupol, in the south-east of Ukraine, “the remnants of the Ukrainian units and the Nazis (of the regiment) Azov present in the city are blocked and deprived of the possibility of getting out of the encirclement”, also assured Mr. Konashenkov.
Shortly before, Russia had announced the surrender of more than a thousand Ukrainian soldiers in this strategic port city that its forces have been besieging and bombarding for more than 40 days.
“There are no more doctors”
The bombardments also continue in the eastern part of Ukraine, where they have caused the death of seven people in the past 24 hours in Kharkiv, a city in the northeast also besieged by the Russians since the start of the invasion.
Kyiv called on the population of these regions to flee as soon as possible for fear of an imminent major Russian offensive for full control of Donbass, which Ukrainian troops and their pro-Russian separatist enemies have shared since 2014.
Ukraine, however, warned it would not open any humanitarian corridors on Wednesday as the Russians “blocked buses” and “violated the ceasefire” in some areas, making the situation “dangerous”.
Kyiv said on Wednesday that it hit the Russian cruiser Moskva in the Black Sea with missile fire.
“He burns with intensity. Now. And with this rough sea, it is impossible to know when they will be able to receive help”, said on YouTube an adviser to the Ukrainian president, Oleksiï Arestovitch, assuring that “510 crew members” were on board.
These claims were immediately unverifiable by AFP from an independent source. No fire on a military vessel has been reported so far by Russian news agencies.
Analysts say Russian President Vladimir Putin, mired in the face of fierce Ukrainian resistance, wants to secure a victory in Donbass ahead of the May 9 military parade in Red Square marking the Soviet victory over the Nazis in 1945.
In this regard, the leader of one of the two unilaterally proclaimed pro-Russian separatist “republics” in this vast mining territory, Leonid Passechnik, said on Wednesday that his troops now controlled “80 to 90%” of the Lugansk region, one priority targets of the Kremlin.
In Severodonetsk, the most eastern city still held by the Ukrainian army, where strikes were heard, “there are no more doctors, no nurses and all the pharmacies are closed”, said a 70-year-old man told AFP.
Moscow said at the end of March that it would henceforth concentrate its efforts on the south and the east.
A crime scene”
Ukraine has become a veritable “crime scene”, judged on Wednesday in Boutcha, near Kyiv, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, the Briton Karim Khan.
“We are here because we have good reason to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court are being committed. We must pierce the fog of war to reach the truth,” he told the press in this locality that has become the symbol of the atrocities of the conflict. And this since hundreds of bodies, according to the Ukrainian authorities, were discovered there at the end of March, Russia for its part denying any abuse in Ukraine.
Around the capital as elsewhere, the Ukrainian authorities say every day that they find corpses in the areas from which the Russians have withdrawn.
In a village in the south of Kherson, a city close to the front line, seven people were shot by Russian soldiers in a house which they then blew up to conceal the crime, denounced the Ukrainian general prosecutor’s office on Wednesday.
In Dnipro, in the east, the deputy mayor, Mikhail Lyssenko, said that the bodies of more than 1,500 Russian soldiers that “nobody wants to recover” rested in morgues of this large industrial city.
In Washington, Joe Biden for the first time on Tuesday accused Vladimir Putin of “genocide” in Ukraine.
A term that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took up the next day, unlike German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron, whose refusal was described as “very hurtful” by Mr. Zelensky.
Polish President Andrzej Duda, visiting Kyiv, did not use the term “genocide”, but considered that Russia was guilty of “terrorism” and “cruelty”.
“It’s not war, it’s terrorism. If someone sends planes and soldiers to bomb residential areas and kill civilians, it is not war. It is cruelty, banditry, terrorism,” he said.