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Russia-Ukraine news live: Ukraine says 16 children killed, 45 hurt; Emergency UN meeting today

KIEV, Ukraine – President Vladimir Putin has dramatically escalated East-West tensions by ordering Russian nuclear powers to go on high alert following new Western blunt sanctions that forced the Central Bank to sharply raise its save the ruble from collapse.

Explosions and shootings around the Ukrainian capital besieged by Russian forces seemed to subside overnight and the Russian army offered to allow residents to leave Kyiv via a safe corridor, while Kyiv has been reinforced for a while. attack on the capital.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said early Monday that at least 16 children had been killed and 45 injured since the invasion began.

He also said that those convicted under martial law would be released to help in the fight and that Ukraine should now be able to join the EU, saying that Ukraine had clearly shown that it deserved it.

Ukraine agreed in talks with Moscow and Zelensky’s office said a delegation had arrived at the border with Belarus. It is not clear whether they will lead to a major discovery.

Zelensky’s office said it would demand an immediate ceasefire. It was not immediately clear what the Kremlin was ultimately seeking, either in the talks or, more generally, from the war in Ukraine.

MAP: How Ukrainian soldiers are defending their country

Western officials say Putin wants to overthrow the Ukrainian government and replace it with his own regime, reviving Moscow’s influence during the Cold War.

Alleged “aggressive statements” by NATO members and tough economic sanctions, Putin on Sunday issued a directive to increase Russia’s nuclear weapons readiness, raising fears that an invasion of Ukraine could lead to a nuclear war, either by design or by mistake.

The Russian leader “potentially puts in game forces that, if miscalculated, could make things much, much more dangerous,” a senior U.S. defense official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss military operations. evolving rapidly.

MORE: Why is Russia invading Ukraine? Countries share a complex history

Putin’s directive came as Russian forces faced strong opposition from Ukrainian defenders. Moscow has so far failed to gain full control of Ukrainian airspace, despite progress across the country. U.S. officials say they believe the invasion was more difficult and slower than the Kremlin envisioned, although that could change as Moscow adjusts.

The clash – seemingly calmer on Sunday night than on previous nights – could escalate significantly if Russia receives military aid from neighboring Belarus, which is expected to send troops to Ukraine as soon as Monday, according to a senior US intelligence official with direct knowledge of the current US intelligence estimates that spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to speak in public. The official said that whether Belarus would enter the war depends on the Ukraine-Russia talks that are to take place in the coming days.

Amid growing pressure, Western nations have said they will step up sanctions and buy and supply weapons to Ukraine, including Stinger missiles to shoot down helicopters and other aircraft. European countries will also supply fighter jets to Ukraine, said EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

Rapid developments came as scattered fighting continued around Kyiv. Fighting also broke out in Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv, and strategic ports in the south of the country were attacked by Russian forces.

SEE: Stories of Ukrainians fleeing

By late Sunday, Russian forces had captured Berdyansk, a Ukrainian city of 100,000 on the Sea of ​​Azov, according to Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to Zelenskyy’s office. Russian troops also advanced on Kherson, another town in southern Ukraine, while Mariupol, a port city in the Sea of ​​Azov considered Russia’s primary target, “remains,” Arestovich said.

Russian Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Igor Konashenkov also said troops had taken control of the area around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in the south. He stressed that the plant is safe and the radioactivity levels in the area have remained normal.

With Russian troops closing in on Kyiv, a city of nearly 3 million people, the capital’s mayor has expressed doubts about the evacuation of civilians. Authorities are distributing weapons to anyone who wants to defend the city. Ukraine is also releasing prisoners with military experience who want to fight and is training people to make bombs.

However, Konashenkov said the army would let Kiev residents use a highway leading out of the city to the southwest – an offer that seemed to signal a new attack.

An almost 40-hour curfew in Kyiv expired on Monday morning. The curfew will be repeated every night, from 10 pm to 7 am

MORE: Do sanctions affect Russia? How the West is escalating economic sanctions for the invasion of Ukraine

In Mariupol, where Ukrainians were trying to repel the attack, a medical team at a city hospital tried desperately to bring to life a 6-year-old girl in unicorn pajamas who had been fatally wounded by Russian bombing.

During the rescue operation, a doctor with blue medical rubbing, pumping oxygen on the girl, looked directly at the Associated Press video camera to record the scene.

“Show this to Putin,” he said angrily. “This child’s eyes and the crying doctors.”

Their attempts to resuscitate failed and the girl was found dead on a dressing room, with her jacket sprinkled with blood.

Nearly 900 kilometers (560 miles) away, Faina Bystritska was under threat in the city of Chernihiv.

“I wish I had never lived to see this,” said Bistricka, an 87-year-old Jew who survived World War II. He said the sirens were ringing almost constantly in the city, about 150 kilometers (90 miles) from Kyiv.

Chernihiv residents have been told not to turn on any lights “so as not to distract them,” said Bystritska, who lives in a hallway away from any windows so she can be better protected.

“The window glass is constantly shaking and there is this constant thunder noise,” he said.

SEE: What you need to know about Russian President Vladimir Putin

Meanwhile, Western allies have announced a freeze on Russia’s hard currency reserves – an unprecedented move that could have catastrophic consequences for the country’s financial system.

The ruble fell sharply in the news and Russia’s central bank raised its key interest rate from 9.5% to 20% in a desperate attempt to support the collapsing national currency and prevent banks from dominating.

The United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom have also agreed to block selected Russian banks from the SWIFT system, which facilitates the transfer of money to thousands of banks and other financial institutions around the world.

The EU also closed its airspace to Russian airlines on Sunday and bought weapons for Ukraine. The 27-nation bloc will also ban some pro-Kremlin media, said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

The United States has also stepped up arms supplies to Ukraine, announcing it will send Stinger missiles as part of a package approved by the White House on Friday. Germany also plans to send 500 Stingers and other military supplies.

SEE ALSO: Who is the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy? The comedian who became a politician is now leading the country through the Russian invasion

The 193-member United Nations General Assembly also scheduled an emergency meeting on Monday for the Russian invasion.

Putin, when ordering the nuclear alert, referred not only to statements by NATO members but also to the harsh economic sanctions imposed by the West on Russia, including Putin himself.

“Western countries are not only taking hostile action against our country in the economic field, but top executives from top NATO members have made aggressive statements about our country,” Putin said in televised comments.

U.S. defense officials would not disclose their current level of nuclear alert except to say that the military is ready at any time to defend its homeland and its allies.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told ABC that Putin was using the pattern he used in the weeks leading up to the invasion, “which is to create threats that do not exist to justify further aggression.”

HOW TO HELP: List of non-profit organizations responding to the crisis in Ukraine

The practical meaning of Putin’s mandate was not immediately clear. Russia and the United States typically have land and submarine-based nuclear forces on alert and prepared for battle at any time, but nuclear-capable bombers and other aircraft are not.

As Russian troops slow down due to the Ukrainian resistance, fuel shortages and other logistical problems, a senior US defense official said that was likely to change. “We are in the fourth day. The Russians will learn and adapt,” the official said.

The number of victims of Europe’s largest land conflict since World War II has remained unclear amid the confusion.

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Ukraine’s Interior Ministry announced on Sunday that 352 Ukrainian civilians had been killed, including 14 children. He said an additional 1,684 people, including 116 children, had been injured.

The Russian Defense Ministry did not provide any information on Russia’s casualties, but said on Sunday that its country’s losses were “many times lower” than those of Ukraine.

Russia, which has mobilized nearly 200,000 troops along Ukraine’s border, says its attack targets only military targets, but bridges, schools and residential neighborhoods have also been hit.

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Isachenkov reported from Moscow. Ellen Knickmeyer, Eric Tucker, Robert Burns and Hope Yen in Washington. James LaPorta in Miami. Francesca Ebel, Josef Federman and Andrew Drake in Kyiv. Mstyslav Chernov and Nic Dumitrache in Mariupol, Ukraine. and other AP journalists from around the world contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.



Russia-Ukraine news live: Ukraine says 16 children killed, 45 hurt; Emergency UN meeting today Source link Russia-Ukraine news live: Ukraine says 16 children killed, 45 hurt; Emergency UN meeting today

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