UKRAINE: Russian Forces on Thursday rolled their armoured vehicles up to the northeastern edge of Kyiv, edging closer in their attempts to encircle the Ukrainian capital.
Journalists saw plumes of smoke rise over the village of Skybyn, just a few hundred metres past the last checkpoint marking Kyiv’s northeastern city limits.
Ukrainian soldiers described a night of heavy battles for control of the main highway leading into the city.“There are ongoing military operations in Skybyn,” said a soldier who agreed to be identified only as Sergiy, adding that one Russian column of armoured vehicles had been partially destroyed.
Journalists witnessed Grad missile strikes in Velyka Dymerka, a neighbouring village five kilometres (three miles) outside Kyiv’s city limits, which stood largely deserted on a sunny and bitterly cold day.
At least half-a-dozen Grad missiles rained down on the empty road, hitting several houses, which appeared to be empty at the time, and damaging the journalists’ vehicle.
Kyiv’s northwest suburbs such as Irpin and Bucha have been enduring shellfire and bombardments for more than a week, prompting a mass evacuation effort.
At least 71 children have been killed in Ukraine since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a war on Feb 24, a Ukrainian Parliament official said on Thursday.
The United Nations (UN) migration agency on Friday said that over 2.5 million people have fled Ukraine as of March 11, since Vladimir Putin-led Russia begun its invasion of Ukraine.
Compared to the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) last report on March 10, an additional around 200,000 refugees have fled Ukraine.
UN’s IOM spokesperson Paul Dillon said that over 1.5 million refugees have fled to Poland, while around 116,000 refugees include third-country nationals. Meanwhile, the UN high commissioner for refugees Filippo Grandi said that approximately two million people are displaced within Ukraine as well.
– THE HINDUSTAN TIMES