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Russian forces seize first major Ukrainian city

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Oil price soars to highest for nearly 10 years
Over 20 countries sending weapons to Ukraine
Russian tanks seen on a street of the Ukrainian Port City of Kherson after the Army took control of it. (Twitter)

RUSSIA,BELGIUM: Russian forces on Wednesday seized the first major Ukrainian city in their onslaught, the strategic port of Kherson, as they stepped up bombardment of civilian targets across the country, put other cities under siege and pushed to encircle and cut off the capital, Kyiv.

Russian troops and tanks rolled into Kherson, on the Dnieper River near the Black Sea, after days of intense fighting that left as many as 300 Ukrainian civilians and fighters dead, said the mayor and another senior Ukrainian government official who confirmed that it had fallen.

“There is no Ukrainian army here,” the mayor, Mr Igor Kolykhaev, said in an interview.

Other Russian columns besieged Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city, and the port city of Mariupol. And most ominously, a huge convoy of military vehicles stood north of Kyiv in apparent preparation for a major offensive.

Meanwhile, Oil and gas prices are continuing to soar as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, raising the prospect of households facing even higher fuel and energy bills. The price of Brent crude oil rose above $119 a barrel to the highest since May 2012, while gas prices rose as well.

Petrol prices have been hitting record highs as the cost of oil soars. Energy bills are also likely to rise further than previously predicted, trade body Energy UK said.

Emma Pinchbeck, the chief executive of the energy industry body, said: “It’s a really worrying time for both customers and industry.

“We’ve been saying since the autumn that we’d expect bills to go up again in October. With what we’re seeing in Ukraine and in the oil and gas markets, we’re now expecting those to go up further.”

Meanwhile, The Dutch are sending rocket launchers for air defense. The Estonians are sending Javelin anti-tank missiles. The Poles and the Latvians are sending Stinger surface-to-air missiles. The Czechs are sending machine guns, sniper rifles, pistols and ammunition.

Even formerly neutral countries like Sweden and Finland are sending weapons. And Germany, long allergic to sending weapons into conflict zones, is sending Stingers as well as other shoulder-launched rockets.

In all, over 20 countries — most members of NATO and the European Union, but not all — are funneling arms into Ukraine to fight off Russian invaders and arm an insurgency, if the war comes to that. – THE STRAITS TIMES,BBC

Friday, March 4, 2022 – 01:00

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