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Saturday, May 18, 2024

As the conflict in Ukraine enters its second month, worries mount that the city of Mariupol may fall to Russia

Attacks on vital objectives throughout Ukraine were stepped up by Russian troops on Sunday, with violent combat reported in and around the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, amid fears that the beleaguered city of Mariupol was on the verge of collapsing.

Despite having mostly failed in their first attempt to seize the main cities, Russian troops have restricted their immediate aims to the sieges of the southern port city of Mariupol and the strategically located city of Chernihiv in the north as the battle enters its second month.

During the day, air raid sirens sounded in Kyiv, but otherwise the city was devoid of tension, giving some validity to the Russian Defense Ministry’s recent allegation that the country was shifting its attention away from Kyiv to concentrate on the eastern front of the conflict. According to the Ukrainian military, some Russian battalions were moving to Belarus in the north in order to reorganise and re-equip, while significant Russian artillery strikes persisted near Chernihiv, northeast of Kyiv, according to the Russian military.

Ukrainian news outlets claimed that seven people, including two children, were killed by artillery fire in Kharkiv, in northeast Ukraine, as Russian soldiers attempted to conquer the city near the border. In addition, missiles were fired at a fuel station in western Ukraine as Russia continued to deploy aircraft to disrupt supply lines to Ukrainian soldiers in the region.

Ukrainian military intelligence officials have claimed that Russia is shifting its military attention to the country’s southern and eastern regions, and that it may be attempting to partition Ukraine into occupied and non-occupied territory.

Fighting across the country revealed that Russian forces were attempting to consolidate their positions in key areas north of Kyiv and were rebuffing Ukrainian attempts to break their grip in those areas, all while concentrating their efforts entirely on seizing control of Mariupol, according to the latest reports. On the aftermath of weeks of siege in the port city, Ukrainian troops and civilians stranded there were forced to live in increasingly precarious circumstances due to a lack of food and water, which forced them to drink unclean sewage water.

Russia has sustained huge casualties, according to Western military experts and Ukrainian authorities, and has been unable to achieve their principal goals, which include seizing control of the country’s major cities, including Kyiv, as a result. Russian troops are being forced to advance slowly and concentrate on a single target because of challenges in their supply lines, according to Jack Watling, a research fellow and expert in ground warfare at the Royal United Services Institute in the United Kingdom.

Nonetheless, despite their achievements in ambushing and halting Russian troops around the nation, Ukrainian forces have not been able to reverse Russian advances in any substantial manner, according to the general.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with Russian journalists on Sunday that Russian forces had entered parts of the city of Mariupol and that he had told Ukrainian soldiers still holding out in the city that they could abandon the city to save their own lives if they did not want to die.

It became more clear that Ukraine was suffering physically as the conflict progressed. According to a tweet from Ukraine’s Parliament on Sunday, an estimated $63 billion in Ukrainian infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed as of last Thursday.

Over 4,400 residential buildings, 138 health care facilities, eight civilian airports, and 378 educational institutions are among the structures that have been destroyed. Ukrainian economists from the Kyiv School of Economics estimated the cost.

After a month of intensive warfare near Kyiv, some Russian military forces were moving to Belarus to reorganise, according to the Ukrainian military, which stated they were heading via the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

Also stated in the report was that the Russian Army was using the Chernobyl nuclear reactor site for logistical purposes. It seems that the Russian military has blockaded the village of Slavutich, which is near to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, and has expanded its assaults on Chernihiv in an apparent effort to cement a ring of control around the city.

Ukraine’s chief negotiator in peace talks with Russia said a new round of negotiations would take place this week, beginning on Monday in Turkey, a NATO member that has attempted to mediate a resolution to the conflict by leveraging President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s good relations with both Russia and Ukraine. Turkish authorities, on the other hand, have acknowledged that any deal between the two countries is still a long way off.

In the wake of President Joe Biden’s statement that Russia’s leader, Vladimir V. Putin, “cannot continue in power” at the close of a speech in Poland on Saturday, American officials hurried on Sunday to emphasise that the United States does not have a strategy of regime change in the country.

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State, said that the president had merely meant that Mr. Putin would not be “empowered to conduct war” against Ukraine or anyplace else in the world.

Officials from France and the United Kingdom expressed disapproval of Mr. Biden’s statements. French President Emmanuel Macron said he would not use such rhetoric if questioned about them in an interview on Sunday. He also said that there should be no escalation — either verbally or physically — in the situation.

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