Have ‘entirely’ besieged two big cities in Ukraine, says Russia

People take shelter in basement as Russia continues shelling in Ukraine. [Photo: Twitter/Berkhaiz Bhat]

Amid the ongoing war in Ukraine, Moscow on Sunday claimed that its troops have “entirely” besieged the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson and the city of Berdyansk in the southeast, as the Russian army presses ahead with the invasion of the pro-Western country.

“Over the past 24 hours, the cities of Kherson and Berdyansk have been completely blocked by the Russian armed forces,” defense ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov says in a statement carried by Russian news agencies.

Pertinently, on day fourth of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian troops have entered Ukraine’s second city Kharkiv and fighting was under way on Sunday, the head of the regional administration.

“The Russian enemy’s light vehicles broke into the city of Kharkiv,” Oleg Sinegubov said in a Facebook post, calling on residents not to leave shelters. “The Ukrainian armed forces are eliminating the enemy.”

While fighting raged in Kharkiv, the city administration in Kyiv, 400 km to the west, said the capital remained completely under the control of Ukrainian forces despite clashes with “sabotage groups”.

Videos posted on Ukrainian media and social networks showed Russian vehicles moving across Kharkiv and a light vehicle burning on the street.

Maria Avdeeva, the Kharkiv-based research director at the European Expert Association, told Al Jazeera heavy shelling started late on Saturday and continued through the night and into the morning.

“I’ve even heard the [sound] of guns on the streets,” the report quoted her as saying on Sunday morning.

“What we know now is that Russia is entering the city in small groups, on lighter military vehicles, and they are destroyed by the Ukrainian military. Some of the groups were already destroyed, they tried to get close to the city centre and we see many images of the destroyed Russian military vehicles,” Avdeeva was quoted further saying.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin on Sunday said it has warned Ukraine that Russia’s military operation would be suspended during any potential talks, reported news agency Reuters, quoting local reports.

Russia earlier said its delegation was ready to meet Ukrainian officials in the Belarusian city of Gomel, a location Kyiv rejected as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Minsk itself was complicit in the Russian invasion.


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