Russia has shelled houses and a shopping area in ukraine capital city Kyiv’s Podil district, killing at least four people, city ukraine authorities say.
An official in Odesa says Russia has started using “unmanned aerial vehicles in urban areas”.
Ukraine and its Western backers say Russian ground forces have not advanced much in the past week, concentrating instead on artillery and missile attacks often into urban centres.
Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, has rejected a Russian call for Ukrainian forces in Mariupol to lay down their arms.
UK defence ministry says Russian forces advancing from Crimea are trying to go around Mykolaiv as they attempt to get to Odesa.
Dmytro Zhyvytskyy, governor of Sumy, says the villages of Novoselytsya and Verkhnya Syrovatka have been contaminated by an ammonia leak at a chemical plant in the northeastern part of the city besieged by Russian troops.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has added a stop in Poland to his trip this week to Europe for urgent talks with NATO and European allies, as Russian forces concentrate their fire upon cities and trapped civilians in a nearly month-old invasion of Ukraine.
Biden will first travel to Brussels and then to Poland to meet with leaders there, press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement Sunday night. Poland is a crucial ally in the Ukraine crisis.
It is hosting thousands of American troops and is taking in more people fleeing the war in Ukraine more than 2 million than any other nation in the midst of the largest European refugee crisis in decades.
Biden will head to Warsaw for a bilateral meeting with President Andrzej Duda scheduled for Saturday.
Biden will discuss how the US, along with its allies and partners, is responding to the humanitarian and human rights crisis that Russia’s unjustified and unprovoked war on Ukraine has created, Psaki said.
President Emmanuel Macron of France, Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany, Prime Minister Mario Draghi of Italy and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom are expected to take part, the White House said Sunday.
Poland has been one of the most vocal countries in asking fellow NATO members to consider getting more involved to rein in the bloodshed.
The United States and European governments see Moscow’s military aggression as a threat to their security and strategic interests.
Biden and NATO have said repeatedly that while the US and NATO will provide weapons and other defensive support to non-NATO member Ukraine, they are determined to avoid any escalation on behalf of Kyiv that risks a broader war with Russia.
The Pentagon on March 9 rejected a Polish proposal for providing Ukraine with MiG fighter jets via a NATO air base, saying allied efforts against the Russian invasion should focus on more useful weaponry and that the MiG transfer with a US and NATO connection would run a high risk of escalating the war.
Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has pleaded for the US to provide his military with more aircraft and advanced air-defense systems.
NATO and the United States have rejected his appeals to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine to suppress Russian air power, saying it would put Western forces in direct conflict with Russian ones.
Determined resistance by Ukrainian fighters when Russian tanks and troops rolled into Ukraine in late February quickly defeated Russian forces’ attempts to storm Ukraine’s capital and unseat the westward-looking government.
Denied an easy and early victory, Russia’s military is reverting to the scorched earth tactics of its past offensives in Syria and Chechnya, and pounding population centres with airstrikes and artillery barrages that leave civilians like those in the port city of Mariupol able to safely venture out for food or water, to bury the dead, or to flee.
After failing to capture Kiev, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been forced to change his war tactics in Ukraine and is moving to a strategy of “protecting key territorial goals”.
One of the interlocutors said that, given the data received, the effective defence of the Ukrainian Armed Forces prompted Putin to adjust his tactics.
Now the Russian President wants to force Kiev to accept Moscow’s claims to the southern and eastern territories of Ukraine.
Thus, Russia wants to create a “land corridor” between the west of the country and the occupied Crimea in 2014, as well as expand control over Donbas.
At the same time, Putin will continue his military pressure, including shelling of cities, hoping that this will force Zelensky to give up hopes of joining the alliance with the West and agree to neutral status and other demands of the Kremlin, the report said.
If Putin’s demands are not met, then, according to US officials, Russia will try to keep all the territories occupied by its regular troops and continue to escalate.
“Based on our military assessments, it seems that Putin is returning to the blockade tactics,” one of the officials said.
According to him, for citizens in the surrounding cities, this means weeks, and possibly months of missile and artillery attacks by the Russian army.
Former senior State Department official Daniel Fried said Putin’s goal of seizing Ukraine has not changed, “only his tactics have changed”