Ukraine: Residents evacuate Irpin using wooden planks
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With Vladimir Putin said to be furious at the slow pace of the invasion, Moscow’s forces were today massing for a deadly attack on the besieged capital, with tanks and motorised infantry units advancing towards the nearby city of Irpin. The snaking 40-mile Russian convoy heading down from the north is also now just a few miles north of the capital. And Ukrainian military chiefs said Russian troops have started to “accumulate resources to storm Kyiv” and are now likely to attack within days.
Putin’s tanks were seen nearing the city of Irpin, on the western outskirts of Kyiv, as well as in the eastern districts of Brovary and Boryspil, the Ukrainian military said.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a nonpartisan public policy research organisation, said intelligence reports showed Russian forces were now focused on four areas, with Kyiv the main priority, followed by Kharkiv, Mariupol, and Kherson.
Over the last 24 hours, Russian troops have regrouped and started preparing for a new offensive operations in Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Mykolayiv, the ISW said.
Earlier today, civilians were killed when a bread factory was hit by an air strike in the latest Russian bombardment.
The bodies of at least 13 people were recovered from the rubble after the factory in the town of Makariv in the Kyiv region was hit, local emergency services said. Five people were rescued of the 30 believed to have been there at the time, the others were still unaccounted for.
And with bridges and much infrastructure destroyed, those frantically trying to flee the area were left having to cross rivers as best they could.
In Irpin, elderly refugees were seen gingerly walking across boards laid out across the city’s river.
They were forced to pick their way through a mass of rubble, jagged boulders and metal bars that now litter the bed of the Irpin river.
The rubble was all that remained of the former bridge blown up by Ukrainian forces to block – or at least slow – Russian armour reaching the capital.
Planks of wood were balanced precariously on the wreckage, with one elderly man almost tumbling into the water.
A woman nearby was seen lying flat on the ground on the riverbank – conscious but immobile after suffering a fall trying to cross.
Other Ukrainians were pictured in the remaining rubble of their former homes wondering what the future for them will now be.
The Ukrainian General Staff said that in Kharkiv, Russian forces stationed to the west of the city were also likely to launch an offensive southeast toward the Dnipro River.
Despite peace talks due to restart, the Russian President had “not demonstrated any willingness to de-escalate with Ukraine or the international community,” the ISW said
It is also believed the Kremlin is “likely laying the domestic information groundwork for a declaration of martial law in Russia” should Putin decide that “mass mobilisation and conscription are necessary to achieve his objectives.”
While the Kremlin today claimed to have offered another ceasefire, with safe passage for civilians out of cities – as long as they travelled to Russia or Belarus – illegal cluster bomb and missile attacks continued across the country.
In addition to positions being pounded in and around Kyiv, the southern city of Mariupol, where residents are running out of food and have no power or water, was also further hit by Russian missiles.
Rocket attacks were also once again seen straying into residential areas in several cities, Ukraine authorities said.
Russia claimed to have destroyed Ukraine’s Starokostiantyniv military air base in the Khmelnytskyi province.
Kremlin Defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said: “The Russia armed forces continue to strike the military infrastructure of Ukraine.
“On the morning of March 6, strikes were carried out by high-precision long-range weapons. The Ukrainian air force base near Starokostiantyniv was disabled.”
Mass graves of civilians killed in the Russian bombing of Chernihiv were pictured yesterday with bodies buried in trenches.
Because the main city cemetery in Yatsevo was under constant shelling by the Russian occupiers, the victims had to be buried in the Yalivshchyna forest.
And the seemingly indiscriminate attacks by Russian forces, leading to such heavy civilian casualties, were rounded on by Ukraine’s furious Prime Minister Volodymyr Zelensky.
In a television address, Mr Zelensky said: “It’s murder, deliberate murder.
“We will not forgive, we will not forget, we will punish everyone who committed atrocities in this war on our land.
“There will be no quiet place on this Earth except the grave.”
But hopes for the success of peace talks remain small, with Russian demands as extreme as ever.
Conflict would only be halted, the Kremlin said, if Ukraine did four things – cease military action, change its constitution to enshrine neutrality, acknowledge Crimea as a Russian territory, and recognise the separatist republics of Donetsk and Lugansk as independent.
Experts said the Ukrainian government would never give in to such demands.
And as battles raged across the invaded nation, it also emerged that a famous Ukrainian actor and TV host was among those killed.
Pasha Lee, just 33, died in Russian shelling in Irpin, the city just west of Kyiv.
It is understood Pasha enlisted in the Ukraine army’s Territorial Defence Forces shortly before his death.
The news was announced by the Odessa International Film Festival on Facebook.
The statement read: “On March 6, as a result of shelling by Russian occupiers in the Ukrainian city of Irpin, the famous Ukrainian actor Pasha Li was killed. He was 33 years old.
“The artist joined the ranks of the Territorial Defense Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in order to protect the country from Russian occupiers.”
Pasha, a famous film actor, singer and composer in Ukraine, had previously shared pictures of himself in his military uniform in view of his 5,805 followers.
One photo featured the caption “Let’s unite”.
Another had a caption which read: “For the last 48 hours there is an opportunity to sit down and take a picture of how we are being bombed, and we are smiling, because we will manage and everything will be UKRAINE… WE ARE WORKING !!!”
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