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Russia Lays Siege to Southern Ukraine as Kyiv Convoy Stalls

In a televised statement to his Security Council, Putin accused the Ukrainian military of using civilians and foreigners as human shields, in an apparent attempt to shift blame for the fast-growing civilian death toll from his invasion.
Devastated civilian areas in Kharkiv. Photo: State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Devastated civilian areas in Kharkiv. Photo: State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Russian forces stepped up their assault on major Ukrainian population centers on Thursday, appearing to capture the strategic southern port city of Kherson while turning to siege tactics elsewhere in the face of fierce resistance.

The latest: Following a phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky, President Biden called on Russia to "cease its military activities" at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station in southeastern Ukraine, after it was hit by heavy shelling.

  • The attack on Europe's largest nuclear power plant caused a fire to break out, but local officials reported later that the plant was "secured" and "nuclear safety is now guaranteed."
  • The U.N.'s International Atomic Energy said the fire had not affected "essential" equipment on site and that plant personnel were "taking mitigatory actions."
  • Russian forces in the south are seeking to cut off Ukraine's access to the sea, advancing toward the major port city of Mykolaiv after taking control of Kherson. A senior U.S. defense official said Russian troops in the south have not experienced the same logistical and supply issues that have held up the offensive near Kyiv.
  • The official told reporters Thursday that 90% of the Russian forces that had massed on the border are now inside Ukraine, and that Russia has launched 480 missiles since the start of the invasion. The "majority" of Ukraine's air and missile defense systems remain intact.
  • The head of Ukraine's military intelligence agency told Military Times that Ukrainian fighter jets have been striking the 40-mile Russian convoy outside of Kyiv, which U.S. and U.K. officials say remains "stalled" due to fuel and food shortages.
  • The city of Mariupol remains in Ukrainian control, but has been encircled by Russian forces and has endured continuous shelling for two days. City officials there say the population is running out of electricity, heating and water, and the humanitarian situation is dire.

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