Street fighting in Ukraine’s second city after the entry of Russian forces

Machine gun fire and explosions rocked the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on Sunday as street fighting raged after invading Russian forces stormed into the country’s second city, an AFP journalist reported.

The wreckage of a Russian armored vehicle was smoldering in a street and several others had been abandoned, the AFP journalist said.

The armed clashes broke out on Sunday morning and fighting was taking place in several places.

The head of the regional administration, Oleg Sinegubov, wrote on Facebook that “light vehicles of the Russian enemy broke into the city” and urged residents not to leave the shelters.

“Ukrainian Armed Forces are eliminating the enemy,” he wrote.

As fighting raged in Kharkiv, the administration of Kyiv city, 400 kilometers (250 miles) to the west, said the capital remained under the control of Ukrainian forces despite clashes with “groups of sabotage”.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Sunday that its troops besieged the city of Kherson in southern Ukraine and the city of Berdyansk in the southeast.

“During the past 24 hours, the cities of Kherson and Berdyansk have been completely blocked by Russian armed forces,” Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement.

He added that Russian troops also took control of Genichesk, a port city along the Sea of ​​Azov, and an airfield near Kherson.

On Sunday, the Russian military said it had destroyed 975 military installations in Ukraine and shot down eight fighter jets, seven helicopters and 11 drones.

Konashenkov claimed that the Ukrainian military was laying down arms “en masse”.

He said that on Saturday the forces of an air defense missile regiment near Kharkiv had “voluntarily” laid down their arms, adding that more than 470 Ukrainian servicemen had been arrested.

There has been no independent verification of these claims and Ukraine insists it inflicted heavy casualties on Kremlin forces.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine on Thursday. Russian ground forces entered Ukraine from the north, east and south, but encountered fierce resistance from Ukrainian troops, the intensity of which likely surprised Moscow, according to Western sources.

On Saturday, Moscow ordered its troops to advance into Ukraine “from all directions”, with the Kremlin saying Ukrainian authorities had refused to hold talks.

Russia news

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