Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is ready to broker a deal directly with Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the war he says has left towns in his country bombed beyond recognition.
In besieged Mariupol, Russian planes dropped two more heavy bombs on Tuesday, the city council said in a social media post.
“The enemy cynically continues to destroy Ukrainian Mariupol,” the post said. “The city suffered even more damage.”
In an interview with Ukrainian TV stations, Zelenskyy said he would be open to discussing a commitment by Ukraine not to seek NATO membership in exchange for a ceasefire, the withdrawal of Russian troops and a guarantee of Ukraine’s security.
“It’s a compromise for everyone: for the West, which doesn’t know what to do with us vis-à-vis NATO, for Ukraine, which wants security guarantees, and for Russia , which does not want further NATO enlargement,” Zelenskyy said. .
He also reiterated his call for direct talks with Putin — without them, it’s still unclear if Russia even wants to stop the war, Zelenskyy said.
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LAST MOVEMENT:Mapping and tracking the Russian invasion of Ukraine
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military said it forced Russian troops out of Makariv, a strategically important suburb of kyiv, after a fierce battle. The recaptured territory allowed Ukrainian forces to regain control of a key highway to the west and prevent Russian troops from surrounding kyiv from the northwest.
But Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said Russian forces battling kyiv were able to partially take other northwestern suburbs – Bucha, Hostomel and Irpin – some of which had been attacked almost since the Russian military invasion in the end of last month.
►Four evacuated children were among those injured on Monday when Russian forces shelled along a humanitarian border, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address.
►Russian troops used stun grenades and fire into the air on Monday to disperse protesters in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson.
►France and Mexico urge UN members to mention the Russian invasion in a resolution on the worsening humanitarian situation in Ukraine. But South Africa opposes this approach, saying the insertion of political issues can block consensus on aid to civilians.
►Zelenskyy is expected to deliver his speech to Japan’s parliament virtually on Wednesday to rally international support for his country’s fight against the Russian invasion.
Ukrainian refugees arrive at border ready to restart lives
The UN refugee agency says more than 3.5 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded, an exodus causing Europe’s worst refugee crisis since World War II.
With Russian munitions destroying towns and troops tightening the noose, more and more displaced people are leaving every day. They arrive at the border with only a bag of belongings and clothes, mostly women and children queuing in the freezing cold for shelter, food and transport to unknown destinations.
Yet uprooted Ukrainians may have advantages over millions who fled World War II and other past military conflicts.
An international refugee aid system developed at the end of the Second World War is better coordinated than at any other time in history. Non-profit relief organizations are larger and better organized. And, at least for now, Ukrainians are welcomed in neighboring countries. Learn more here.
– Denis Wagner
Russia increases military flights, says senior US official
Russian forces have increased the number of military aircraft sorties over Ukraine in the past two days, a senior US defense official said. The official said the Russians had flown up to 300 sorties – a combat mission from an individual aircraft – in the past 24 hours.
Most flights involve air-to-ground strikes, mostly on fixed targets, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the military’s assessment.
Russia has many more aircraft than Ukraine but has yet to gain air superiority over the country.
— Celina Tebor
Biden confirms Russia used hypersonic missiles in Ukraine
President Joe Biden has confirmed Russia’s use of hypersonic missiles in Ukraine, warning that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “back is against the wall”, meaning he may resort to tougher tactics as the war drags on into another week.
Speaking at the Business Roundtable’s quarterly CEO meeting on Monday, Biden said Russia used the fast-flying missiles “because that’s the only thing they can get through” Ukrainian defenses. He called it a “consequent weapon” that is “nearly unstoppable”.
“There’s a reason they use it,” Biden said.
Russia said it twice used its Kinzhal aviation missile system to strike targets in Ukraine. Hypersonic missiles can travel at five times the speed of sound or more. The Russian military said these missiles are capable of hitting targets over 1,200 miles away, roughly the distance between New York and Kansas City.
Holocaust survivor killed in Ukraine after Russian shelling hits his home
A 96-year-old Holocaust survivor was killed last week in a Russian bomb attack in his hometown of Kharkiv, Ukraine. The victim, Borys Romanchenko, survived the Nazi concentration camps of Buchenwald, Peenemünde, Dora and Bergen-Belsen during World War II. The Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation confirmed Romanchenko’s death confirmed on Twitter on Monday.
The foundation said Romanchenko’s granddaughter told them the multi-storey building he lived in had been hit by Russian shells, adding that they were “deeply disturbed” by the news of his death.
Contributor: The Associated Press