The southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia, which has been serving as a safe haven for thousands of people fleeing the besieged port city of Mariupol, came under fire from Russian forces on Wednesday, Ukrainian officials said. “Civilian objects have been bombed for the first time in Zaporizhzhia,” the regional governor Alexander Starukh wrote on Telegram. “The rockets landed in the area of the Zaporozhye-2 railway station.” He said that there had been no casualties. Zaporizhzhia is situated some 230 kilometers (143 miles) northwest of Mariupol, which aid agencies say is facing a humanitarian catastrophe amid drastic water, food and power shortages. Russia denies targeting civilians.
Ukraine’s Kyiv hit by fresh shelling
Apartment buildings in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, have been hit by shrapnel from artillery fire, wounding two people, according to emergency services, as the city comes under intensified attack by Russian forces. “Two residential buildings were damaged in an overnight bombardment in the central part of Kyiv, Shevchenkivskyi district. Two people reported wounded, 35 evacuated,” the Ukrainian state emergency service said on Telegram. Journalists from the AFP news agency confirmed that several explosions took place in the city in the early morning on Wednesday. Kyiv was placed under curfew late on Tuesday, with its mayor speaking of a “difficult and dangerous moment.”
Marina Ovsyannikova, a Russian state television employee arrested for protesting live on-screen against the war in Ukraine, has said police subjected her to sleep deprivation during her detention. “These were very difficult days of my life because I literally went two full days without sleep; the interrogation lasted for more than 14 hours and they didn’t allow me to contact my family and close friends, didn’t provide any legal support,” Ovsyannikova said after she was released. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a briefing that Ovsyannikova’s action was “hooliganism.” So far, she has been fined about $270 (€246) but could end up facing a prison sentence. In her protest during a live news broadcast on Monday evening, Ovsyannikova held a poster saying, among other things, “Stop the war, don’t believe the propaganda, they are lying to you here.” Russia has introduced strict laws imposing possible 15-year prison sentences on those spreading what the Kremlin calls disinformation or “fake news” about Russia’s military. That includes calling Russia’s attack on Ukraine an invasion or a war.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is set to address the US Congress on Wednesday by video stream, the second such address in the past month. US President Joe Biden is expected to announce an additional $800 million (€729 million) in security assistance to Ukraine in the aftermath of Zelenskyy’s speech. This would bring the total announced over the last week up to $1 billion (€910 million), according to a White House official. Meanwhile, Zelenskyy told European leaders gathered in London on Tuesday that he realized NATO has no intention of accepting Ukraine, while still urging the alliance to enforce a no-fly zone over the country. Zelenskyy said in his Wednesday video address that Russia’s demands were becoming “more realistic,” following Tuesday cease-fire talks between the two countries. The two sides are expected to meet again on Wednesday.
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