The 40-mile convoy of Russian tanks and vehicles appeared to stall as it pushed toward the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, while civilian areas of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, were bombarded by Russian shells.
Despite signs that troops are running low on gas and food, Russia’s military advance has advanced to within 15 miles of Kyiv’s center, an American official told reporters Tuesday. Officials say that about 80% of the combat force deployed by President Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine has been deployed.
According to an official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity, Ukrainian resistance has been stymieing the advance. According to the official, it is possible that the Russians are pausing to reorganize and reassess their attack.
According to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, on Tuesday he had a telephone conversation with US President Joe Biden concerning Russian sanctions and Ukraine’s defense assistance. It was confirmed by the White House that they spoke for more than 30 minutes.
“We need to stop the aggressor as soon as possible,” Zelenskyy wrote in a tweet. “I really appreciate your support!” he added.
As part of his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night, Vice President Biden is expected to speak about the Ukrainian crisis. The video of the Vice President’s address can be viewed here.
A rocket attack on Kharkiv has killed and wounded at least 11 people, according to a statement by Interior Ministry adviser Anton Herashchenko, who also said that the death toll could rise. It was captured on closed-circuit television footage that a fireball engulfed a street in front of one building, and that several cars were seen rolling out of the rising smoke.
It is reported that hospital workers transferred a Kharkiv maternity ward to a bomb shelter earlier today. Pregnant women paced the cramped room while dozens of newborns cried in the background as mattresses were stacked up against the walls.
According to Zelenskyy, the attack on the main square of the city was a “blatant act of terror that wasn’t disguised at all.”. Nobody will forgive. Nobody will forget. What happened in Kharkiv was an act of war.”
According to Zelenskyy, the Russian shelling of civilian areas is a tactic used by Moscow to put pressure on Ukraine so that Kiev makes concessions. ‘With one side firing rocket artillery at another, it is impossible to reach a peace deal,’ he said.
There was a protest in Geneva when dozens of diplomats from the United States, Great Britain, and other European countries walked out in protest during the speech given by Sergei Lavrov, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, to the UN Human Rights Council and UN Conference on Disarmament.
Latest updates about Kharkiv:
- A number of international humanitarian groups have accused Russia of the use of cluster bombs, a class of bombs that open in the air and rain down multiple explosives over a broad area with little precision. However, Moscow denies these accusations.
- As sanctions imposed by the West threatened to drive up prices and reduce the quality of life for millions of ordinary Russians, people lined up in Moscow to withdraw money from the banks. As a result, the ruble depreciated to the point that it was worth less than a penny.
- In the past few months at least 677,00 refugees have fled the Ukraine into neighboring countries, with most of them going to Poland, according to Filippo Grandi, the U.N.’s high commissioner for refugees.
- During his address to the European parliament on Tuesday, Zelenskyy said that his country is striving to “become an equal member of your club. We have shown that, at the very least, we are the same as you.”
The U.S. State Department has closed its embassy in Belarus, a neighbor and friend of Russia. It also has allowed non-essential staff at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence in Moscow to leave the country for good.
The Swiss-based company that built the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that was supposed to transport natural gas from Russia to Germany before it was shut down by sanctions might declare bankruptcy, according to reports from Reuters.