In Ukraine, Russian forces continue to weigh in on the beleaguered coastal city of Mariupol, fearing the city will soon fall to Russian hands.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that the bombardment of the city will not stop until Ukrainian troops surrender. He made the comments during a conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron, the BBC reported.
Russia then proposed a one-day ceasefire for Thursday, starting at 10 a.m. Ukrainian time, to allow people to travel west to Zaporizhzhia through the Russian-controlled port of Berdyansk.
Russian forces were “very, very close” to the center of the city, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.
“The place is just being structurally decimated by the onslaught of Russian airstrikes.”
The port city, which had a pre-war population of more than 400,000, was a strategic center for the Russian invasion of Ukraine that began five weeks ago and came under near-constant bombardment.
Mariupol has been targeted in an apparent Russian attempt to create a land bridge between the Crimean peninsula, which Russia seized from Ukraine in 2014, and pro-Russian breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine.
Nearly 5,000 people have been killed, the town hall estimated on Monday, and around 170,000 people remain trapped among the ruins without food, heat, electricity or running water. Many others have fled. Reuters was unable to verify the figures.
Russian forces have taken half of the strategic port city, an adviser to Zelensky said on Wednesday. Russia’s Defense Ministry said it was ready to observe a ceasefire in Mariupol on Thursday, Russian news agencies reported.
kyiv has accused Russia of not fully honoring its previous commitments. Moscow denies targeting civilians.
The BBC reported that Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk said Russian forces were still trying to take the town.
Safe escape corridors only worked sporadically at best.
Instead, residents who were unable to leave the city hide in the basements of buildings and prepare whatever food they can find in the open.
“We cook what we find at the neighbors. A little cabbage, a little more potatoes, we found tomato paste, beets, ”said former metallurgist Viktor. His group cooks using a basic barbecue and they sleep in a basement, which Viktor called their “peaceful oasis”.
“We have nowhere to shower, we drink water from God knows where,” said a woman named Lyudmila, who was in the basement with Viktor.
“It’s no life for a retiree,” she said, smiling sadly.