Ukraine war: Russia accused of blocking aid convoy as its forces continue bombardment of cities | World News

Around 150,000 Ukrainians have so far been evacuated through all humanitarian corridors – but an aid convoy into the besieged city of Mariupol is still being blocked, Ukrainian officials have said.

And while lines of negotiations between Kyiv and Moscow remain open, Russia is continuing a punishing bombardment of cities that the Red Cross said has created “nothing short of a nightmare” for civilians.

“Everyone is waiting for news. We will definitely report in the evening,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a new video address.

Ukraine live updates as Ukraine ‘shoots down four Russian planes’

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Special Correspondent Alex Crawford reports from Kyiv, where a residential block was hit by artillery overnight.

However, in Kyiv Ukrainian officials said Russian forces shelled several suburbs, on the 19th day of the invasion.

Sky’s special correspondent Alex Crawford has been reporting from a nine-storey apartment building in a northern district of the city which was hit by artillery early on Monday morning, destroying apartments on several floors and starting a fire.

Firefighters could be seen helping people retrieve their belongings from the burnt out apartments with ladders and other equipment.

At least two people are believed to have been killed in the attack.

In other developments

A map showing Russian advances on Day 19 of the war
A map showing Russian advances on Day 19 of the war

Later, reporting from the scene of an intercepted missile attack close to the city center where a 59-year-old man was killed, Crawford spoke to local MP Alex Goncharenko who called for urgent air support for Ukraine.

“If we will not stop Putin, tomorrow it will be Warsaw, tomorrow it will be Riga. And I do not know what will be next,” he said.

He added that he believed the Russians would not take Kyiv, but may destroy it.

“If they will penetrate the city, we will make hell here for them,” Mr Goncharenko said. When Crawford suggested they could make hell for the Ukrainians, he answered: “It is already hell for us.”

Authorities have said they are stockpiling food for two weeks for the estimated two million people who are still in the city.

People and medics help a wounded resident of a house destroyed by shelling as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine March 14, 2022. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
People and medics help a wounded resident in Kyiv

Elsewhere, Ukrainian authorities said two people died and seven were injured after Russian forces struck a plane factory in Kyiv, sparking a large fire.

The Antonov factory is Ukraine’s largest aircraft manufacturing plant and is best known for producing many of the world’s biggest cargo planes.

Shells also fell on the Kyiv suburbs of Irpin, Bucha and Hostomel, which have seen some of the worst fighting in Russia’s stalled attempt to take the capital, regional administration chief Oleksiy Kuleba said on Ukrainian television.

Mariupol ‘unblocked’, says Russia

The city of Mariupol has been unblocked and a mass evacuation of people has started, according to Russia’s defense ministry and local officials.

This was confirmed by Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister who said a convoy of 160 private cars was able to leave for the city of Zaporizhzhia.

A woman walks past a burning apartment building in Mariupol.  Peak: AP
Peak: AP

However, Iryna Vereshchuk said Russian shelling was preventing the delivery of aid to the city.

Civilians have been trapped in the Black Sea port city for more than two weeks and are running out of supplies after being surrounded by Russian forces, the Ukrainian authorities say.

“It is known that as of 1300 (1100 GMT) more than 160 private cars managed to leave,” the city council said in an online post.

“There is also confirmation that a ceasefire is currently holding along the humanitarian corridor that has been established.”

Ukrainian officials have estimated that 2,500 people have been killed in Mariupol since the start of the war.

And the mayor of Kharkiv has said the city had been under constant attack by Russian forces.

A fire officer helps people to move their possessions from the ruined apartments
A fire officer helps people to move their possessions from the ruined apartments

‘Ukraine is on fire’, says Ukrainian PM

In a televised address to the Council of Europe on Monday afternoon Denys Shmyhal said more than 12,000 Russian soldiers have died in Ukraine since the invasion started.

He accused Russia of having no values ​​and of being terrorists.

Damaged cars and buildings are seen, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Kharkiv, Ukraine March 14, 2022. REUTERS/Oleksandr Lapshyn
Damaged cars and buildings are seen in Kharkiv

Mr Shmyhal called for more support for Ukrainian forces to be able to fight, saying otherwise another world war will begin.

“Ukraine is on fire”, he said as he explained how hundreds of homes are without water, heat and light.

“We need to stop the aggression, until a nuclear disaster comes in, until all of Europe is on fire,” the PM said.

He echoed President Zelenskyy’s call for the skies over Ukraine to be closed to protect Ukrainian, European and global security.

President Zelenskyy warns of attack on NATO ‘homes’

It comes after an air strike on a military base 12 miles (20km) from the Polish border brought the war close to NATO’s doorstep.

Thirty-five people were killed and 134 injured in Sunday’s strike in Yavoriv, ​​which has long been used by Western experts to train Ukrainian soldiers.

President Zelenskyy has said “it’s only a matter of time” before Russia missiles hit the homes of people in NATO countries if a no-fly zone is not set up.

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Zelenskyy: ‘Only a matter of time before Russian missiles fall on your territory’

It came after Russia said Western military aid convoys – which mostly come via Poland – are now considered legitimate targets.

“Nothing was happening there that could threaten the territory of the Russian Federation,” said President Zelenskyy about the base attack.

“And only 20 kilometers away are NATO borders. Last year, I made a clear warning to NATO leaders that if there were no tough preventive sanctions against Russia, it would start a war. We were right.”

Poland’s deputy foreign minister told Sky News the attack was “highly proactive” and that Russia knows very well where the border is.

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The Ukrainian military has released footage said to show soldiers in combat with Russian troops in the village of Moshchun.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid told Sky News’ Kay Burley any infringement of Russia into a NATO country “will be a war with NATO”.

“If there was an attack on any NATO country, even just a single toe cap of a Russian soldier steps into NATO territory, it will be a war with NATO and NATO would respond.

“There would be a significant response from NATO if there was any kind of attack from Russia, we’ve been very, very clear on that.”

Kremlin says US and EU provoking it to attack cities

On Monday, the Kremlin said at the very start of the invasion Russian President Vladimir Putin asked the defense ministry not to storm major population centres.

A spokesperson said the US and EU are trying to provoke Russia into attacking cities

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Ukraine’s general prosecutor office said 90 children had been killed and more than 100 injured since the invasion began.

The EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said 2.6 million people have now fled Ukraine and predicted that up to five million people could become refugees.

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