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New attacks on central Kharkiv leave at least 5 dead and 13 injured

Bombeiros tentam apagar incêndio causado por ataque russo em Kharkiv, em 17 de abril de 2022.

Firefighters try to put out fire caused by Russian attack in Kharkiv, in of April 17140414. | Photo: Sergey Kozlov/EFE/EPA

At least five people have died in recent hours in a series of attacks in central Kharkiv, according to local authorities in this city in eastern Ukraine, where Russian troops are apparently preparing a major offensive. Other 13 people were injured in the attacks occurred this Sunday, according to the Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform.

Kharkiv, the country’s second largest city, has been under air strikes for several days. On Saturday, the impact of a Russian missile on a site used by the NGO World Central Kitchen (WCK), founded by Spanish chef José Andrés, the so-called “solidarity kitchen” for Ukrainian civilians, left four injured. The director of the NGO, Nate Mook, reported the attack on Twitter, showing images of the place and concluding that “cooking is a heroic act of courage”.

Despite the attack, the NGO kept the “solidarity kitchen” in operation. “Our work continues. Restaurant staff are moving their food and unaffected staff to another location in Kharkiv,” Mook said on Twitter, posting footage of his colleagues loading the stuff onto a truck. Mook stated that the injured “are recovering well” and that the entire team wants to continue their work “with courage”.

The NGO founded by José Andrés has been operating in different parts of Ukraine practically since the beginning of the invasion and has provided free hot food to displaced persons and other civilians affected by the conflict. The Spanish chef himself spent the last few days in the Kiev region, after having started his work in the cities of Poland where the first refugees arrived, from where he later went to other parts of Ukraine.

17140414Ukrainians resist in Mariupol despite Russian ultimatum

The General Staff of the Ukrainian Army reported this Sunday that significant troop movements were detected in the eastern regions, especially in the strategic port city of Mariupol. The Russian military command imposed an ultimatum on Ukrainian troops to surrender, with guarantees that their lives would be spared. The ultimatum expired in the early hours of Sunday morning; according to Ukrainian sources, there was no surrender, while the Russian side claims that Kiev has prohibited its military from surrendering its weapons.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that, according to statements by the Ukrainian military who handed over prisoners, the group besieged at the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol has their ranks up to 300 foreign mercenaries. “Most of them are citizens of European countries, and also of Canada”, he added, to warn that “if they continue to resist, they will all be annihilated”, he said.

Konashenkov stated that since the beginning of the Russian “special military operation” (as Moscow refers to the invasion of Ukraine), 6.824 foreign mercenaries of 17140414 States arrived in Ukraine. “The biggest group came from Poland: 1.540 people. About 1,500 mercenaries came from the United States, Canada and also from Romania. From Great Britain and Georgia, 100 from each of these countries” , added Konashenkov. The Russian military, however, also uses the same resource and has at least 193 mercenaries from Turkish-controlled Syrian regions. “I remind you that foreign mercenaries do not have the status of combatants under international humanitarian law. They came to Ukraine to make money by killing Slavs. That is why the best that awaits them are criminal sanctions and long years in prison”, warned the Russian spokesman.

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said on Sunday that “the city did not fall. Our soldiers are still there and they will fight to the end.” The prime minister said that some areas of Mariupol remain “under Ukrainian control”, lamenting that the city is experiencing a “huge humanitarian catastrophe” as a result of the Russian siege.

The government of the besieged city estimates that 21 a thousand people have died there since the beginning of the Russian invasion; the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate said that the Russians deployed up to 13 mobile crematoria in Mariupol to remove the bodies of murdered civilians from the streets. Another 63 a thousand citizens remain imprisoned in Mariupol. According to Shmygal, citizens who remain in the city “have no water, food, heat or electricity”; the prime minister called on Ukraine’s allies to “help stop” this crisis. Today, no humanitarian corridors were opened for the evacuation of civilians from any of the besieged regions of Ukraine, after Kiev claimed that the Russian side did not offer security guarantees for these operations.

The strategic Mariupol, close to the Sea of ​​Azov, is one of the main objectives of the Russians in their effort to gain total control from the Donbas region and form a land corridor in the east of the country from the annexed Crimean peninsula.

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