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Innocent victims slaughtered by Putin[1]

Jimie 2022. 3. 7. 11:35

Innocent victims slaughtered by Putin: The moment Ukrainian parents rush dying 18-month-old boy to hospital after he was hit by Russian shelling - as artillery also wipes out mother, her two children and five others while world watches in horror

  • Devastating images laid bare the horror of Russia's invasion of Ukraine as families attempt to flee country
  • Grieving parents of an 18-month-old boy weeping over their son's dead body after the toddler was killed
  • Comes as image showed mother and her children lying dead on a pavement after they were killed in Irpin
  • US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said t 'very credible reports' that Russia committed war crimes
  • Second attempt to evacuate refugees from Mariupol was scuppered again after the city was shelled
  • Follow all the latest updates on the Ukraine war by following MailOnline's live blog here


PUBLISHED: 07:49 AEDT, 7 March 2022 | UPDATED: 12:46 AEDT, 7 March 2022



This is the moment the grieving parents of an 18-month-old boy rushed into hospital weeping over their son's dead body after the toddler was killed by Russian shelling - as Russian forces spent another day shelling Ukrainian civilians yesterday killing at least eight.

The 18-month-old boy named Kirill was fatally wounded in the the southern city of Mariupol after Russian forces shelled Ukraine's second city just minutes into an agreed ceasefire on Saturday.

Kirill's devastated mother Marina Yatsko and her boyfriend Fedor were later seen grieving as they embraced their son's lifeless body laid out on a stretcher in the besieged city.

And yesterday, in some of the most harrowing scenes of the war so far, the bodies of those killed in the mortar attack were seen lying motionless on a road.

Beside them were suitcases packed ahead of what they hoped would be a journey to safety. There was even a pet carrier among the luggage.

Three members of the same family were among those killed in the attack by Vladimir Putin's forces on Irpin, a town 12 miles from Kyiv.

Horrific images captured the terrifying experience of mothers, fathers, grandparents and children running from Russian artillery fire.

On the 11th day of the conflict, men, women and children were needlessly targeted and their neighbourhoods reduced to ruins.

Across Ukraine, ceasefires brokered by the Red Cross were breached and humanitarian corridors were closed. The UK Government said Russia was targeting 'populated areas' to break the resistance of the Ukrainian people.

The use of this heinous tactic was beyond dispute last night despite Putin's denials and the disinformation emitting from Moscow.

Ukrainians are dying in towns and cities which, before February 24 when the invasion began, hardly anyone in Britain had heard of.

Less than a fortnight later, places such as Mariupol and Irpin are becoming horribly familiar as each day brings further suffering.

There were also scenes of devastation after attacks on residential areas in the city of Ovruch and village of Markhalivka, which are both close to Kyiv.

Almost 1,000 children have already been wounded, according to Ukraine's government, while 331 civilians, including at least 28 children, have been killed.

The United Nations suggested yesterday that these figures will need to be readjusted upwards as devastated residential areas are thoroughly searched.


The total number of people fleeing Ukraine also passed 1.5million yesterday, making it Europe's fastest growing refugee crisis since the Second World War.


In a shocking video recorded yesterday, families in Irpin were seen dragging suitcases along a woodland path.

They looked cold and tired, their neighbourhood having been bombed repeatedly by the Russians over recent days and nights.

Bent over beneath the weight of their belongings they made steady progress on the long journeys to safety. Suddenly, the dull thud of a bomb dropping nearby shatters the silence.

Instinctively, the men, women and children of all ages fall to the ground. Ukrainian soldiers shout instructions, hurrying them along.

As a fallen tree blocks their progress, the troops carry children over the trunk. Behind them a building where the Russian ordnance landed is ablaze. They are urged to run as the soldiers fear another shell will land any second.

But they struggle with their heavy loads, their bodies bent double by rucksacks and bulging carrier bags, their treasured belongings stuffed inside.

One father protectively clutches his young daughter against his shoulder, another carries a baby in his arms as they speed up. The troops' instincts prove correct and there is another thud as the ground shakes beneath their feet.

Older members of the fleeing group are gasping for breath and must be lifted by the soldiers over a roadside barrier. But finally they make it to a bus and clamber inside as snow gently falls.

They look utterly exhausted – spent of physical and emotional energy. They were among the lucky ones as at least eight people were killed while attempting to leave Irpin yesterday.

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Devastating images show the father of an 18-month-old boy named Kirill running into a hospital in Ukraine with his dying son

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Residents frantically look for cover as they escape from the town of Irpin in Ukraine after heavy shelling hit the region

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A man and a child escape from the town of Irpin, after heavy shelling on the only escape route used by locals

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Local residents run for cover as they escape from the town of Irpin, after heavy shelling by Russian forces

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Groups of people flee the city of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv, after the region faced heavy bombardment from Kremlin forces

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A local resident stands near a house on fire after heavy shelling by Russian forces on the region

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A mother and two children were killed and the father was wounded by a mortar shell in Irpin near Kyiv on Sunday as hundreds of civilians sought safety

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A person who was trying to flee with his family, lies on the ground after the shelling of the Russian army at the evacuation point of Irpin

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Plumes of smoke rise into the air after a factory and a store are left burning after being bombarded in Irpin

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The grieving parents embraced their son's lifeless body laid out on a stretcher in the besieged city after the region came under shelling from Russian forces

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Images have laid bare the barbarity and horror of Russia's invasion of Ukraine as the parents of 18-month-old Kirill were seen grieving for their son after the toddler was killed by Russian shelling

According to reports, some of those who died belonged to the same family. Disturbing pictures showed victims lying in the middle of a road, their bodies wrapped up against the winter chill.

Ukraine war latest: At a glance

  • Boris Johnson has drawn up a six-point plan to defeat Vladimir Putin as he moves to assume leadership of global efforts to end the horror of war in Ukraine.
  • A second attempt to evacuate Mariupol failed today after Ukraine accused the Russians of shelling the city as citizens attempted to flee through a 'humanitarian corridor'.
  • More than 1.5million refugees have now fled Ukraine for neighbouring countries since Vladimir Putin invaded, United Nations figures have shown.
  • Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says missiles have struck and completely destroyed Vinnytsia regional airport, and urges NATO to close the airspace and make a no-fly zone.
  • The Pope deplored 'rivers of blood' in Ukraine as he demanded humanitarian corridors.
  • Elon Musk held a video call with Volodymyr Zelensky as he promised to bolster his Starlink satellite support for the war-torn country, as he tweeted: 'Hold strong Ukraine.'
  • A Ukrainian peace negotiator is reported to have been shot dead amid claims he might have been a spy for the Russians. The reports are unconfirmed.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday held new telephone talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin over Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the Elysee said.
  • More than 1,700 people in cities across Russia have been detained while taking part in anti-war protests against the country's invasion of Ukraine, a monitor said, more than a week after the assault began.
  • Russian pilots have been filmed saying they were 'following orders' after their aircraft was shot down over Ukraine.
  • The deputy minister of defence for Belarus has submitted his resignation and claimed he cannot support the current Russian invasion of Ukraine.
  • BBC World News has been taken OFF AIR in Russia – two days after Putin approved law that could lock up journalists for 15 years for spreading 'fake information'.

The town, to the north-west of Kyiv, is in Russia's firing line because of its proximity to Hostomel airfield – the scene of intense fighting since the first day of the campaign.

Yesterday, Russian mortar rounds targeted a damaged bridge being used as a makeshift shelter by residents of the town.

Last night, Ukrainian military sources insisted none of their soldiers were near the civilians as they sought to escape the shelling. Thousands of people have been seeking to leave Irpin and the nearby towns of Hostomel and Bucha because of the fighting.

Following yesterday's attacks, Kyiv's military commander Oleksiy Kuleba said: 'Unfortunately because there is not a ceasefire people cannot get out.'


Meanwhile, a fresh attempt to evacuate civilians from the southern city of Mariupol began at 10am UK time yesterday.

Under an agreement brokered by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), refugees had five hours to flee westwards along humanitarian corridors.

But soon after the proposed start time, the city council said the attempt was not possible due to 'Russian shelling'. Later, the ICRC revealed the two sides had failed to agree on who could be evacuated, whether aid could be brought in and what routes could be used.

It stopped short of confirming Ukrainian reports the Russians breached the evacuation agreement. Instead, the ICRC presented a more neutral assessment, indicating 'hostilities resumed' on the Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia road.

Its teams remained in Mariupol last night to secure a third attempt to help around 200,000 civilians flee. A separate ceasefire also failed yesterday in the nearby city of Volnovakha, which has also been under bombardment.

The ICRC hoped 15,000 residents would be able to escape. But only an estimated 400 refugees managed to flee before Ukrainian reports suggested the Russians had breached the ceasefire. Commenting on the breached ceasefire, UK's Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: 'Russian generals have sunk to a new low. The world can see them for what they are. Shelling civilians is not a mark of a real soldier but a coward.'

In temperatures of -2C (28F), Mariupol has been without heating and electricity since Thursday. The Russians cut off internet and mobile telephone communications on the same day.

There were reports over the weekend of food and fresh water supplies running low inside the city. The aid agency Doctors Without Borders described the situation as 'catastrophic' and urged both sides to reach an agreement.

Local mayor Vadym Boychenko has likened the encirclement of Mariupol to the deadly Nazi siege of Volgograd – then Stalingrad – during the Second World War.

Last night, he said: 'They're destroying us. They will not even give us the opportunity to count the wounded and the dead because the shelling does not stop.'

Mariupol is strategically significant due to its port. Capturing the city would allow Russia's Black Sea fleet to bring ashore much needed supplies.

Today US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said there are 'very credible reports' that Russia had committed war crimes during its invasion of Ukraine - particularly in attacking civilians.

It came as a second attempt to evacuate refugees from Mariupol was scuppered again after the city was shelled just minutes into an agreed ceasefire.

Some 400,000 residents were hoped to be evacuated from 12pm today, with an initial agreement in place until 9pm, but residents are now having to take cover in bomb shelters without electricity and water.

It followed similar attempts on Saturday when plans to evacuate refugees were halted when shelling recommenced 45 minutes into a ceasefire.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said: 'Amid devastating scenes of human suffering in Mariupol, a second attempt today to start evacuating an estimated 200,000 people out of the city came to a halt.

'The failed attempts yesterday and today underscore the absence of a detailed and functioning agreement between the parties to the conflict.'

However, in a telephone call with French President Emmanual Macron, Putin blamed Kyiv for the failed evacuations.

Putin instead claimed 'Ukrainian nationalists' prevented civilians and foreign citizens from leaving the port city and neighbouring Volnovakha.

But Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky today warned that Russian forces are preparing to shell Odessa - a historic port city on the Black Sea coast.

In a video address, the Ukrainian leader said: 'They are preparing to bomb Odessa.


'Russians have always come to Odessa. They have always felt only warmth in Odessa. Only sincerity. And now what? Bombs against Odessa? Artillery against Odessa? Missiles against Odessa?

'It will be a war crime. It will be a historical crime.'

Almost a million people live in Odessa, a cosmopolitan harbour on Ukraine's southern coast with both Ukrainian and Russian speakers and Bulgarian and Jewish minorities.

Analysts have previously said that taking Odessa would be a huge strategic victory and would give Russia a chokehold on Ukraine's economy.

Russia has made progress in southern Ukraine since its invasion 11 days ago, overrunning the city of Kherson and shelling the port of Mariupol, but Odessa has so far been largely spared.

Separately, on Sunday, the head of Kyiv-controlled Lugansk regional administration, said a train would be organised to evacuate women, children and the elderly from Lysychansk.

Lysychansk is near the frontline between Ukrainian forces and Moscow-backed separatists, who are fighting to link up with the Russian forces and control the entire southeast.

If Russian forces succeed in capturing Mariupol which held out against rebel forces in the previous 2014 conflict, they will control Ukraine's entire Azov Sea coast.

This would give them a land bridge from Russia to Russian-annexed Crimea and an important supply route and port if they decide to push north in a bid to take all of eastern Ukraine.

But although the Russian bombardment of Ukraine thus far has resulted in widespread destruction and considerable civilian casualties, Ukraine's armed forces and territorial defence units have also inflicted major losses on Russia's air force.

Today footage showed the moment an alleged Russian jet was shot down over Ukraine's second city Kharkiv earlier today.

Oleg Synegubov, the regional governor of Kharkiv, claimed that the Russian Su-25 fighter was destroyed by Kharkiv's Air Defence Forces, which was later confirmed by the Kyiv Independent.

Kharkiv is one of the cities worst-hit by Russian bombing campaigns in recent days, after Putin ordered his forces to engage in sustained shelling of several locations across the country.

Kyiv reported late last night that they have downed a total of 44 Russian planes and 44 helicopters in the past eleven days, providing further evidence of Russia's failure to gain air superiority – a tactical advantage that Putin thought would be achieved on the first day of the war.

Russia has launched 600 missiles since start of invasion, US defence official says

The United States does not believe a Russian amphibious assault in or near the Ukrainian city of Odessa is imminent, a senior U.S. defense official said on Sunday, amid growing concern about a potential attack on the city.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, estimated Russia had launched about 600 missiles since the start of the invasion and deployed into Ukraine about 95% of combat forces it had pre-staged outside of the country.

Russian forces continued to try to advance and isolate Kyiv, Kharkhiv and Chernihiv and are meeting 'strong Ukrainian resistance,' the official said



The Armed Forces Air Command reported early this morning that one Su-25 fighter, two Su-34 fighter-bombers, two Su-30 SM planes, and three helicopters were shot down yesterday alone.

On Saturday, Kyiv cancelled a planned evacuation of more than 200,000 civilians from Mariupol and Volnovakha on Saturday after Moscow ignored a promised ceasefire and continued pounding the strategic port city.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's office said that talks were underway to establish a ceasefire and ensure the humanitarian corridor originally agreed for five hours between 12pm and 5pm Moscow time after local authorities told people to shelter.

Mariupol's deputy mayor Serhiy Orlov told the BBC: 'The Russians are continuing to bomb us and use artillery. It is crazy. There is no ceasefire in Mariupol and there is no ceasefire all along the route. Our civilians are ready to escape but they cannot escape under shelling.'

An official told NPR: 'When the people organised in evacuation points, they [Russians] started attack on evacuation points. Not all the city. Just evacuation points.'

But Russia's defence ministry claimed that the firing came from inside both communities against Kremlin positions, that no one was using the two humanitarian corridors provided, and that Ukraine's 'nationalists' had prevented civilians from leaving, RIA news agency reported.

In a defiant address on Saturday morning, Zelensky urged Ukrainians to continue fighting Putin's forces.

Ukraine's comic-turned-wartime president then thundered 'what more is needed' to convince Joe Biden to enforce a no-fly zone – an action which could widen the war and suck in NATO.

Ukraine's military claims that it has killed around 10,000 Russian troops since the invasion on February 24 – far beyond the 498 claimed by Moscow. And Kyiv estimates that Russian losses also include 269 tanks, 105 artillery systems, 39 aircraft, 40 helicopters and 409 vehicles.

The Russian defence ministry said on Saturday that its units had opened humanitarian corridors near the two cities encircled by its troops for five hours between 12pm and 5pm Moscow time, Russia's RIA news agency reported.

In Mariupol, citizens would be allowed to leave during a five-hour window, it quoted the city's officials as saying. The Russian defence ministry said a broad offensive would then continue in Ukraine, RIA said.

The Ukrainian government said the plan was to evacuate around 200,000 people from Mariupol and 15,000 from Volnovakha, and the Red Cross would be the ceasefire's guarantor.

The evacuation would have been seen as a prelude to a final assault that, if successful, would see the Russian army push north from occupied Crimea and link up with their forces from the east and take control of Ukraine's coast on the Sea of Azov.

Civilians spoke on Saturday of how the corridor collapsed as the evacuates went nowhere thanks to - according to Ukrainian officials - Russian forces breaking the ceasefire.

'I'm right now in Mariupol, I'm on the street, I can hear shelling every three to five minutes,' Alexander, a 44-year-old engineer and local, told the BBC.

'I can see cars of people who tried to flee and they are coming back. It is chaos.' The evacuation was postponed just three hours before it was due to begin.

Since Russia invaded on February 24, Moscow has pummelled Ukrainian cities, with officials reporting hundreds of civilians killed.

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A medical worker was also seen sitting on the hospital floor looking shocked and bereft after being unable to save the 18-month-old's life

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People who just evacuated from Irpin rush through the checkpoint on Sunday. It is understood three civilians were killed and others were wounded as Russian mortar rounds landed between Irpin and Kyiv this morning

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Former heavy weight boxing champion Vladimir Klitschko visits a blockpost near Kyiv, Ukraine, earlier today

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People cross on an improvised path under a bridge that was destroyed by a Russian airstrike, while fleeing the town of Irpin, Ukraine, on Saturday


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People who were just evacuated from Irpin rush through the checkpoint on Sunday. It is understood three civilians were killed and others were wounded as Russian mortar rounds landed between Irpin and Kyiv this morning

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A woman who has just been safely evacuated from Irpin prays for those people who have stayed in the city as it is targeted by Russian shells

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People cross on an improvised path under a bridge that was destroyed by a Russian airstrike, while fleeing the town of Irpin, Ukraine, on Saturday

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People lie on the floor of a hospital during shelling by Russian forces in Mariupol, March 4, 2022

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A medical worker treats a man who is wounded by shelling in a hospital in Mariupol, March 4, 2022

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People place a man in a wheelchair in the back of an SUV after crossing on an improvised path under a bridge that was destroyed by a Russian airstrike, as people flee the town of Irpin, Ukraine, on Saturday

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Heartbreaking images from Ukraine have emerged showing bloodied civilians (pictured in Chuhuiv, eastern Ukraine) staggering through the streets despite Russian President Vladimir Putin claiming he declared war to 'protect civilians' after ordering an all out invasion this morning

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Images on social media show a long queue of civilians evacuating Mariupol as they head west during a planned ceasefire


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Plumes of smoke rise after shelling by Russian forces in Mariupol, Ukraine, on March 4, 2022,

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As residents continue to evacuate across cities in Ukraine, heartbreaking footage shows that civilians are being attacked with heavy gunfire and missiles in Irpin, 20 kilometres north-west of Kyiv

Europe's largest atomic power plant has even come under attack sparking fears of a catastrophic nuclear accident. But Russia has so far only seized two key cities, Berdiansk and Kherson on Ukraine's southern Black Sea coast.

Capturing Mariupol represents a bigger prize for Russian forces as it would deal a severe blow to Ukraine's maritime access and connect with troops coming from annexed Crimea and the Donbas.

Zelensky said on Saturday: 'We managed to get an agreement to provide assistance to those cities in Ukraine that are in the dire and worst situation, Mariupol and Volnovakha, to save children and women and older people. To provide medication and food to those who stay there in those places.

Raab rules out no-fly zone in Ukraine

Dominic Raab again ruled out imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine, saying this would lead to a 'massive escalation' and would feed into the Russian president's narrative.

He told Sky News's Trevor Phillips on Sunday programme: 'We're not going to get ourselves into a direct military conflict with Putin because that would be a massive escalation, but also that feeds Putin's narrative.

'Putin wants to say that he's actually in a struggle with the west - he's not'.

He called no-fly zones 'very difficult, very challenging' and said 'we will do everything short of that to support Ukrainians'.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said his party supports the Government but he wants to see them going 'further and faster'.

Sir Keir told ITV News: 'Everybody understands why we can't have a no-fly zone, why direct military assistance is not possible. That means sanctions have to be the strongest we have ever seen, the most effective we've ever seen. And in order for sanctions to work, you need to know what property the oligarchs have got here in the United Kingdom.


'Those people willing to leave these places should be able to do so now using the humanitarian corridor, but those who can should continue fighting.

'We do everything we can on our side to make sure this agreement works, regarding the humanitarian corridors and we will see if we can move even further about our negotiations with Russia.'

Aid agencies have warned of an unfolding humanitarian disaster as food, water and medical supplies run short and refugees stream into western Ukraine and neighbouring European countries.

In the southeastern port city of Mariupol – whose capture would be a key prize for Russia – there is no water, heat or electricity and food is running out, according to Mayor Vadym Boychenko. 'We are simply being destroyed,' he said.

The siege of Mariupol came as more Russian forces inched closer to Kyiv, encountering stiff resistance and shelling the western suburbs and the northern town of Chernihiv, where there have been heavy civilian casualties in recent days.

In a bitter and emotional speech late on Friday, Zelensky lashed out at NATO powers for refusing to impose a no-fly zone over his country, warning that 'all the people who die from this day forward will also die because of you'. He claimed the West's hesitancy will fully untie Russia's hands as it escalates its air attack.

NATO says a no-fly zone could provoke widespread war in Europe with nuclear-armed Russia. But as the United States and other NATO members send weapons for Kyiv and more than 1million refugees spill through the continent, the conflict is already drawing in countries far beyond Ukraine's borders.

And Putin has warned that Moscow would consider any third-party declaration of a no-fly zone over Ukraine as 'participation in the armed conflict'.

Speaking at a meeting with female pilots on Saturday, Putin said Russia would view 'any move in this direction' as an intervention that 'will pose a threat to our service members'.

'That very second, we will view them as participants of the military conflict, and it would not matter what members they are,' he said.

In an address, Zelensky said NATO 'has given the green light to the bombing of Ukrainian cities and villages', warning that 'the history of Europe will remember this forever'. In a separate video message to anti-war protesters in several European cities, he said: 'If we fall, you will fall'.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg had earlier ruled out the possibility of a no-fly zone, saying Western planes would have to shoot down Russian aircraft.

In a warning of a hunger crisis yet to come, the UN World Food Programme says millions of people inside Ukraine, a major global wheat supplier, will need food aid 'immediately'. The UN Security Council will hold an open meeting Monday on the worsening humanitarian situation.

More than 840 children have been wounded in the war, and 28 have been killed, according to Ukraine's government. A total of 331 civilians had been confirmed killed but the true number is probably much higher, the UN human rights office said.

Biden has dismissed the notion of no-fly zones because of the risk of open conflict between NATO and Russian forces, despite opinion polling showing that a growing number of Americans want the US to take more aggressive action against the Kremlin.

Russia has faced an unprecedented Western diplomatic, economic and cultural boycott since its invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

It comes as Germany said it would build a liquefied natural gas terminal on its North Sea coast, as it seeks to reduce its reliance on Russian gas imports.

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Local resident walks through the rubble as a result of shelling in Markhalivka, March 5, 2022

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Debris are scattered around the hole in a road at the site where several houses have been damaged by an explosion, following an air strike in Bila Tserkva, Kyiv Oblast, March 5, 2022

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Police and State Emergency Service (SES) officers work at the scene where several houses have been damaged by an explosion, following an air strike in Bila Tserkva, Kyiv Oblast, March 5, 2022


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Ukrainians crowd under a destroyed bridge as they try to flee crossing the Irpin river in the outskirts of Kyiv, March 5, 2022

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People crowd as they try to get on a train to Lviv at Kyiv station, Ukraine, March 4, 2022

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People line up to be drafted into the army in Lviv, Ukraine, March 5, 2022

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A Ukrainian serviceman stands near a captured Russian tank, in the north of the Kharkiv region, March 4, 2022

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Since Russia invaded on February 24, Moscow has pummelled Ukrainian cities, with officials reporting hundreds of civilians killed. Europe's largest atomic power plant came under attack sparking fears of a catastrophic nuclear accident. But Russia has so far only seized two key cities, Berdiansk and Kherson. Capturing Mariupol represents a bigger prize for Russia as it would deal a severe blow to Ukraine's maritime access and connect with troops coming from annexed Crimea and the Donbas


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Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky has accused the West of abandoning millions of his people to their deaths


The roads on Kyiv's western edge bear witness to a human tragedy whose scale grows ever greater as Russia's assault on the Ukrainian capital becomes more determined and indiscriminate.

'We must prepare now for even darker days ahead': Boris Johnson says the West has 'failed to learn the lessons of Russian behaviour' that led to Ukraine invasion

The West has 'failed to learn the lessons of Russian behaviour' that have led to the invasion of Ukraine, the Prime Minister said as he warned world leaders: 'We need to prepare now for even darker days ahead.'

In a nearly 1,300-word essay in the New York Times published on Sunday, Boris Johnson appealed to his counterparts to do more to resist the normalisation of the Russian offensive.

'Have we done enough for Ukraine? The honest answer is no,' he wrote, as he set out a six-point plan which he thinks will tackle Russian President Vladimir Putin's advance.

Mr Johnson said 'never in my life have I seen an international crisis where the dividing line between right and wrong has been so stark', as he insisted world leaders 'must not allow anyone in the Kremlin to get away with misrepresenting our intentions to find post-facto justification for their war of choice'.

Mr Putin has repeatedly tried to blame fears over the expansion of Nato as a reason for launching the attack on Ukraine.

But Mr Johnson said: 'The truth is that Ukraine had no serious prospect of Nato membership in the near future.

'This is not a Nato conflict and it will not become one. No ally has sent combat troops to Ukraine.

'We were ready to respond to Russia's stated security concerns through negotiation. I and many other Western leaders have spoken to President Putin to understand his perspective.

'It was now clear diplomacy never had a chance. But it is precisely because of our respect for Russia that we find the actions of the Putin regime so unconscionable.'

Mr Johnson called on leaders to mobilise an 'international humanitarian coalition' for Ukraine and support the country 'in its efforts to provide for its own self-defence'.

The economic pressure on the Kremlin should be ratcheted up, he said, and leaders must resist the 'creeping normalisation' of what Russia is doing in Ukraine.

'We have failed to learn the lessons of Russian behaviour that have led to this point,' he wrote.

'No-one can say we were not warned: we saw what Russia did in Georgia in 2008, Ukraine in 2014 and even on the streets of the British city of Salisbury. And I know from speaking to my counterparts on recent visits to Poland and Estonia just how acutely they feel the threat.'

Mr Johnson also said while diplomatic paths to resolving the war must be pursued, this could only be done with the full participation of the 'legitimate Government of Ukraine'.

He added that there also needs to be a rapid campaign to strengthen security and resilience across the Euro-Atlantic area.

'It is no longer enough to express warm platitudes about the rules-based international order,' he said.

Mr Johnson discussed his plans with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a phone call on Sunday afternoon, where he said 'the British people stand fully behind the Ukrainian people'.

Shadow defence secretary John Healey said the Prime Minister must match his rhetoric with action.

He told Times Radio: 'In many ways, some of our allies could reasonably turn around and say 'well it's all very well for you, Boris Johnson, but you've got to now match some of your tough rhetoric with your own action, particularly on humanitarian assistance, on diplomacy and on sanctions'.'



The Russian forces' initial assault on Kyiv – launched with missile strikes and an airborne assault on an airbase – stalled at the end of last week.

The two sides have since been locked in a long-range shelling war along Kyiv's outskirts that has put working class towns such as Bucha and Irpin in the line of fire.

But people fleeing the two towns said their resolve to stay broke down when Russian warplanes started circling overhead and dropping bombs on Friday.

'Warplanes. They are bombing residential areas – schools, churches, big buildings, everything,' accountant Natalia Dydenko said after a quick glance back at the destruction she left behind.

The 58-year-old was one of thousands of people walking with their children and whatever belongings they could carry down a road leading toward central Kyiv and away from the front.

The metric booms of Russia bombs dropped from warplanes circling over Bucha and Irpin provided a morbid backdrop for their desperate march.

'It began two days ago. It wasn't as heavy before, but two days ago it started getting really heavy,' she said.

People were trying to get to the remains of a bridge leading to Kyiv over the Irpin River which Ukrainian forces blew up last week to stall the Russian advance.

Ukrainian soldiers with assault rifles swinging off their shoulders helped wheelchair-bound pensioners and mothers with prams cross a few wooden planks tossed over the river on Saturday.

Thousands of people massed in stony silence under the shattered remains of the original concrete bridge while awaiting their turn to pass.

A group of soldiers was digging anti-tank missile launchers into foxholes on the Kyiv side of the river.

Another group was preparing new supplies of shoulder-launched missiles and Kalashnikovs that could be ferried back across the wooden planks toward the front.

A long-range missile whistled overhead. A hollow thud about half a minute later signalled still more destruction somewhere in the general vicinity of northern Kyiv.

'We were waiting it out. But yesterday, when a plane flew by and dropped something on us, we simply had to run,' said Galina Vasylchenko, walking with her 30-year-old daughter toward the makeshift bridge.

A supermarket and petrol station that on Friday stood at a large junction on the border between Bucha and Irpin was just ruins on Saturday.

Soldiers were ushering the fleeing residents onto buses on the Kyiv side of the Irpin River because walking on that part of the city's streets was no longer safe. Thousands more piled their belongings into cars and tried to get out of Irpin by taking a circuitous route that leads to Kyiv's main train station from the southwest.

A queue of cars stretching at least 3 miles snaked its way past dozens of sandbagged checkpoints manned by armed Ukrainian volunteers in western Kyiv on Saturday.

Many had signs reading 'children' taped to their windshields.

The White House on Friday said it was weighing cuts to US imports of Russian oil, though it is proceeding cautiously, concerned about a spike in gasoline prices that would add to already high inflation.

On Friday, the United States flew B-52 Stratofortress bombers over NATO's eastern flank above Romania, exercising with the German and Romanian militaries.

The largest strategic bombers in the US Air Force took off from RAF Fairford, a Royal Air Force station in England, and conducted 'close air support and integration mission training', according to a statement from US Air Forces in Europe. The B-52s then flew to Romania, where they conducted more close air support training as part of the Bomber Task Force (BTF) missions.

The White House announced that US Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Poland and Romania next week to meet with officials to discuss the Russian invasion of Ukraine and impact the war is having on the region.

Harris' agenda for the March 9-11 visit to Warsaw and Bucharest is expected to centre on economic, security and humanitarian assistance for Ukraine.

'The Vice President's meetings will also focus on how the United States can further support Ukraine's neighbours as they welcome and care for refugees fleeing violence,' Harris' deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh said.

Biden spoke on Friday with Poland's President Andrzej Duda. Poland is assisting about 700,000 Ukrainians and others who have fled the war so far. The United States has also more than doubled its military presence in Poland, which is a member of NATO, to 9,000 troops in recent weeks.

While the vast Russian armoured column threatening Kyiv remained stalled outside the capital, Putin's military has launched hundreds of missiles and artillery attacks on cities and other sites across the country.

Russian forces did not make significant progress Friday in their offensive to sever Ukraine's access to the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, which would deal a severe blow to its economy. There were also no changes in the north and the east, where the Russian offensive has stalled, meeting fierce Ukrainian resistance.

Invading Russian troops have blockaded the strategic Ukrainian port city Mariupol, its mayor announced Saturday, as Moscow and Kyiv aimed to hold new talks over the weekend.

While laying siege to Mariupol for days, Russian forces also cut its electricity, food, water, heating and transportation in the depths of winter, prompting comparisons to the Nazi blockade of Leningrad in World War II.

Ukraine's foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba claimed that Russian troops have raped women in cities they have already captured. He did not give evidence to back his claim, but Ukrainian media reported that 11 cases of rape had been reported in Kherson, the only major city captured by Russia after more than a week of fighting.

Earlier, it was revealed that no radiation was released from a Russian attack at Europe's biggest nuclear power plant in Ukraine.

The International Atomic Energy Agency's director-general, Rafael Mariano Grossi, said on Friday the building hit by a Russian 'projectile' at the Zaporizhzhia plant was 'not part of the reactor' but instead a training centre at the plant.

Nuclear officials from Sweden to China said no radiation spikes had been reported, as did Grossi.

Ukrainian officials have said Russian troops took control of the overall site, but the plant's staff were continuing to ensure its operations. Grossi said the Ukrainians were in control of the reactor.

Mother and her baby arrive at Polish border after fleeing Ukraine
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A child has a drink at the border crossing in Medyka, Poland, Saturday, March 5, 2022, after fleeing from Ukraine


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People wait to board a train towards Poland as they flee Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Lviv, March 5, 2022