According to the local governor, Serhiy Haidai, at least two persons were killed and four were injured in the shelling of the eastern Ukrainian town of Zolote on Sunday.
“This is a deliberate killing of people. There is nothing nearby but houses. The Russians deliberately hit the population. In one of the high-rise buildings, two floors were destroyed by fired shells. We have at least two dead, four more wounded with varying degrees of severity,” Haidai stated.
Five people were killed in shelling of the city center of Kharkiv on Sunday, and 13 were injured, the Ukrainian Suspilne public broadcaster reported citing local health authorities.
“Rescuers are operating in the sites (affected by shelling),” the report said.
Is Mariupol going to fall?
Russia gave holdout Ukrainian soldiers an ultimatum on Sunday to lay down arms in the pulverized southeastern port of Mariupol which Moscow said its forces nearly completely controlled in what would be its biggest capture of the nearly two-month war.
Several hours after the 0:300 GMT (6:00 a.m. Moscow time) deadline there was no sign of compliance by Ukrainian fighters holed up in the vast Azovstal steelworks overlooking the Sea of Azov.
There was no immediate response from Kyiv to the ultimatum, though Ukraine’s military said Russian airstrikes on Mariupol continued along with assault operations near the port.
Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesperson Maj.-Gen. Igor Konashenkov claimed on Sunday that up to 400 foreign fighters in Mariupol have been surrounded, RIA reported.
According to Konashenkov, Ukraine has employed a total of 6,824 foreign fighters from 63 different countries to resist the Russian invasion, TASS reported. He further stated that most (1,717) of these fighters came from Poland while 1,500 came from the US, Canada and Romania. Around 300 came from the UK and Georgia while 193 came from Turkey-controlled parts of Syria.
If Russia’s capture of the port is confirmed, it would be the first major Ukrainian city to fall since the invasion and a strategic prize for Moscow: connecting territory that it holds in Donbas with the Crimea region it annexed in 2014.
Russia said Ukraine had lost more than 4,000 soldiers in Mariupol as of Saturday. Kyiv says between 2,500 and 3,000 Ukrainian troops have died so far in the war nationwide.
Airstrikes, sirens and explosions
Air raid sirens sounded across the country early in the day, a regular occurrence, and a morning report from the Ukrainian military said Russian airstrikes on Mariupol continued while there were “assault operations near the seaport.”
Local media reported an explosion in the capital Kyiv without giving details. However, this was later stated by the Kyiv City State Administration to have likely been Ukrainian air defenses and no explosions actually occurred in the city, Ukrainian state media outlet Ukrinform reported.
However, that does not mean the capital is safe, with the administration warning that Kyiv remains a “tasty morsel” for Russian forces.
A missile attack damaged infrastructure in Brovary, a city near Kyiv, according to Brovary Mayor Ihor Sapozhko.
According to Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Maj.-Gen. Igor Konashenkov, Russian forces destroyed an ammunition factory near Brovary with a guided missile attack.
“Overnight, high-precision air-launched missiles destroyed an ammunition factory near the town of Brovary in Kyiv region,” Konashenkov said.
Russia focuses on the East
Russian forces are continuing to deploy combat and support equipment towards eastern Ukraine from the Russia-aligned Belarus, including sending equipment close to Kharkiv and Severdonetsk, according to a Sunday morning UK defense intelligence update.
This is in line with statements by the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, which alleged that Russia Russia has also moved significant stockpiles of ammunition to its troops as the invasion continues into its 53rd day.
Russia’s operational focus has been heavily shifted eastward as they seek to continue their offensive throughout the area. In particular, Russian artillery continues to strike Ukrainian targets throughout the East, the UK intelligence update noted.
Despite this shift eastward, the UK Defence Ministry claims that Russia’s goal has remained unchanged: Asserting regional dominance over Ukraine and forcing Kyiv to abandon a Euro-Atlantic orientation.
A further seven evacuation trains have been announced for Sunday to take civilians from the heavy-fighting areas in eastern and central Ukraine, Ukrainian state media outlet Ukrinform reported, citing Ukrainian Railways.
The train routes will take civilians away from places like the Dnipro, Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia oblasts.
However, Ukraine and Russia have failed to agree on Sunday about humanitarian convoys for the evacuation of civilians from war-affected areas, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.
“We have not been able to agree… about ceasefires on evacuation routes. That is why, unfortunately, we are not opening humanitarian corridors today,” she said on her Telegram account.
Vereshchuk also said that the Ukrainian authorities have asked for humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians and wounded Ukrainian troops from the besieged port of Mariupol.
Russia has continued to suffer losses as the invasion stretches on.
According to the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Russia has lost 20,300 soldiers with around 1,000 taken prisoner, 773 tanks, 2,002 armored vehicles, 146 helicopters, 165 aircraft, 376 artillery units, 127 MLRSs, 148 drones, eight boats, 76 fuel tankers, 66 air defense systems and 1,471 other vehicles.
But according to Russia, Ukraine has lost 23,367 soldiers and foreign fighters since Russia’s invasion began, TASS reported Saturday, citing Konashenkov.
The spokesperson added that they would soon be disclosing data obtained from Ukrainian documents regarding these casualties.
Further, Konashenkov also said that Russian troops took out 134 aircraft, 460 drones, 987 artillery units, 252 MLRSs, 246 air defense systems, 2,269 tanks and other armored vehicles, according to TASS.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said that about 2,500 to 3,000 Ukrainian troops have been killed in seven weeks of war with Russia and about 10,000 have been injured. The Russian Defense Ministry reported that Ukrainian forces have lost more than 4,000 personnel in Mariupol.
Zelensky said 19,000 to 20,000 Russian soldiers had been killed in the war, now in its eighth week. Moscow said last month that 1,351 Russian soldiers had been killed and 3,825 wounded.
Reuters could not independently verify either side’s numbers.