Mayor Vadim Boitchenko said Mariupol faced a Russian “blockade” and “relentless attacks” on Saturday, while calling for a humanitarian corridor to bring food and medicine to the city.

Taking the port of 450,000 people would mark a turning point in the invasion because it would connect Russian forces in the occupied Crimean peninsula with pro-Russian separatist troops in eastern Ukraine.

Mariupol authorities previously warned that the prolonged Russian bombardment of the city created a “terrible” humanitarian situation.

The blockade of the port city came a day after the Russian attack on the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe.

The six reactors at the Ukrainian plant, which can power 4 million homes, appeared to have been left undamaged by the fighting and the fire that broke out at a training facility at the plant.

Still, Kiev accused the Kremlin of “nuclear terror” and the US envoy to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said the attack was “incredibly reckless and dangerous.”

But the Russian ambassador to the UN has called the allegation that his country bombed the plant as part of “an unprecedented campaign of lies.”

civilian casualties

According to Ukraine, thousands of civilians have been killed since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the military invasion on February 24.

But in the Kiev hospital, wounded soldiers assured GLM that they would return to combat.

“We were on reconnaissance and found an enemy column that had entered,” recalled Motyka, a 29-year-old soldier wounded by a shrapnel to his right side.

“We fought them and killed their soldiers on foot, but they covered us with mortar fire,” he added.

Missile and bomb attacks continued on Friday, the Ukrainian military said on Facebook, adding that the focus of Russian forces is to surround the capital Kiev.

They added that Russian artillery and rocket launch systems were attacking residential buildings and infrastructure.

Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky assured that the attack on the nuclear plant “could put an end to history. The history of Ukraine. The history of Europe.”

“The Russian tank commanders knew what they were shooting at,” said Zelensky, who will address the US Senate on Zoom on Saturday at Kiev’s request, a Washington legislative adviser said.

Some US lawmakers have urged President Joe Biden to take a tougher stance against Russia, including suspending all imports of its oil.

“Horrible Consequences”

“We are facing President Putin’s war option together, without provocation, without justification, a war that is having horrible consequences,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in Brussels.

“We are committed to doing what we can to stop it.” she added.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon announced that the armed forces of Washington and Moscow have established a hotline to reduce the risk of a “misunderstanding.”

Putin, meanwhile, seems unaffected by Russia’s economic, sporting and cultural isolation.

According to the Kremlin, Putin told his Belarusian colleague that “the tasks set for the operations (in Ukraine) are going according to plan and will be fully accomplished.”

The Russian authorities imposed news censorship and two liberal media outlets ceased operations.

Several news sites, including the BBC, were partially inaccessible in Russia, while Twitter was restricted and Facebook blocked.

The BBC and Bloomberg said they were suspending their presence in Russia after Moscow passed a law imposing fines and up to 15 years in prison for anyone who publishes “fake news” about the military.

CNN said it would suspend broadcasts in Russia while Russia’s independent daily Novaya Gazeta announced it would remove content about Ukraine under the new law.

Meanwhile, Russia stepped up attacks across Ukraine with new reports of civilian casualties and devastating damage, especially around the southern city of Kherson, the first to be taken by Moscow’s forces.

Meanwhile, NATO has ruled out applying a no-fly zone over Ukraine for fear of provoking another conflict with Russia.

Zelensky sharply criticized NATO, saying it “gave the green light for more bombing of Ukrainian cities and villages.”

In the northern city of Chernigov, 47 people were killed on Thursday when Russian troops shelled residential areas, including schools and an apartment building, according to local authorities.

Putin denies bombing cities.

“The World Against You”

Meanwhile, prosecutors in The Hague are investigating possible war crimes committed in the bombing of the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkov.

The Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba, demanded the formation of a special court for the “numerous cases of, unfortunately, rapes of women in Ukrainian cities by Russian soldiers.”

On the other hand, the UN Human Rights Council approved in Geneva a high-level investigation of violations committed in the invasion.

“The message to Putin has been clear: he is isolated globally, the whole world is against him,” Ukrainian ambassador Yevheniia Filipenko said after the vote.

The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine on Monday, diplomats told GLM.

The UN noted that more than 1.2 million refugees have left Ukraine.

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