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War in Ukraine: what to remember from the sixteenth day of the Russian invasion

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On the sixteenth day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, airstrikes slammed into civilian areas in Dnipro, central Ukraine, a town so far spared from Russian forces. The Russian army also continues to approach Kiev with new bombardments in the western suburbs of the city.

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Airstrikes fell on civilian areas on Friday, killing one person in Dnipro, central Ukraine, according to the Ukrainian emergency services. Early in the morning, “there were three airstrikes in the city, hitting a kindergarten, an apartment building and a two-storey shoe factory where a fire then broke out. One person died” , Ukrainian relief said in a statement.

Russian tanks at the gates of Kiev

The Russian army is trying to eliminate Ukrainian defenses in several localities west and north of Kiev to “block” the capital, the Ukrainian general staff said overnight from Thursday to Friday. In Irpin, in the western suburbs of the capital, new bombardments took place. “We first heard long bursts of multiple rocket launchers from Ukrainian positions near Kiev towards Russian positions. There were also more distant shelling, heard beyond Irpin, but not very far either. more”, says Nicolas Tonev, the special envoy of Europe 1 in Ukraine.

Other towns in this western suburb, the most disputed area around Kiev, have been hit by Russian strikes. Long black plumes of smoke stretch for several kilometres. “It’s not necessarily those of the bombings. They can also be those of the tires that the Ukrainians burn to hinder aviation”, he specifies. Hundreds of cars were abandoned in this area by civilians who fled the Russian invasion because of the broken bridge towards Kiev. Their departure can only be done on foot.

© NICOLAS TONEV / EUROPE 1

After a moderate increase in recent days, Russia should restart its offensive soon, especially in Kiev, according to the British Ministry of Defense. The Institute for War Research, an American research center, however, believes that “the probability increases” that Ukrainian forces can keep Russian forces “at a standstill” around the city.

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Russian strikes on a center for the disabled near Kharkiv

A facility for people with disabilities was hit Friday by Russian strikes near Kharkiv, in eastern Ukraine, without however causing any casualties according to an initial assessment of the emergency services. “The enemy today struck a specialized institution for disabled people near Oskil,” regional administration head Oleh Sinegoubov said on Telegram.

In Kharkiv, 50 km from the Russian border, surrounded and hit by intense shelling, Russian forces “are now just outside” Ukraine’s second city, the Pentagon said on Wednesday evening. In the southeast of the country, troops from Moscow are concentrating their efforts on the ten-day besieged port city of Mariupol and on Severodonetsk.

Vladimir Putin calls on Syrian fighters to join them

Some 150,000 members of Russian forces are already deployed in Ukraine. This Friday, Vladimir Putin takes a new step. He calls on Syrian fighters to join Russian forces. According to the Russian president, it is a response to the West sending mercenaries.

“This is a patriotic war. This is a war with a very stubborn enemy who does not pay attention to the thousands of these people killed and the soldiers killed who are now gathering reservists and conscripts from all over Russia to throw them into the hell of this war. [Vladimir Poutine] decided to hire mercenaries against our citizens, assassins of civilians from Syria, from a country where everything has been destroyed by the occupiers as they are doing to us,” said Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukrainian President , following this announcement.

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According to General Christophe Gomart, former director of military intelligence, this appeal by Vladimir Putin to the Syrians can be explained in several points. “The first reason is to put non-Slavs in front of the Ukrainians who resist him, so as to avoid any possible fraternization,” he begins. It is for this reason that the capture of Kiev is important for the Russians because it is the cradle of Russian Orthodoxy.

“The second reason is that he has quite a lot of casualties so as much as it’s Syrian soldiers he doesn’t have to account for. The mothers of Russian soldiers have powerful associations and he may fear a revolution. coming from the street”, concludes the general.

Failure of Russian-Ukrainian negotiations

The heads of Russian and Ukrainian diplomacy failed Thursday to agree on a ceasefire in Ukraine during their first meeting since the start of the Russian army offensive. Sergei Lavrov and Dmytro Kuleba stuck to their guns during their talks in Antalya (Turkey).

The Ukrainian minister said his Russian counterpart had assured him that Russia “will continue (its) aggression until we accept its demand to capitulate”. But Ukraine “will not surrender”, he claimed.

Moscow announces humanitarian corridors to Russia

The Russian Ministry of Defense promised Thursday the opening of humanitarian corridors to allow Ukrainians fleeing the fighting to reach its territory, “every day from 10:00 a.m.”, while Kiev calls for corridors allowing the evacuation of civilians inside Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday accused the Russian army of preventing the evacuation of civilians from the encircled cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha (southeast) and of carrying out an attack on the planned route of a humanitarian corridor.

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