Thu. May 26th, 2022

Russian forces pounding the port city of Mariupol shelled a mosque sheltering more than 80 people, including children, the Ukrainian government said Saturday. Fighting also raged on the outskirts of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, as Russia’s expanding invasion bombarded other resisting cities into rubble.

(marketwatch.com)

There was no immediate word of casualties from the shelling of Mariupol’s elegant, city-center mosque. The encircled city of 446,000 people has suffered some of the greatest misery from Russia’s war in Ukraine, with unceasing barrages thwarting repeated attempts to bring in food and water, evacuate trapped civilians and to bury all of the dead.

Ukraine’s military said Saturday that Russian forces captured Mariupol’s eastern outskirts, tightening the armed squeeze on the strategic port. Taking Mariupol and other ports on the Azov Sea could allow Russia to establish a land corridor to Crimea, which it seized from Ukraine in 2014.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy encouraged his people to keep up their resistance.

“The fact that the whole Ukrainian people resist these invaders has already gone down in history, but we do not have the right to let up our defense, no matter how difficult it may be for us,” he said.

Zelenskyy also accused Russia of employing “a new stage of terror” with the alleged kidnapping the mayor of Melitopol, a city 192 kilometers (119 miles) west of Mariupol. After residents of the occupied city demonstrated for the mayor’s release Saturday, the Ukrainian leader called on Russian forces to heed the calls.

“Please hear in Moscow!” Zelenskyy said Saturday. “Another protest against Russian troops, against attempts to bring the city to its knees.”

In multiple areas around the capital, artillery barrages sent residents scurrying for shelter and air raid sirens wailed. Britain’s Defense Ministry said Russian ground forces massed north of Kyiv for most of the war had edged to within 25 kilometers (15 miles) of the city center and also spread out, likely to support an attempted encirclement.

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