Ukraine’s president denounced Russia’s increase of strikes on populous metropolitan centers as a clear terror campaign, while US Vice President Joe Biden warned that unless his Russian counterpart was made to “pay a price” for the invasion, the aggression would not be limited to one country.
“No one is going to forgive you.” After the violence on the center plaza in Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city, and the deadly bombing of a TV tower in the capital on Tuesday, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, “No one will forget.” He called the attack on the plaza a war crime and “honest, undisguised fear.”
Biden used his first State of the Union speech to emphasize the commitment of a resurgent Western alliance, which has worked to bolster the Ukrainian military and impose strong sanctions, which he claims have left Russian President Vladimir Putin “more isolated in the world than he has ever been.”
“We’ve learned this lesson throughout history: when tyrants don’t pay a price for their violence, they produce greater disorder,” Biden added. “They continue to move.” And the costs and threats to America and the rest of the globe continue to rise.”
Biden spent the opening 12 minutes of his Tuesday evening speech to Ukraine, with members from both parties standing and clapping as he lauded Ukraine’s people’s fortitude and criticized Putin’s aggression.
As Biden spoke, a 40-mile (64-kilometer) convoy of Russian tanks and other vehicles moved steadily into Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital city of almost 3 million people, in what the West thought was Putin’s attempt to destabilize the government and impose a Kremlin-friendly dictatorship.
Other towns and cities were also attacked by the invading armies, notably the vital ports of Odesa and Mariupol in the south.
As the war’s seventh day began on Wednesday, Russia found itself further isolated, besieged by sanctions that have wreaked havoc on its economy and left the country almost friendless, save for China, Belarus, and North Korea.
The humanitarian toll increased as the battle continued. Approximately 660,000 people have fled Ukraine, with countless more seeking refuge underground.
The death toll was unclear, as neither Russia nor Ukraine provided information on the number of personnel lost. The United Nations’ human rights office reported 136 civilian casualties, while the real number is almost certainly far higher.
According to one top Western intelligence officer, 5,000 Russian soldiers have been arrested or died in Europe’s largest land combat since World War II.
Many military analysts are concerned that Russia’s strategy may be altering. Moscow’s plan in Chechnya and Syria was to demolish cities and shatter fighters’ determination with artillery and air strikes.
Russian air and artillery raids on inhabited metropolitan areas have increased in the last two days, according to the British Defense Ministry. It further claimed that Russian soldiers had ringed three cities: Kharkiv, Kherson, and Mariupol.
The attack on the TV tower near central Kyiv claimed the lives of five persons, according to Ukrainian police. Officials reported a TV control room and a power substation were affected, and at least some Ukrainian networks went dark for a while.
People living near transmission infrastructure utilized by Ukraine’s spy service were earlier urged by Russia to evacuate their houses.
A rocket strike on the Babi Yar Holocaust memorial, which is near the tower, was also reported by Zelenskyy’s office on Tuesday. A memorial spokesperson said a Jewish cemetery at the site, where Nazi invaders massacred over 33,000 Jews in two days in 1941, had been damaged, but the extent of the damage would not be known until daylight.
At least six persons were murdered in Kharkiv, a city of 1.5 million people, when the region’s administration building on Freedom Square was hit by what seemed to be a rocket. The consulate of Slovenia in Kharkiv, which was housed in another huge structure on the square, was demolished, according to the Slovenian Foreign Ministry.
Many Ukrainians saw the bombing on Freedom Square, the city’s epicenter of civic life, as blatant proof that the Russian invasion wasn’t just about hitting military objectives but also about shattering their spirit.
The shelling blasted out the windows and walls of the buildings that surrounded the area, which was heaped high with rubble and dust. Inside one of the buildings, bits of plaster were strewn around and doors were strewn across corridors.
“People are buried beneath the rubble. An emergency officer, Yevhen Vasylenko, claimed, “We have dragged out bodies.”
In the city of Zhytomyr, another Russian airstrike damaged a residential area. The strike killed at least two people, burnt three residences, and shattered the windows of a neighboring hospital, according to Ukraine’s emergency services. The elite 95th Air Assault Brigade is based in Zhytomyr, some 85 miles (140 kilometers) west of Kyiv, and may have been the planned target.
Russia’s assertion that it is just targeting military targets has been challenged by Zelenskyy, who points out that 16 children were killed on Monday.
“Can you tell me where the kids are?” Where do they work in military factories? “At what tanks are they aiming?” According to Zelenskyy.
In recent days, Human Rights Watch reported a cluster bomb assault near a hospital in Ukraine’s east. Residents in Kharkiv and Kiyanka village also reported the usage of such weapons. Cluster bombs were not used, according to the Kremlin.
Cluster bombs scatter tiny “bomblets” across a vast area, with many of them not exploding for a long time after being dropped. If their usage is proven, the conflict will have reached a new level of savagery.
The first negotiations between Russia and Ukraine since the invasion took place on Monday, but only resulted in a promise to meet again. On Tuesday, Zelenskyy stated that Russia should first cease bombing.
Biden declared in his address that the United States will join numerous other countries in restricting its airspace to Russian flights. He also warned the country’s oligarchs that the Justice Department was forming a task force to look into any crimes they may have committed.
“We’re teaming up with our European partners to track down and take your boats, luxury residences, and private planes,” he stated. “We’re on our way to take your ill-gotten wealth.”
Biden bragged about the economic damage that global sanctions had already inflicted on Russia, including a stock market crash and currency depreciation.
Days after raising the danger of nuclear war, Moscow issued new warnings of escalation. The West’s “economic war” against Russia, according to a top Kremlin official, might escalate into a “real one.”
Inside Russia, a prominent anti-Kremlin radio station was forced to go off the air after authorities threatened to shut it down because of its coverage of the invasion. The Kremlin, for example, will not allow the conflict to be characterized to as a “invasion” or “war.”
Belarus, a Russian ally, is ready to send troops into Ukraine, according to Ukraine’s Defense Ministry. Belarusian forces have been called into battle readiness and are concentrated near Ukraine’s northern border, according to a ministry statement issued early Wednesday on Facebook. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has stated that his country has no intention of participating in the conflict.
Russia’s military advances, including the big convoy, has stalled, according to a senior US defense official, due to logistical and supply issues. According to the official, several Russian military columns have ran out of gas and food, and morale has plummeted as a result.
Overall, the Russian military has been stymied by robust ground opposition and an unexpected failure to fully control Ukraine’s airspace.
According to a senior Western intelligence officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the massive convoy, with cars jammed together along tight routes, would appear to be “a big fat target” for Ukrainian forces. However, it also demonstrated that Russia was certain that they would not be attacked by air, rocket, or missile, according to the official.