Kyiv fears attack as mass graves being dug in Mariupol

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Kyiv fears attack as mass graves being dug in Mariupol

Air raid shelters repeatedly blared over Ukraine capital Kyiv on Wednesday — as officials in the now “apocalyptic” city of Mariupol planned to dig mass graves to clear corpses from the streets.

The back-to-back emergency alerts in the capital sent residents to bomb shelters even as invading Russian forces promised a ceasefire to allow evacuations from six key areas, including two Kyiv suburbs.

But as of Thursday only one of those planned corridors out appeared to have worked, with Ukrainian authorities saying 5,000 civilians, including 1,700 foreign students, managed to escape from Sumy.

NATO and Ukraine’s government instead said that Russia had shelled some of those promised “humanitarian corridors” in the Kremlin’s latest war crimes.

An elderly woman is assisted as Ukrainians cross an improvised path along a destroyed bridge to flee the city on March 8, 2022 on Irpin, Ukraine
An elderly woman is assisted as Ukrainians cross an improvised path along a destroyed bridge to flee the city on March 8, 2022 on Irpin, Ukraine.
An elderly woman is assisted as Ukrainians cross an improvised path along a destroyed bridge to flee the city on March 8, 2022 on Irpin, Ukraine
A child is carried on a stroller across an improvised path while fleeing Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 9, 2022
A child is carried on a stroller across an improvised path while fleeing Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 9, 2022.
AP Photo/Felipe Dana

The sirens left Kyiv on edge Wednesday — as the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) predicted Russia was preparing for a full-on “assault on Kyiv in the coming days.”

“Russian operations on the Kyiv axis are aimed at encircling the city from the northwest, west, east,” the think tanks wrote in a report Tuesday.

“They have made limited but notable gains in Kyiv’s northwestern outskirts and continued to concentrate forces for an attack into the city,” the thinktank said, predicting Tuesday that the capital would be attacked “in the coming 24-96 hours.”

Ukrainian servicemen evacuate a person across Irpin River below a destroyed bridge as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues in Irpin outside Kyiv, Ukraine, March 9, 2022.
Ukrainian servicemen evacuate a person across Irpin River below a destroyed bridge as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues in Irpin outside Kyiv, Ukraine, March 9, 2022.
REUTERS/Thomas Peter
People fleeing advancing Russian forces file across wooden planks crossing Irpin River below a destroyed bridge as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues in Irpin outside Kyiv, Ukraine, March 9, 2022.
The sirens left Kyiv on edge Wednesday.
REUTERS/Thomas Peter

However, they may be slowed by colder than usual temperatures that former British Army Kevin Price told The Times of London would leave Russian troops sitting in a “iron freezer all night.”

While Kyiv remained Russia’s main target, the greatest alarm has been sounded over Mariupol — a southern port so devastated that the Red Cross has described it as “apocalyptic.”

Local officials confirmed that they planned to dig mass graves for the dead amid distressing reports of corpses still left on the streets.

ukraine map
Ukrainian authorities said 5,000 civilians, including 1,700 foreign students, managed to escape from Sumy.
A woman hugs her cat inside a subway wagon in a underground metro station used as a bomb shelter in Kyiv on March 8, 2022.
A woman hugs her cat inside a subway wagon in a underground metro station used as a bomb shelter in Kyiv on March 8, 2022.
DIMITAR DILKOFF/STF/AFP via Getty Images
An elderly woman sits on a bench wrapped in a blanket in a subway station turned into a shelter in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022
An elderly woman sits on a bench wrapped in a blanket in a subway station turned into a shelter in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022.
AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda

One 6-year-old girl died of dehydration after being trapped in the rubble of an airstrike that blew apart her mom, officials had said Tuesday.

Mariupol has been surrounded by Russian soldiers for days and a humanitarian crisis is unfolding for the 430,000 residents, with hungry people breaking into stores in search of food and melt snow for water.

“Why shouldn’t I cry?” one resident, Goma Janna, asked as she wept by the light of an oil lamp in one of the basement shelters where thousands huddle.

Ukrainians enter a bus as they are evacuated from Irpin
Ukrainians enter a bus as they are evacuated from Irpin.
AP Photo/Felipe Dana
Members of the Ukrainian military walk at a checkpoint near Brovary, in the eastern frontline of Kyiv (Kiev) region, Ukraine, 08 March 2022.
Officials in Mariupol planned to dig mass graves to clear corpses from the streets.
EPA/ROMAN PILIPEY

“I want my home, I want my job. I’m so sad about people and about the city, the children.”

An attempt to evacuate civilians and deliver badly needed food, water and medicine through a designated safe corridor failed, with Ukrainian officials saying Russian forces had fired on the convoy before it reached the city.

Natalia Mudrenko, a senior member of Ukraine’s UN Mission, told the Security Council that the people of Mariupol have “been effectively taken hostage” by the siege.


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A man holds his dog as he walks below a destroyed bridge as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues in Irpin outside Kyiv, Ukraine, March 9, 2022
An attempt to evacuate civilians and deliver badly needed food, water and medicine through a designated safe corridor failed.
REUTERS/Thomas Peter
A man carries an elderly woman as people continue to leave Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022.
A man carries an elderly woman as people continue to leave Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022.
AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said Mariupol is in a “catastrophic situation.”

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Wednesday accused the Russians of essentially holding 400,000 people in the city “hostage” by blocking evacuation.

“Indiscriminate shelling continues. Almost 3.000 newborn babies lack medicine and food,” he wrote on Twitter. “I urge the world to act! Force Russia to stop its barbaric war on civilians and babies!

The city is one of those supposed to be protected by a ceasefire Wednesday to finally allow a safe exit.

Along with several towns around Kyiv, other areas hoping for safe evacuations Wednesday include Sumy in the northeast, Enerhodar in the south, Volnovakha in the southeast, Izyum in the east and Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, in the northeast.

A service takes place at Lychakiv cemetery during a joint funeral for two soldiers who died in the east of the country during recent fighting, on March 08, 2022 in Lviv, Ukraine.
A service takes place at Lychakiv cemetery during a joint funeral for two soldiers who died in the during recent fighting, on March 8, 2022 in Lviv, Ukraine.
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
a damaged bridge over Irpin river, outside of Kyiv (Kiev), Ukraine, 08 March 2022.
Satellite views of a damaged bridge over Irpin river.
MAXAR TECHNOLOGIES HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

“We have a short window of time at the moment,” said former culture minister Yevhen Nyshchuk, a member of Ukraine’s territorial defense forces.

“Even if there is a ceasefire right now, there is a high risk of shells falling at any moment.”

With Post wires

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