Street battles erupt in Kyiv suburb as Russian troops advance

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Street battles erupt in Kyiv suburb as Russian troops advance

Hand-to-hand combat has broken out in the streets of the Kyiv suburb of Irpin, which has been devastated by relentless Russian bombing and shortages of food, water and electricity.

“There is real street fighting now,” a Ukrainian paratrooper named Stas, told AFP. “In some places, there is hand-to-hand combat.”

The paratrooper, who did not provide his full name, said the Russians have staged “a huge column, 200 men, 50 light armored vehicles, several tanks” in the small town.

Belarusian volunteers receive military training at the Belarusian Company base in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022
Belarusian volunteers receive military training at the Belarusian Company base in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022.
AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky
Ukrainian soldiers help an elderly woman to cross a destroyed bridge as she evacuates the city of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv, on March 8, 2022.
Ukrainian soldiers help an elderly woman to cross a destroyed bridge as she evacuates the city of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv, on March 8, 2022.
SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images
A man walks in an abandoned supermarket in Mariupol, Ukraine, Sunday, March 6, 2022.
Residents said constant attacks have made living in the town hell.
AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka
The dead body of a person lies covered in the street in Mariupol, Ukraine, Monday, March 7, 2022.
The dead body of a person lies covered in the street in Mariupol, Ukraine, Monday, March 7, 2022.
AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka

Russian troops, hoping to advance to the capital of Kyiv, need to make their way through Irpin first. 

“We are trying to push them out, but I don’t know if we’ll be fully able to do it,” Stas said. “The situation is very unstable.”


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Images from the town show it in ruins. On Sunday, Tatiana Perebeynos, 43, her two children Alise, 9, and Nikita, 18, and a man they were traveling with were killed when Russian forces indiscriminately fired at them as they were fleeing Irpin.

A joint funeral takes place at 'Saint's Peter and Paul Garrison Church', for two soldiers who died in the east of the country during recent fighting, on March 08, 2022 in Lviv, Ukraine.
A joint funeral takes place at Saint’s Peter and Paul Garrison Church for two soldiers who died during recent fighting on March 8, 2022 in Lviv, Ukraine.
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
A view shows buildings damaged by recent shelling during Russia's invasion of Ukraine in Kharkiv, Ukraine, March 8, 2022.
Hand-to-hand combat has broken out in the streets of Irpin.
REUTERS/Oleksandr Lapshyn
A view shows buildings damaged by recent shelling during Russia's invasion of Ukraine in Kharkiv, Ukraine, March 8, 2022.
Irpin has been devastated by relentless Russian bombing.
REUTERS/Oleksandr Lapshyn
ukraine map
A paratrooper said the Russians have staged “a huge column, 200 men, 50 light armored vehicles, several tanks” in the small town.
Belarusian volunteers receive military training at the Belarusian Company base in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022.
Belarusian volunteers receive military training at the Belarusian Company base in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022.
AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

“The city is almost ruined, and the district where I’m living, it’s like there are no houses which were not bombed,” a young mom told Reuters while holding her baby.

 “The older people, those who cannot use their feet, they remain,” resident Marina Manfyorova told AFP while heading toward evacuation buses on the other side of the Irpin River.

“They are still hoping to be saved,” she said of the town’s elders, adding that everyone able to walk has fled.

A volunteer of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces looks at a dead body of a soldier lying in a forest in the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, Monday, March 7, 2022
A volunteer of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces looks at a dead body of a soldier lying in a forest in the outskirts of Kharkiv, Monday, March 7, 2022.
AP Photo/Andrew Marienko
Destroyed after shelling residential building is seen in Eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, Ukraine, 07 March 2022
Russian troops are hoping to advance to the capital of Kyiv.
EPA/STANISLAV KOZLIUK
A woman holds a baby in a bomb shelter in in Mariupol, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022
A woman holds a baby in a bomb shelter in in Mariupol, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022.
AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka
People walk under a destroyed bridge while fleeing Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022.
People walk under a destroyed bridge while fleeing Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022.
AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda

Residents said constant attacks have made living in the town hell. Ukrainian actor-turned-soldier Pasha Lee was killed in action March 6 from a Russian shelling in Irpin.

“The Russians are positioning themselves in residential buildings, apartments, shops,” soldier Konstantyn Lokhmitskiy told AFP. “After that, they started shooting exclusively at civilians. … This is my third war. But this never used to happen. No one shot at civilians back then.”

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