Kersen, located in southern Ukraine, is the largest city captured by Russian forces since the country’s invasion began a week ago.
One week after the start of their operation, Russian forces captured the main city in southern Ukraine, Kherson, on Thursday morning, shortly before the second session of the ceasefire between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators.
According to UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grande, it was the largest city captured by Russian forces in seven days, causing one million people to flee to neighboring countries.
The mayor of this city of 290,000 people, Igor Kolikov, announced that he had met with “armed guests” in a building of the Gershon administration, without naming them Russian troops. “We have no weapons, no aggression. We have shown that we are engaged in defending the city and trying to deal with the consequences of the invasion, ”he said in a Facebook post.
Gen. Laguda, head of the regional administration, called on Telegram residents to stay home, noting that “(Russian) occupiers are present in all parts of the city and are extremely dangerous.”
The actions of Russia in Ukrainian territory will now be under intense scrutiny, as the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s lawyer Karim Khan announced on Wednesday evening that he would “immediately begin” an investigation into war crimes.
On Wednesday morning, the Russian military announced that it had captured Gershon, not far from the Crimean peninsula, which was annexed by Moscow in 2014. The port city and its suburbs were hit by heavy bombardment.
Further east, in the main Ukrainian port of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov, Marina, 28, one of its residents, testified that “it is getting worse by the hour” and the city center was attacked. If the Russian military takes control, the Russian military will be able to ensure regional continuity between its forces from the Crimea and its forces from the separatist areas further to the northeast.
Russia’s military advancement comes just hours after it agreed to a ceasefire. Russian negotiator Vladimir Medinsky said in Belarus on Thursday morning that the talks were “not far from the Polish border.”
Early talks in Belarus on Monday did not yield definitive results, calling for an immediate halt to the Kiev invasion, while Moscow appeared to be expecting a surrender. Anthony Blinken, the head of US diplomacy, responded by saying that the United States “supports Ukraine’s diplomatic efforts for a ceasefire with Russia.
The Secretary of State has already stressed the “shocking” “human cost”. “Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed and wounded,” lamented Anthony Blinken at a news conference, adding that “the number of civilians killed and injured, the humanitarian consequences, will get worse in the days to come.”
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