By Ononye VC
Eastern city of Kharkiv suffers further heavy bombardment
Moscow says it has seized Kherson, mayor says troops in streets
UN votes overwhelmingly to censure Russia’s invasion
38 countries refer Russia to International Criminal Court
KYIV/KHARKIV, Ukraine, March 2 (Reuters) – Ukraine’s second biggest city, Kharkiv, suffered heavy bombardment on Wednesday as Russia’s week-long invasion was denounced by the United Nations in a historic vote and dozens of countries referred Moscow to be probed for potential war crimes.

The biggest attack on a European state since 1945 has caused over 870,000 people to flee, a barrage of sanctions against Russia, and stoked fears of wider conflict in the West unthought-of for decades.

The incursion has yet to overthrow the government in Kyiv but thousands are thought to have died or been injured and it could cause another deep hit to the global economy still emerging from the coronavirus pandemic.

Bombing of Kharkiv, a city of 1.5 million people in eastern Ukraine, has left its centre a wasteland of ruined buildings and debris.

“The Russian ‘liberators’ have come,” one Ukrainian volunteer lamented sarcastically, as he and three others strained to carry the dead body of a man wrapped in a bedsheet out of the ruins on a main square.

A U.N. resolution reprimanding Moscow was supported by 141 of the assembly’s 193 members, passed in a rare emergency session, a symbolic victory for Ukraine that increases Moscow’s international isolation. read more

“More is at stake even than the conflict in Ukraine itself,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters after the vote. “This is a threat to the security of Europe and the entire rules-based order.”

A total of 38 countries have also referred Russia to the International Criminal Court, which probes alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.

“We are crystal clear that Putin cannot commit these horrific acts with impunity,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

No one at Russia’s foreign ministry was immediately available for comment when contacted by Reuters out-of-hours.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation” that it says is noted designed to occupy territory but to destroy its southern neighbour’s military capabilities and capture what it regards as dangerous nationalists.

The Kremlin said its forces had taken the Black Sea port of Kherson, a southern provincial capital of around 250,000 people strategically placed where the Dnipro River flows into the Black Sea. Kyiv earlier denied this.

Late on Wednesday, Kherson Mayor Igor Kolykhayev said Russian troops were in the streets and had forced their way into the city council building.

An explosion also rocked the Kyiv railway station during the night, where thousands of women and children were being evacuated.

An interior ministry adviser said the blast was caused by wreckage from a downed Russian cruise missile, not a direct rocket strike. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis have so far failed.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow still sought Ukraine’s “demilitarisation” and that there should be a list of specified weapons that could never be deployed on Ukrainian territory. Moscow opposes Kyiv’s bid to join NATO.

A Ukrainian delegation had left for a second round of talks with Russian officials on a ceasefire after a first round made little progress on Monday, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak told Reuters.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said Russia must stop bombing if it wants to negotiate.


Firefighters work to extinguish a fire at the damaged building of the Kharkiv National University in Kharkiv.


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