By BBC and CNN
THE Russian invasion remains largely stalled across all their lines of advance, with troops not having moved any further towards Kyiv since last week, a US senior defence official has said.
The Russians have launched more than 1,100 missiles, but may be facing some “inventory issues”, the official said. Some missiles have failed to launch, some have failed to explode, the official added.
The US is unable to confirm or refute Russia’s claim that it used a hypersonic missile, the official said, adding it wasn’t clear why the missile would have been needed, but that the Russians may have been running low on precision guided missiles, or have wanted to send a message.
The official said there had been an increase in naval activity in the Black Sea, which was believed to include some shelling around the port of Odesa. But this did not mean an assault on the city was imminent, the official said.
‘Bombs falling every 10 minutes’
Mariupol came under further heavy bombardment overnight, according to a Ukrainian officer inside the city.
“Bombs are falling every 10 minutes; Russian navy warships are shelling. Yesterday the soldiers defused four tanks, [as well as] armoured vehicles and troops. We still need ammunition, anti-tank weapons and air defence,” Captain Svyatoslav Palamar of the National Guard Azov Regiment in Mariupol told CNN.
Palamar said he and his fellow fighters would not surrender in Mariupol.
The port city of Mariupol, which before the war was home to around 450,000 people, has been under near constant attack from Russian forces since early March with satellite images showing significant destruction to residential areas.
While the Russian ultimatum appeared to offer those who chose to surrender safe passage out of the city, it made no such guarantees for those remaining.
Russia has repeatedly been accused of targeting civilians, with trapped residents describing the onslaught as “hell.”
The Russian attacks have led to a total collapse in basic services, with residents unable to access gas, electricity or water. Bodies are being left in the street because there is either no one left to collect them, or it is simply too dangerous to try.
An official in the city said people are scared to leave their underground shelters even to get hold of essentials, meaning they were trying to drink less water and eat less food, only emerging to prepare hot meals.
Taken against their will: On Sunday, the Mariupol City Council said residents are being taken to Russia against their will by Russian forces. Captured Mariupol residents were taken to camps where Russian forces checked their phones and documents, then redirected some of the residents to remote cities in Russia, the council said. Russia denied the accusations Saturday.
Why Russia wants to control Mariupol: The city is a strategic port that lies on a stretch of coast connecting the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas with the Crimean peninsula. Russian-backed separatists have formed breakaway statelets in parts of the Donbas and Crimea has been under Russian control since 2014. Russian forces appear to be trying to take full control of the area to create a land corridor between the two regions, squeezing Mariupol with brutal military force.
At least eight people killed in Russian attack on Kyiv shopping centre
At least eight people have been killed in a Russian attack on a shopping centre in the Podilskyi district of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, according to the Ukrainian Prosecutor General.
A shopping centre and cars in an adjacent parking lot caught fire following Russian shelling in Kyiv’s Podilskyi district, Ukraine State Emergency Service said late Sunday, adding that 63 firefighters worked to extinguish the flames that had reached as high as the third and fourth floors of the shopping centre.
China to provide more humanitarian aid
China will provide another batch of humanitarian aid, worth 10 million RMB ($1.57 million), to Ukraine “based on the development of the situation and actual needs,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
“China will continue to play a constructive role in promoting the de-escalation of the situation in Ukraine and is willing to make its own efforts to overcome the humanitarian crisis,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said during a regular briefing.
China provided its first batch of humanitarian assistance — worth 5 million RMB ($790,000) — to Ukraine earlier this month.
Top: A Russian tank in Ukraine. Photo: Russian Ministry of Defence and published by BBC
First insert: People dig a grave in the street in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, on March 20. Photo: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters and published by CNN
Second insert: Humanitarian aid supplies sent by the Red Cross Society of China to the Ukrainian Red Cross Society are transported in Warsaw, Poland, on March 15. Photo: Chen Chen/Xinhua/Getty Images and published by CNN
Home Page: An aerial view of the completely destroyed shopping mall after a Russian shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 21. Photo: Emin Sansar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images and published by CNN