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War in Ukraine: a “virtually frozen front”, a worsening humanitarian situation

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The situation on the map
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The context

  • The Russian army is still fighting, since Friday, inside Mariupol, where at least 300,000 residents are under siege since three weeks ago. Street battles are taking place near the city center as fifty to a hundred bombs are dropped daily on residential areas, along with hundreds of shells and rockets. Not far away, one of the most important metallurgical factories in Europe, Azovstal, was destroyed on Saturday, causing“huge economic losses” for Ukraine,” said a Ukrainian MP.
  • Mariupol mayor accuses Russia of forcibly displacing residents on its own territory. The wife of the President of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, has appealed to the World Council of Churches for help in forming “true humanitarian corridors”. Finally, a group of nineteen children, mostly orphans, are stuck in a sanatorium in Mariupol, in very precarious conditions.
  • Air raids followed one another at a steady pace on Mykolaiv, a town in the south of the country where dozens of soldiers were killed in a strike against an army barracks, according to the governor of the region. Nicknamed the “shield” of Odessa (the large strategic port located 130 kilometers further west), the city resists and repel the assaults of Russian troops, according to the Ukrainian authorities.
  • The bombardments have not ceased either in kyiv, the capital, and in Kharkiv, a large Russian-speaking city in the northeast, where at least five hundred people have died since the start of the war, according to official Ukrainian figures. A man and a 9-year-old child died in a shelling, local authorities said on Saturday.
  • On Saturday, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that it used Kinjal hypersonic missiles the day before to destroy an underground weapons warehouse in western Ukraine. Russia had, until now, never reported the use of this ballistic missile during the two conflicts where it is belligerent: Ukraine and Syria. This type of missile, very maneuverable, defies, according to Moscow, all anti-aircraft defense systems.
  • The war in Ukraine forced more than 3.3 million Ukrainians – 90 % women and children – to leave the country, according to the United Nations. Nearly 6.5 million people are believed to be internally displaced.

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