Ukraine: explosions in Kiev, the mayor of Melitopol “kidnapped” … update on the offensive of Saturday, March 12

On the 17th day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the offensive continues and continues to wreak havoc. More than 2.5 million people have already fled the “senseless” war, leaving Ukraine and two million others have been displaced within the country, according to the UN. The Russian troops continued their strategy of intimidation and demoralization of the cities. From the capital, President Zelensky estimated that the conflict had “already reached a strategic turning point”. “It is impossible to say how many days we still have (ahead) to liberate Ukrainian land. But we can say we will,” he said, urging Russian mothers “not to send (their) children to war.”

Already explosions in Kiev

Explosions were heard in the early hours of Saturday as the capital has been under pressure for more than two weeks and Russian troops have been deployed around Kiev. But Moscow thought it would take the capital in a flash, thanks to the tens of thousands of soldiers sent out. Satellite images showed them firing artillery on Friday as they advanced towards Kiev, houses on fire.

“The fighting northwest of Kiev continues with the bulk of Russian ground forces about 25 kilometers from the center of the city,” the British Armed Forces Ministry said on Saturday morning. “Elements of the large Russian column north of Kiev have disintegrated. This probably supports a Russian attempt to encircle the city. It could also be an attempt by Russia to reduce its vulnerability to Ukrainian counter-attacks, which have taken a heavy toll on Russian forces.”

Moschun, a city northwest of Kiev, continues to be targeted and fires have been declared at Hostomel airport, 75 km from the center of the capital. Similarly, Ukrainian services released early morning photos of refrigerated warehouses on fire in Kvitneve, barely 30km from the historic heart of Kiev. They were the target of Russian attacks at 3:30 am (2:30 am French time). There were no casualties, but the food they contained was all destroyed.

Mayor of Melitopol imprisoned

Ivan Fedorov has been “kidnapped,” President Zelensky declared late Friday night. CCTV footage shared by officials from the presidential office shows about a dozen gunmen escorting a man from a downtown building. The mayor was at the crisis center to manage supplies to the city of Zaporozhye. The Ukrainian parliament said a bag had been placed on the mayor’s head, while the foreign ministry warned that the kidnapping was a war crime.

“The imprisonment of the mayor of Melitopol is therefore a crime not only against a particular person, against a particular community, and not just against Ukraine. It is a crime against democracy as such (…). The acts of the Russian invaders will be equated with those of the terrorists of the Islamic State,” Volodymyr Zelensky indignantly.

This Saturday morning, several hundred residents gathered in front of the Russian-occupied town hall to demand the mayor’s release.

Second day of shelling on Dnipro

Air raid sirens sounded Saturday at 5:25 a.m. local time (4:25 a.m. French time) in Dnipro, in central Ukraine, and continue to sound. CNN reporters felt at least two explosions, smoke and remnants of anti-aircraft fire. Dnipro became the target of three strikes early on Friday, hitting a school, an apartment building and a shoe factory. A civilian was killed. A football stadium and a library were hit in Lutsk and Chernihiv.

Anti-aircraft sirens are sounding everywhere

1h40 without stopping in Odessa, French journalist Vanessa Descouraux tweeted. The sirens also warned of the impending attack in Kiev, Lviv, Kharkiv, Cherkassy, ​​as well as in the Sumy region.