Russian-Ukrainian War Dispatch: March 14, 2022 | Russo-Ukrainian War
A roundup of major battlefield developments on Day 19 of the Russian invasion on multiple fronts of Ukraine.
Russian missiles and artillery fire continued to hit several Ukrainian cities as Moscow’s slow advance continued into its 19th day and officials from both sides held a new round of talks.
Amid heavy shelling, Russian forces have regrouped around the capital, Kiev, as well as in southern and eastern Ukraine, in an attempt to deal with logistical challenges exacerbated by Ukrainian counterattacks and poor planning.
Meanwhile, the UK MoD said Russian naval forces had established a “distant blockade” from Ukraine’s strategic Black Sea coast, isolating it from international maritime trade.
People fleeing to Kyiv
A residential building in the Obolon district of northern Kyiv was hit by Russian strikes in the early hours of Monday, killing at least one person and injuring 12 others, including three who required hospitalization, according to Ukrainian authorities. The figures could not be independently verified.
As Kiev prepares for an all-out assault, its mayor Vitali Klitschko told Al Jazeera that the capital “will never give up” and that Russian forces will “never” be able to take it.
Half of the city’s four million residents have already fled, but more people from surrounding areas likely to become active combat zones are trying to reach the capital. Sixteen buses with local residents were evacuated from the village of Nemishayeve, while another eight left from the village of Dmytrivka.
Meanwhile, shelling continued to cause extensive damage in Kharkiv, the country’s second largest city, as well as in Sumy and the blockaded port city of Mariupol, where conditions remain dire. Still, more than 160 civilian cars were able to leave Mariupol after several failed attempts to evacuate residents of the key southern city.
Military activity in the south
In the Melitopol region in southeastern Ukraine, the Ukrainian army said it destroyed a Russian convoy of 200 units of armored equipment. The claim could not be independently verified.
In Melitopol itself, which is in Russian hands, the citizens continued organize demonstrations against the Russian presence and the kidnapping of the city’s mayor.
Further north, Russian forces are accused of bombing a bridge near Kamenskoye, cutting transport and supply links between Zaporizhzhia and Enerhodar.
Deaths reported in Donetsk
Further east, pro-Russian separatists said fragments of a Ukrainian Tochka-U 9M79-1 tactical ballistic missile fell in downtown Donetsk, killing at least 16 people and injuring more than 20 Ukraine has denied any responsibility.
In Luhansk, meanwhile, local governor Serhii Haidai accused Russian forces of destroying “residents and settlements” in the province and warned that “ghost towns” were being created due to attacks in Classes.
Russia does not rule out taking “full control” of major cities
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian President Vladimir Putin initially ordered troops “not to attack cities immediately, including Kiev”, citing the large number of casualties that would be caused by “the deployment weapons by militants in the cities”.
However, Peskov added that the Defense Ministry no longer rules out “the possibility of taking full control of major population centers”, while “ensuring maximum security” for civilians.