Russia captures Black Sea port city of Kherson

 Refugee count tops 1 million: UNHRC

Washington DC: Russian troops were in the center of the Ukrainian port of Kherson on Thursday after a day of conflicting claims over whether Moscow had captured a major urban center for the first time in its eight-day invasion.

Igor Konashenkov, a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, said Wednesday that the key Black Sea port city of nearly 300,000 people was under Russia’s “complete control,” and that talks were underway between Russian commanders and city and regional authorities over how to maintain order.

Kherson was one of at least three cities that Russian troops had encircled, along with the coastal city of Mariupol and Kharkiv, in northeastern Ukraine.

Burgeoning Refugee Crisis

More than 1 million people have fled Ukraine following Russia’s invasion, in the swiftest refugee exodus this century, the United Nations said Thursday, as Russian forces kept up their bombardment of the country’s second-biggest city, Kharkiv, and laid siege to two strategic seaports.

The tide of people fleeing Ukraine — by car, train, and on foot, marks the swiftest exodus of refugees this century. Shabia Mantoo, the spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said “at this rate,” it could become “the biggest refugee crisis this century.”

Fight for Kyiv rages on

In a videotaped address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on Ukrainians to keep up the resistance. He vowed that the invaders would have “not one quiet moment” and described Russian soldiers as “confused children who have been used.”

“The advance on Kyiv has been rather not very organized and now they’re more or less stuck,” military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer told the AP in Moscow.

Kharkiv: Stalingrad of 21st century

Russian forces continue to pound Kharkiv on Thursday, Ukraine’s biggest city after Kyiv, with about 1.5 million people. “Kharkiv today is the Stalingrad of the 21st century,” Oleksiy Arestovich, a top adviser to Zelenskyy said, invoking what is considered one of the most heroic episodes in Russian history, the five-month defense of the city from the Nazis during World War II.

Images courtesy of (Image Courtesy: RAND Corporation) and (Image Courtesy: Maxer Tech via AP)

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