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Bombs rain down on Kyiv apartment block, killing two as Putin's forces edge closer to capital

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At least two people have been killed in a strike on a nine-storey residential building in Kyiv as Putin’s forces ramp up pressure on the capital with renewed artillery fire.

The attack, which injured at least a dozen people, came as Russian troops edged closer to the city and kept up their siege of the southern port city of Mariupol, where officials said nearly 2,200 people have been killed. 

‘As of 07:40, the bodies of two people were found in a nine-storey apartment building, three people were hospitalised and nine people were treated on the spot,’ the country’s emergency service said on Facebook, adding that the building was in Kyiv’s Obolon district. 

The devastating assault also saw Antonov’s aircraft plant come under fire at Sviatoshyn Airfield, six miles from Kyiv city centre, while Ukrainian forces also fought back, shooting down four planes, three helicopters and numerous ‘unmanned aerial vehicles’ in a single day, inflicting ‘devastating blows’ on Putin’s military. 

Overnight, Russian forces fired artillery on the capital’s northwestern and eastern suburbs, killing a town councillor in Brovary as shells rained down on Irpen, Bucha and Hostomel.  

But the general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces said this morning that Russian troops have not made major advances over the past 24 hours, despite expanding strikes to the west.

A resident climbs down a ladder to safety after a nine-storey residential apartment was shelled in Kyiv, killing two people, Ukrainian officials said

A resident climbs down a ladder to safety after a nine-storey residential apartment was shelled in Kyiv, killing two people, Ukrainian officials said

Firefighters use a ladder to evacuate a man from a residential building that was struck, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues in Kyiv

Firefighters use a ladder to evacuate a man from a residential building that was struck, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues in Kyiv

The attack, which injured at least a dozen people, came as Russian troops edged closer to the city and kept up their siege of the southern port city of Mariupol, where officials said nearly 2,200 people have been killed

The attack, which injured at least a dozen people, came as Russian troops edged closer to the city and kept up their siege of the southern port city of Mariupol, where officials said nearly 2,200 people have been killed

Firefighters help a man evacuate from an apartment building hit by shelling in the Obolon district of Kyiv this morning

Firefighters help a man evacuate from an apartment building hit by shelling in the Obolon district of Kyiv this morning

An elderly woman is evacuated from a burning apartment block in the suburbs of Kyiv after it was destroyed by a Russian air strike in the early hours of Monday that killed at least two people

An elderly woman is evacuated from a burning apartment block in the suburbs of Kyiv after it was destroyed by a Russian air strike in the early hours of Monday that killed at least two people

A firefighter rescues a cat from an apartment building in Obolon, northern Kyiv, after it was hit by Russian forces on Monday

A firefighter rescues a cat from an apartment building in Obolon, northern Kyiv, after it was hit by Russian forces on Monday

A wrecked car is seen suspended in a tree after Russian air strikes damaged a civilian apartment block in Obolon, Kyiv

A wrecked car is seen suspended in a tree after Russian air strikes damaged a civilian apartment block in Obolon, Kyiv

In one attack, missiles pounded a military base in western Ukraine, killing 35 people in an attack on a facility that served as a crucial hub for co-operation between Ukraine and the NATO countries supporting its defence.

It raised the possibility the alliance could be drawn into the fight. 

The attack was also heavy with symbolism in a conflict that has revived old Cold War rivalries and threatened to rewrite the current global security order.

Volodymyr Zelensky called it a ‘black day’ and again urged NATO leaders to establish a no-fly zone over the country, a plea the West has said could escalate the war to a nuclear confrontation.

‘If you do not close our sky, it is only a matter of time before Russian missiles fall on your territory… NATO territory… On the homes of citizens of NATO countries,’ Zelensky said, urging Putin to meet with him directly, a request that has gone unanswered by the Kremlin.

A fourth round of talks is expected on Monday between Ukrainian and Russian officials via video conference to discuss getting aid to cities and towns under fire, among other issues, Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak said.

The talks will involve the same higher-level officials who met earlier in Belarus, aimed at ‘assessing preliminary results’ of talks so far, Mr Podolyak said. Previous talks have not led to major breakthroughs or a solution for getting aid or evacuation convoys to the desperate, strategic city of Mariupol.

A Ukrainian soldier helps fire crews search the ruins of a Kyiv apartment building for survivors and victims after Russia resumed its bombing campaign early Monday

A Ukrainian soldier helps fire crews search the ruins of a Kyiv apartment building for survivors and victims after Russia resumed its bombing campaign early Monday

Rescuers work next to a residential building damaged by shelling by Russian forces in the early hours of Monday

Rescuers work next to a residential building damaged by shelling by Russian forces in the early hours of Monday

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden is sending his national security adviser to Rome to meet with a Chinese official over worries Beijing is amplifying Russian disinformation and may help Moscow evade Western economic sanctions.

The UN has recorded at least 596 civilian deaths, though it believes the true toll is much higher, and Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office said at least 85 children are among them. Millions more people have fled their homes amid the largest land conflict in Europe since the Second World War.

Since their invasion more than two weeks ago, Russian forces have struggled in their advance across Ukraine, in the face of stiffer than expected resistance, bolstered by Western weapons support. 

Instead, Russian forces have besieged several cities and pummelled them with strikes, hitting two dozen medical facilities and creating a series of humanitarian crises.

That fight expanded on Sunday to the sprawling facility at Yavoriv, which has long been used to train Ukrainian soldiers, often with instructors from the United States and other countries in the Western alliance. 

More than 30 Russian cruise missiles targeted the site. In addition to the fatalities, the Ukrainian Defence Ministry said 134 people were wounded in the attack.

Putin's invasion of Ukraine - which he had anticipated would last only a few days with limited casualties - is now nearing its third week with heavy losses on both sides, as Moscow gives the first signs it could be willing to end the fighting by saying there has been'substantial progress' in peace talks

Putin’s invasion of Ukraine – which he had anticipated would last only a few days with limited casualties – is now nearing its third week with heavy losses on both sides, as Moscow gives the first signs it could be willing to end the fighting by saying there has been ‘substantial progress’ in peace talks

A view of damaged buildings and streets due to the ongoing Russian shelling and missile strikes in Kharkiv on March 13

A view of damaged buildings and streets due to the ongoing Russian shelling and missile strikes in Kharkiv on March 13

A Ukrainian firefighter drags a hose inside a large food products storage facility which was destroyed by an airstrike in the early morning hours on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, March 13

A Ukrainian firefighter drags a hose inside a large food products storage facility which was destroyed by an airstrike in the early morning hours on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, March 13

First responders are seen cleaning up a building recently destroyed by Russian rockets in Kharkiv, Ukraine on March 13

First responders are seen cleaning up a building recently destroyed by Russian rockets in Kharkiv, Ukraine on March 13

An unexploded bomb was lifted out of another building in Chernihiv in northern Ukraine on March 13 after intense fighting

An unexploded bomb was lifted out of another building in Chernihiv in northern Ukraine on March 13 after intense fighting

The base is less than 15 miles from the Polish border and appears to be the westernmost target struck during Russia’s 18-day invasion. 

It has hosted NATO training drills, making it a potent symbol of Russia’s longstanding fears that the expansion of the 30-member Western military alliance to include former Soviet states threatens its security – something NATO denies.

Still, the perceived threat from NATO is central to Moscow’s justifications for the war, and it has demanded Ukraine drop its ambitions to join the alliance.

Ina Padi, a 40-year-old Ukrainian who crossed the border with her family, was taking shelter at a fire station in Wielkie Oczy, Poland, when she was awakened by blasts on Sunday morning that shook her windows.

‘I understood in that moment, even if we are free of it, (the war) is still coming after us,’ she said.

Russian fighters also fired at the airport in the western city of Ivano-Frankivsk, which is 94 miles north of Romania and 155 miles from Hungary, two other NATO allies.

The emergency workers donned hard hats and protective gear as they made their way through the rubble and debris

The emergency workers donned hard hats and protective gear as they made their way through the rubble and debris

A man wounded in this morning's air strikes at a nearby military complex is assisted by medical staff outside Novoiavorivsk District Hospital on March 13, 2022 in Novoiavorivsk, Ukraine. A series of Russian missiles struck the International Center for Peacekeeping and Security at the nearby Yavoriv military complex

A man wounded in this morning’s air strikes at a nearby military complex is assisted by medical staff outside Novoiavorivsk District Hospital on March 13, 2022 in Novoiavorivsk, Ukraine. A series of Russian missiles struck the International Center for Peacekeeping and Security at the nearby Yavoriv military complex

Firefighters also helped with the clean up in the city of Kharkiv, which is in the northeast of the war-torn country

Firefighters also helped with the clean up in the city of Kharkiv, which is in the northeast of the war-torn country

A view of damaged buildings and streets due to the ongoing Russian shelling and missile strikes in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Sunday

A view of damaged buildings and streets due to the ongoing Russian shelling and missile strikes in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Sunday 

NATO said on Sunday it currently does not have any personnel in Ukraine, though the United States has increased the number of US troops deployed to Poland. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the West would respond if Russia’s strikes travel outside Ukraine and hit any NATO members, even accidentally.

Ukrainian and European leaders have pushed with limited success for Russia to grant safe passage to civilians trapped by fighting. 

Ukrainian authorities said on Sunday that more than 10 humanitarian corridors were set to open, including from the besieged port city of Mariupol. 

But such promises have repeatedly crumbled, and there was no word late on Sunday on whether people were able to use the evacuation routes.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said suffering in Mariupol was ‘simply immense’ and that hundreds of thousands of people faced extreme shortages of food, water and medicine.

‘Dead bodies, of civilians and combatants, remain trapped under the rubble or lying in the open where they fell,’ the Red Cross said in a statement. ‘Life-changing injuries and chronic, debilitating conditions cannot be treated.’

The fight for Mariupol is crucial because its capture could help Russia establish a land corridor to Crimea, which it seized from Ukraine in 2014.

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