Search for survivors after Russian shelling kills 15

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At least 15 people have been killed and more than 20 are believed to be buried in rubble after Russian rockets destroyed apartment buildings in eastern Ukraine, the latest brutal attack on civilians as security forces invasion seek to capture the rest of the Donbass region.

Rescuers aided by heavy equipment searched for survivors under the rubble on Sunday in Chasiv Yar, a town of about 12,000 people located in the northern half of Donetsk province where three buildings in a residential area were destroyed on Saturday evening. Authorities said six people had been rescued, but regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said around 24 people were still trapped, including a 9-year-old child.

A building had its sides completely flattened by the impact of the strike, but rescuers continued their efforts in the rain despite the dangerous conditions. The thud of artillery on the nearby front line echoed miles away, sending some workers flinching and others taking cover when it got too close.

After taking control of Luhansk province, the Russians plan to seize Donetsk, which would give them full control of Donbass. Chasiv Yar is 20 km southeast of Kramatorsk, a major Russian target.

Latest developments:

►The first hundred Ukrainians to train in the UK have started receiving instruction at sites across Britain in a bid to replenish the ranks with up to 10,000 new recruits. They will be trained in weapons handling, battlefield first aid and patrol tactics, the UK Ministry of Defense said.

►Even though Russian and Belarusian players were banned from Wimbledon this year due to the war, the Russian Tennis Federation could claim victory after Elena Rybakina – born in Moscow and raised in the country’s system but now citizen of Kazakhstan – won the women’s title.

► Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has told residents of Russian-occupied southern regions to flee ahead of a “massive fight” to come in areas near Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

►Moscow city deputy Alexei Gorinov was sentenced to seven years in prison for comments scorning Russia’s war in Ukraine, the first Russian lawmaker to be charged under a new law targeting anti-war remarks .

►An additional 71 million people around the world are living in poverty due to soaring food and energy prices that soared in the weeks following the Russian invasion, the United Nations Development Program has said. development in a report.

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Two rocket attacks on Sunday in Kharkiv province, which the occupiers consider an ‘inalienable part of Russian land’, could be the latest sign that the Kremlin will try to annex at least part of the northeastern industrial territory which is home to the second largest city in Ukraine.

The Institute for the Study of War presented other indications, among which the new flag flown by the occupation government with the Russian imperial double-headed eagle and the rapid establishment of a civil administration, which instituted martial law on Friday.

With Russian efforts now focused on taking over Donetsk province as they pursue control of the Donbass region, they seem determined to expand their reach. The British Ministry of Defense said in a tweet on Sunday that controlling the E40, the main road linking Donetsk with Kharkiv, “is likely to be an important objective for Russia as it tries to advance through Donetsk”.

Brittney Griner’s presence was as big as the 6-foot-9 center at Sunday’s WNBA All-Star Game in Chicago, even as she sat thousands of miles away in a Russian jail, desperate to get home. home.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist was announced as the game’s honorary starter, and all of her fellow All-Stars wore her name and number on their jerseys in the second half as the league continued to raise awareness of Griner’s imprisonment.

Griner, 31, has been detained since February 17, a week before the invasion of Ukraine began, after police at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport said they found vaping cartridges containing oil of cannabis in his luggage. The eight-time All-Star pleaded guilty on Thursday to drug possession charges and could face up to 10 years in prison, her return home clearly complicated by strained relations between the United States and Russia.

“BG is one of us. She’s our sister,” said A’ja Wilson, captain of the winning team on Sunday. “We’re going to do everything we can to amplify the platform we have to make sure everyone is doing what they need to do to make sure she gets home safely.”

Russia and Ukraine share responsibility, possibly equally, for the March 11 attack on a nursing home in the eastern province of Luhansk that sparked a fire, killing dozens of vulnerable civilians, a new UN report says.

Ukrainian officials blamed the invading forces entirely for the brutality near the village of Stara Krasnyanka, but the report points out that Ukrainian troops took up positions inside the retirement home, making it a target.

At least 22 of the 71 patients survived the onslaught, but the exact number of those killed remains unknown, according to the United Nations.

During five hours of talks in their first face-to-face meeting since October, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Saturday he had expressed deep concern to Chinese officials about their country’s position on the actions of Russia in Ukraine and that he did not believe Beijing’s protests that he is neutral in the conflict.

“We are concerned about the alignment of the PRC (People’s Republic of China) with Russia,” Blinken told reporters after the meeting in the Indonesian resort of Bali. He said it’s hard to be neutral in a conflict in which there’s a clear aggressor, but even if it were possible, “I don’t believe China is acting neutral.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Twitter on Saturday that the United States would give Ukraine an additional $360 million in humanitarian aid to support refugees who fled the country amid its conflict with Russia. and the Ukrainians still there.

The additional aid comes a day after the Pentagon announced it would send an additional $400 million worth of weapons and parts to Ukraine, including four additional sophisticated rocket-assisted artillery systems to counter advances in Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has defied Western nations, suggesting his invasion of Ukraine is far from over, Russian state media RIA Novosti reported.

“Today we hear that (the West wants) to defeat us on the battlefield,” Putin said, according to RIA Novosti. “Well, what can I say? Let them try.”

Speaking at a meeting with leaders of the Kremlin-controlled parliament on Thursday, Putin accused Western allies of fueling hostilities, saying “the West wants to fight us to the last Ukrainian. It’s a tragedy for the Ukrainian people, but it seems to be heading in that direction.

Putin launched the unprovoked invasion on February 24 under the guise of “denazifying” Ukraine.

Contribute: The Associated Press

Brandon D. James