Russian warplanes and artillery attack industry hub

Russia's artillery and planes intensified their attack on Ukraine Friday. They struck airfields in west and a major industrial center in east. Moscow's forces attempted to regroup after recent losses.

Russian warplanes and artillery attack industry hub

The onslaught quickly reduced the number of crowded cities to rubble.

American intelligence officials provided an assessment of Russian air campaigns. They estimated that Russian pilots are flying 200 sorties per day, while Ukrainian forces are doing five to ten.

New satellite images from commercial companies showed artillery firing in residential areas between the capital and Russian forces. According to Maxar Technologies, the images showed muzzle flashes, smoke from big guns, and impact craters, and homes that were burning in Moschun, Kyiv.

Villagers in a village east of Moscow climbed over crumbling walls and flapping metal strips to reach the remains of a restaurant, pool hall, and theater that had been blown up by Russian bombs.

Ivan Merzyk, 62, stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin "created the mess, thinking that he would be in control here." When temperatures dropped below freezing, villagers quickly applied plastic wrap to or attached plywood to the windows of their homes.

Merzyk stated, "We aren't going away from here."

The U.S. and its allies attempted to further isolate the Kremlin and to sanction it on the political and economic fronts. President Joe Biden declared that the U.S. would dramatically lower its trade status with Russia and also ban Russian seafood, alcohol, and diamond imports.

In coordination with the European Union, Group of Seven and other countries, Russia was able to revoke its "most favored country" status.

Biden stated, "The free world is coming to confront Putin."

The Kremlin's ground forces seemed to be trying to regroup after suffering heavier losses and more resistance than expected over the past two week. The Ministry of Defense of Britain stated that Russia is trying "re-set" and re-posture its troops in preparation for the operation against Kyiv.

Putin stated that there had been "certain positive development" in Russia-Ukraine negotiations, although he did not give any details.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, for his part, stated that Ukrainian forces had "reached an strategic turning point," but he didn't elaborate.

He said via video from Kyiv that "it's impossible for us to know how many days it will take to liberate our land", but that it was possible to say we will,

Zelenskyy stated that authorities were working to establish 12 humanitarian corridors to help ensure that food, medicine, and other basic necessities reach all citizens of the country. Invasion forces killed thousands of civilians and soldiers from both sides.

He claimed Russia kidnapped Melitopol's mayor, and called the abduction "a new phase of terror." Before the invasion, the Biden administration warned that Russia would detain, kill, and threaten targeted individuals in Ukraine. Zelenskyy is likely to be a top target.

The Russians have been making the most progress in the east and south, while Kyiv has struggled in the north.

Russia claimed it used long-range, high-precision weapons to "outlaw" military airfields in Lutsk (and Ivano-Frankivsk) in the west. Four Ukrainian servicemen were killed in the attack on Lutsk.

Russian airstrikes also hit Dnipro, Ukraine's fourth largest city and major industrial hub, for the first time. It is home to about 1,000,000 people. According to Ukrainian officials, one person was killed.

Images of the aftermath from Ukraine's emergency agency show firefighters dousing a burning building and ash falling on bloodied rubble. The rubble of buildings that once stood was covered in smoke as it was smashed concrete.

The bombardment continued in Mariupol. A deadly strike at a Mariupol maternity hospital this week caused international outrage.

Relentless attacks have stopped multiple attempts to evacuate civilians from Mariupol (a city of 430,000) and send food and medicine. Mariupol's mayor's office stated Friday that 1,582 people were killed in the 12-day-old siege.

The mayor's office stated that "the dead aren’t even being buried" in the face of unrelenting bombing.

Temperatures were expected to reach -13° Celsius (8 F) in Kharkiv's eastern city, which has been under heavy bombardment.

Around 400 apartments in Kharkiv lost heat. Mayor Ihor Terekhov asked residents to use the underground shelters or subway to get warm blankets.

This latest attack came just days after satellite photos showed that the massive armored column, which was stalled for more than a week outside Kyiv, had expanded near the capital.

Military analysts differed on whether the Russian convoy's maneuvering signaled the impending start of a siege in Kyiv or was simply an attempt to disperse vehicles to safer positions. Maxar said that the photos showed howitzers in firing positions and armored units near the Antonov Airport north.

A line of 40-miles (about 65-kilometers) of tanks and other vehicles had gathered outside Kyiv in the early part last week. The advance seemed to have stopped amid reports of fuel and food shortages, muddy roads, and attacks by Ukrainian troops using anti-tank missiles.

Mathieu Boulegue is a researcher at Chatham House in London. He said that the redeployment means that the battle for Kyiv will be just hours or days away. He foresaw a prolonged siege.

"This will be a long battle of attrition. Boulegue stated that this battle will be a brutally casualty-heavy and a siege unlike any other in modern history.

Officials from the United States considered the disintegration of the convoy heading toward Kyiv less important. An American official spoke under anonymity to discuss the American military assessment. He said that the convoy hadn't made significant progress towards Kyiv and that the vehicles' movements were not part of any tactical effort to advance on Kyiv.

Instead, Americans point to other forces moving towards Kyiv from northeast. They are currently about 20-30 kilometers (about 10-20 miles) east of city center.

According to the U.S., Russia has also launched close to 810 missiles against Ukraine.

The United Nations political chief stated that credible reports had been received by the organization that Russian forces were using cluster-bombs in densely populated areas. Cluster bombs are small explosives that scatter over large areas and are banned in cities and towns according to international law.

Multiple rounds of talks between the Russians and Ukrainians were held near the Belarus border. The two countries' foreign ministers met on Thursday, but there was no sign of progress. Diverse third countries also attempted to broker an end to the fighting.

According to United Nations estimates, 2.5 million people fled Ukraine after the invasion.

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