As Ukraine’s overmatched defense forces face desperate times on multiple fronts in their underdog effort to stave off a Russian invasion, Russia has taken control of its first major Ukrainian city.
Kherson Mayor Igor Kolykhaev and a senior Ukrainian government official each confirmed the city’s fall after days of fighting, according to The New York Times.
Kolykhaev said Ukrainian forces retreated toward Mykolaiv. Kherson is a major port city on the southern coast of Ukraine.
“There is no Ukrainian army here,” he said in an interview. “The city is surrounded.”
According to a senior Pentagon official, Ukraine’s resistance is flailing amid logistical problems as Russia becomes more aggressive in attacking civilians and infrastructure.
“Kherson has fallen to the Russian military, becoming the first major Ukrainian city to come under Russian control since the invasion last week,” Times reporter Michael Schwirtz tweeted. “The mayor, Igor Kolykhaev, told me he met today with the Russian commander who plans to set up a military administration.”
Kherson has fallen to the Russian military, becoming the first major Ukrainian city to come under Russian control since the invasion last week. The mayor, Igor Kolykhaev, told me he met today with the Russian commander who plans to set up a military administration.
— Michael Schwirtz (@mschwirtz) March 2, 2022
Russian troops have “complete control” of Kherson, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenko of Russia’s Defense Ministry said, according to the Independent.
Chilling. Prisoner transport vehicles lining up in Kherson 🇺🇦 after the city was captured by 🇷🇺 after several days of fighting. Darkness descends. An empire of evil has come. pic.twitter.com/wzvlYV4vPy
— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) March 2, 2022
CNN reported that the city may still contain pockets of resistance.
“According to the info from our brigade, the battles are going on now,” a spokesperson for the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense said. “The city is not captured totally. Some parts are under our control.”
The Times reported that key Ukrainian cities have not yet fallen, but noted that Kharkiv in Ukraine’s northeast is under siege with food and water starting to run low.
Kyiv, the capital, appears to be encircled by Russian forces.
Putin six days ago said he “wouldn’t target cities or civilians” in his “de-nazification” of Ukraine.
Now officials here say more than 2,000 civilians are dead.
Today in Mariupol, authorities believe hundreds have been killed after hours of continuous shelling.
— James Waterhouse (@JamWaterhouse) March 2, 2022
The port city of Mariupol is facing a “humanitarian catastrophe,” according to Serhiy Orlov, the city’s deputy mayor.
“The Russian army is working through all their weapons here — artillery, multiple rocket launch systems, airplanes, tactical rockets. They are trying to destroy the city,” he said.
He said that after 15 hours of bombardment “hundreds of people are dead.”