KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Most of the world aligned against Moscow at the United Nations on Wednesday demanding it withdraw from Ukraine, as Russian forces renewed their bombardment of the country’s second-largest city. and besieged its strategic ports.
Russia reported its military casualties for the first time since the invasion began last week, saying nearly 500 of its soldiers had been killed and nearly 1,600 injured. Ukraine insisted Russia’s losses were far higher, but did not immediately reveal its own losses.
The United Nations General Assembly has voted to demand that Russia halt its offensive and immediately withdraw all its troops, with world powers and small island states condemning Moscow. The vote was 141 to 5, with 35 abstentions. It came after the 193-member assembly convened its first emergency session since 1997.
The countries that have spoken for Russia are Belarus, Cuba, North Korea and Syria.
Assembly resolutions are not legally binding, but they carry weight in reflecting international opinion.
Meanwhile, Russia pounded Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city with around 1.5 million people, with another round of airstrikes that destroyed buildings and lit up the skyline with balls of fire. fire. At least 21 people were killed and 112 injured over the past day, said Oleg Sinehubov, head of the Kharkiv regional administration.
Arestovich said several Russian planes were shot down over Kharkiv, although this could not be confirmed.
“Kharkiv today is the Stalingrad of the 21st century,” said Oleksiy Arestovich, a top presidential adviser, referring to what is considered one of the most heroic moments in Russian history, the defense of five month of the city against the Nazis during the Second World War. .
But both sides said they were also ready to resume talks aimed at stopping the fighting, which threatened Ukraine on multiple fronts. A huge column of Russian tanks and other military vehicles 40 miles long stood outside the capital, and the Russian invaders launched their assault on the strategic port cities of Kherson and Mariupol.
Russian attacks, many with missiles, blew off the roof of the five-story building of the Kharkiv regional police and burned down the top floor, and also hit the intelligence headquarters and a university building, according to officials and sources. videos and photos released by the Ukrainian State Emergency Service. . Official residential buildings were also affected, but did not provide details.
Seven days after the Russian invasion, a refugee crisis has unfolded on the European continent, with the United Nations saying that more than 870,000 people have fled Ukraine and the number could soon reach 1 million.
The state emergency service reported that more than 2,000 civilians were killed, but this could not immediately be independently verified, and neither side disclosed military casualties.
A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, gave casualty figures on his side, dismissing reports of Russians’ “incalculable casualties” as “disinformation”.
Konashenkov also said more than 2,870 Ukrainian soldiers were killed and around 3,700 wounded, while another 572 were captured. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskky claimed nearly 6,000 Russian soldiers had been killed.
The two sides held talks on Monday, agreeing only to keep talking. It was not immediately clear when further talks might take place or what they would yield. Zelenskyy said Tuesday that Russia should stop the bombing before another meeting.
Russia, meanwhile, has stepped up its rhetoric, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reminding the world of the country’s vast nuclear arsenal. In an interview with Al-Jazeera, he said: “A Third World War will be nuclear and devastating,” according to Russian news sites.
In the northern city of Chernihiv, two cruise missiles hit a hospital, according to Ukrainian news agency UNIAN, which quoted the head of the health administration, Serhiy Pivovar, as saying that authorities were trying to determine the number of victims.
In besieged Mariupol, at least one teenager died and two others were injured by apparent Russian shelling.
The three boys were rushed to a regional hospital. One had lost his legs in the attack and died shortly after arriving, according to an Associated Press reporter at the scene. Family members told the AP the three were playing football near a school when the shelling hit.
The attacks came a day after Russia, stepping up its attacks on cities, shelled Kharkiv’s central square – where at least six people are believed to have been killed – and hit Kyiv’s main television tower, where authorities said five people died. The Babi Yar Holocaust memorial, located near Kiev, was also the target of fire, but the main monument was not damaged.
Even as the Russian invasion continued on multiple fronts, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said a delegation would be ready later in the day to meet with Ukrainian officials.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also said his country was ready, but noted that Russia’s demands had not changed and that he would not accept any ultimatums. Neither side has said where the talks could take place.
In other developments:
— The price of oil continued to soar, reaching $112 a barrel, the highest since 2014.
— Russia found itself further economically isolated as Airbus and Boeing announced they would cut spare parts and technical support to the country’s airlines, a blow. Airbus and Boeing jets make up the vast majority of Russia’s passenger fleet. Dozens of multinational companies have reduced or ceased doing business in Russia.
Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, acknowledged that the global economic punishment hitting Russia is unprecedented, but said Moscow had prepared for all sorts of sanctions and the potential damage had been taken into account before launching the invasion.
“We have experience in this area. We have been through several crises,” he said.
The UK Ministry of Defense said Kharkiv and Mariupol were surrounded. A third city, Kherson, was under pressure, but there were conflicting reports as to who was in control.
Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko said the attacks there had been relentless.
“We can’t even get the wounded out of the streets, houses and apartments today, since the shelling doesn’t stop,” he said, quoted by the Interfax news agency.
On the outskirts of Kiev, volunteer fighters well into their 60s manned a checkpoint to block the Russian advance.
“In my old age, I had to take up arms,” said 68-year-old Andrey Goncharuk. He said the fighters needed more weapons, but “we will kill the enemy and take their weapons.”
The International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, has warned that the fighting poses a danger to Ukraine’s 15 nuclear reactors.
“When there is an ongoing conflict, there is of course a risk of attack or the possibility of an accidental blow,” Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told Vienna.
Russia has already taken control of the decommissioned Chernobyl power plant, scene in 1986 of the worst nuclear disaster in the world.
Isachenkov and Litvinova reported from Moscow; Karmanau reported from Lviv, Ukraine. Mstyslav Chernov in Mariupol, Ukraine; Sergei Grits in Odessa, Ukraine; Robert Burns, Zeke Miller and Eric Tucker in Washington; Francesca Ebel, Josef Federman and Andrew Drake in Kyiv; Lorne Cook in Brussels; and other AP reporters around the world contributed to this report.
Follow AP coverage of the Ukraine crisis at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine