Sorting fact, disinformation after Russian attack on Ukraine
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Associated Press journalists around Ukraine and beyond are documenting military activity during Russia’s invasion. With disinformation rife and social media amplifying military claims and counterclaims, determining exactly what is happening is difficult. Here’s a look at what could be confirmed Sunday.
WHAT ARE THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS?
Huge explosions lit up the sky early Sunday south of the capital, Kyiv, where people hunkered down in homes, underground garages and subway stations in anticipation of a full-scale assault by Russian forces.
Flames billowed into the air before dawn from an oil depot near an air base in Vasylkiv where there has been intense fighting, according to the town’s mayor. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office said another explosion came from the civilian Zhuliany airport.
Videos posted on Ukrainian media and social networks showed Russian vehicles moving across Kharkiv and Russian troops roaming the city in small groups. One showed Ukrainian troops firing at the Russians and damaged Russian light utility vehicles abandoned nearby.
Russia claims its assault on Ukraine is aimed only at military targets, but bridges, schools and residential neighborhoods have been hit.
ANNOUNCED BY RUSSIAN AUTHORITIES:
— President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian nuclear forces put on high alert in response to what he called “aggressive statements” by leading NATO powers. The directive to put Russia’s nuclear weapons in an increased state of readiness for launch raised fears that the crisis could boil over into nuclear warfare, whether by design or mistake.
— The Russian military said it blocked strategic cities along Ukraine’s coast as it pushed its offensive in the south. They said Russian troops fully blocked the city of Kherson on the Black Sea and the port of Berdyansk on the Azov Sea and that Russian forces also took control of an air base near Kherson and the city of Henichesk on the Azov Sea.
ANNOUNCED BY UKRAINIAN AUTHORITIES:
— Ukraine says about 3,500 Russian troops have been killed during the invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine’s U.N. ambassador, Sergiy Kyslytsya, tweeted Saturday that Ukraine appealed to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) “to facilitate repatriation of thousands of bodies of Russian soldiers.” An accompanying chart claimed 3,500 Russian troops have been killed.
— Russian forces blew up a gas pipeline in Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city. Ukrainian authorities warned the explosion could cause an environmental catastrophe and advised residents to cover their windows with damp cloth or gauze and to drink plenty of fluids.
— Ukraine’s top prosecutor, Iryna Venediktova, said Russian forces were unable to take Kharkiv, where a fierce battle was underway. The city of 1.5 million is located 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Russian border.
— Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office said Ukrainian and Russian officials sides would meet for talks at an unspecified location on the Belarusian border.
ANNOUNCED BY OFFICIALS ELSEWHERE:
— Laetitia Courtois, ICRC’s permanent observer to the U.N., told The Associated Press that it could not confirm the Ukrainian claim that 3,500 Russian troops were killed because the situation in Ukraine was “a limitation for our teams on the ground.”
— The United Nations’ refugee agency said about 368,000 Ukrainians have arrived in Poland, Moldova and other neighboring countries since the invasion started Thursday.
Follow AP’s coverage of the Ukraine crisis at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine