The Russia-Ukraine war moved into its eighth day on Thursday, as President Vladimir Putin’s forces captured a strategic Ukrainian port and surrounded another in a bid to cut off the country from the sea.
A second round of talks between Ukrainian and Russian delegations aimed at stopping the fighting that has set off an exodus of over 1 million refugees began Thursday in neighboring Belarus, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office.
Ukrainians still in the country faced another grim day. In Kyiv, snow gave way to a cold, gray drizzle, as long lines formed outside the few pharmacies and bakeries that remain open.
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New shelling was reported in the northern city of Chernihiv, where emergency officials said at least 22 civilians had been killed in a Russian bombardment of a residential area. They warned that the number of casualties could grow as rescuers search the debris. The mayor said he was struggling to organize safe passage for civilians.
Families with children fled via muddy and snowy roads in the eastern region of Donetsk, while military strikes on the village of Yakovlivka near the eastern city of Kharkiv destroyed 30 homes, leaving three dead and seven injured, and rescuers pulled 10 people from the ruins, according to emergency authorities.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian media reports said Russian troops had entered the southern city of Enerhodar, a major energy hub on the Dnieper River that accounts for about one-quarter of the country’s power generation. It is the site of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, the biggest in Europe.
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The Russian military said it had control of Kherson, and local Ukrainian officials confirmed that forces have taken over local government headquarters in the Black Sea port of 280,000, making it the first major city to fall since the invasion began a week ago.
Heavy fighting continued on the outskirts of another strategic port, Mariupol, on the Azov Sea, plunging it into darkness, isolation and fear. Electricity and phone service were largely down, and homes and shops faced food and water shortages. Without phone connections, medics did not know where to take the wounded.
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The contributed to this report.