A MUM and dad have grieve over their dead baby after a bombardment in Ukraine – as Russia was accused of flouting a ceasefire to continue attacks on civilians.
Harrowing pictures show Marina Yatsko and her partner Fedor weeping over their 18-month-old son‘s lifeless body in a hospital ward in the besieged city of Mariupol.
Parents Marina Yatsko and Fedor weeping over their baby son’s lifeless body
Smoke rises after shelling by Russian forces in Mariupol on FridayCredit: AP
A Ukrainian service member walks near a school building destroyed by shelling in ZhytomyrCredit: Reuters
Fire is seen in Mariupol at a residential area after shelling by Russian troops
An unexploded Russian aviation bomb beside a home in ChernihivCredit: Reuters
Some 351 civilians have died in Ukraine since Russian troops invaded on February 24 and another 707 have been wounded, a UN monitoring mission said today.
They said most deaths were caused by the heavy shelling and artillery fire on densely populated civilian areas and fear the true toll could be “considerably higher”.
Earlier today Mariupol leaders said Vladimir Putin’s forces had breached a ceasefire in the smashed city just hours after agreeing to allow civilians to escape.
Russia said it was halting their bombardments on the strategic port Mariupol and the eastern town of Volnovakha, but opened fire an hour later, sending people running for shelter.
The Kremlin then accused Ukrainians of blocking refugees from leaving, which was slammed as untrue by the military and city officials.
Tonight the UK Ministry of Defence blasted Russia’s cynical ploy.
It said Russia’s proposed ceasefire was “likely an attempt to deflect international condemnation while resetting its force for renewed offensive activity”.
An MoD intelligence update added: “By accusing Ukraine of breaking the agreement, Russia is likely seeking to shift responsibility for current and future civilian casualties in the city.”
Ukraine’s foreign ministry said Russia had made a “gross violation” of its agreement to open up humanitarian corridors.
“The ongoing shelling makes it impossible to open humanitarian corridors for the safe evacuation of civilians, the delivery of medicines [and] food,” the ministry tweeted.
Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross said today’s scenes in Mariupol were “heartbreaking”.
It said: “We understand that the safe passage operations from Mariupol and Volnovakha will not start today.
“[But] the scenes in Mariupol and in other cities today are heartbreaking.”
It added: “Parties must continue to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure under international humanitarian law.”
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It comes after a week of vicious bloodshed that has seen thousands of civilians butchered at the hands of Putin’s forces.
The ceasefire began at 9am UK time – offering the briefest window of respite for the besieged people of Ukraine.
Ukrainian officials had hoped to evacuated some 200,000 civilians from the city before the bombardment restarted.
“The Russians are continuing to bomb us and use artillery. It is crazy,” said Mariupol deputy mayor Serhiy Orlov.
“There is no ceasefire in Mariupol and there is no ceasefire all along the route. Our civilians are ready to escape but they cannot escape under shelling.”
Civilians are having to take the route from Mariupol to Rozivka to Zaporizhzhia – but fighting continues along the supposed “humanitarian corridor”.
Russians meanwhile blamed Ukrainian “nationalists” for preventing the evacuation.
Russia was also accused of blowing up an empty train for evacuating civilians in Kyiv, according to local reports.
And civilians in Irpin on the outskirts of Kyiv were forced to hide under a destroyed bridge to escape Russian air strikes.
Ukrainian soldiers with assault rifles swinging off their shoulders have helped wheelchair-bound pensioners and mothers with prams cross a few wooden planks tossed over the river Irpin on Saturday.
It comes as:
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy this morning confirmed the new humanitarian corridors – but urged those who could to “continue fighting”.
And in a bitter speech on Friday night he renewed calls for a no fly zone, telling Nato that “all the people who die from this day”.
Mariupol has been one of the most brutalised cities of war as the Russian have blockaded it and cut off food, water, heating and transport in the depths of water.
It has been compared to the Nazi blockade of Leningrad in World War 2.
Citizens had been given just five hours to leave – with a window from 9am to 2pm UK time – and there will be 50 specially arranged buses.
Mariupol mayor Vadim Boychenko aid his people have been under “constant, ruthless fire” from the Russians.
It comes as fighting rages in Sumy and Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine and the southern city of Mykolaiv.
And there are no trains running as the Russians destroyed the railways, he said – and added he also fears information may be hard to get to residents due the destroyed communications.
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has reported a dire situation in the city, with numerous staff injured and water having to be collected from rain and snow.
Multiple supermarkets providing food for the desperate civilians have been hit by missiles – and there remains no mobile connection, according to MSF.
Putin’s invasion has drawn condemnation and severe sanctions from Western nations balancing punishment of the Kremlin with fears of a hazardous escalation.
People in Irpin, Kyiv, hiding under a destroyed bridgeCredit: AP
Today in Kherson – the first city seized by Russia – there were mass protests as citizens come out in force waving the flag of Ukraine.
One incredible moment saw a man climb aboard a Russian tank to wave the yellow and blue banner, while other footage showed protesters confronting heavily armed Russian soldiers.
But capturing Mariupol, a city of about 450,000 people on the Azov Sea, would represent a bigger prize for Russian forces as it would deal a severe blow to Ukraine’s maritime access and form a prized land bridge from annexed Crimea and the Donbas.
Peace talks are expected to continue today – but Ukraine remains defiant as civilians prepare to fight back amid Russia’s grinding advance.
And according to civilians fleeing Volnovakha – the other city granted a brief moment of peace in the ceasefire – the city has almost been totally destroyed.
The eastern city has undergone bombardment by artillery since the very first day of the invasion has come under attack by pro-Russian separatists.
“The attacks went on all night and all day. We told the children it was thunder,” said one resident, Viktor.
“We can never go back to Volnovakha. Everything has been ruined and nothing is there anymore.”
Children have been killed in his indiscriminate bombing campaigns which have allegedly used weapons such as cluster munitions and vacuum bombs.
‘Convoy of death’
Meanwhile, Russia yesterday took control of Europe’s biggest power plant in Zaporizhzhia – after a battle that set the facility on fire.
Putin has received international condemnation for its actions, which could have triggered the biggest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
Russia has found its invasion blighted with logistical problems – with reports of tanks running out of fuel and soldiers running low on supplies.
Putin is believed to have thought he could roll over Ukraine within just 48 hours – and his forces thought they would be met as heroes.
But instead, they have found themselves bogged down against a staunch resistance.
Putin is also becoming increasingly isolated in the world as Russia feels the crushing weight of Western sanctions.
Moscow however is believed to be growing frustrated – and it is feared Putin could resort to ever more brutal tactics as the war drags on.
Kyiv is believed to remain the prime objective for the Russians.
And a massive convoy of armoured vehicles has been lurking nearby apparently preparing for a protracted siege.
However, mystery surrounds the so-called “Convoy of Death” as it hasn’t made any significant progress for days.
Russian forces are believed to be being increasingly demoralised, with captured troops seen crying for their mums.
Some 1.45 million people have fled Ukraine since the invasion began ten days ago, according to the U.N.-affiliated Organization for Migration in Geneva.
It predicted the total number of refugees could swell to 4 million, to become the biggest such crisis this century.
A brave Ukrainian protester climbs atop a Russian armoured vehicle in Kherson
Protesters confront heavily armed Russian troops in Kherson
A woman breaks down in tears as she realizes she is getting to board an evacuating train in IrpinCredit: Los Angeles Times / Polaris
Destroyed and burnt out Russian armored vehicles in the city of Bucha, west of KyivCredit: AFP
A woman reacts as she stands in front of a house burning after being shelled in the city of IrpinCredit: AFP
Smoke rises from the damaged training building of Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plantCredit: AFP
People crowd as they try to get on a train to Lviv at the Kyiv stationCredit: AP
A Ukrainian soldier carries a baby across a destroyed bridge on the outskirts of KyivCredit: Eyevine
People remove their belongings from their burning house in IrpinCredit: AFP
All you need to know about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
Everything you need to know about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine…