Russia strikes hit western Ukraine as offensive widens
Russia has widened its military offensive in Ukraine, striking near airports in the west of the country for the first time. Observers and satellite photos indicated that its troops, long-stalled in a convoy outside the capital Kyiv, are trying to maneuver to encircle the city.
With the Russian military operation now in its third week, the U.S. and its allies prepared to step up their efforts to isolate and sanction Russia by revoking its most favored trading status. The move comes amid mounting outrage after a deadly airstrike hit a maternity hospital in the key Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, under an increasingly constricting 10-day-old siege.
The new airstrikes in western Ukraine are likely a message from Russia that no area was safe. Western and Ukrainian officials say Russian forces have struggled in the face of heavier-than-expected resistance and supply and morale problems. So far, they have made the most advances on cities in the south and east while stalling in the north and around Kyiv.
Meanwhile, the International Organization for Migration said, some 2.5 million people have fled Ukraine since the invasion began. Someone lakh people have been evacuated during the past two days from seven cities under Russian blockade in the north and center of the country, including the Kyiv suburbs.