War on six cities: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine mapped out with key locations

Vladimir Putin’s troops have bombarded communities in and around six key cities since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine last week.

Distressing war zone images and footage, much of it shared on social media, has laid bare the brutality of Russia’s assault, which has resulted in thousands of deaths so far forced more than a million people to seek refuge in neighboring countries.

Refugees have fled by car, train, and even on foot to cross the border, while Russian forces have ramped up their onslaught.

Six cities targeted by Vladimir Putin’s forces since the invasion began on 24 February

(Google Maps)

Projectiles have been fired at houses, hospitals, orphanages and schools, and those who could not flee have had to witness the obliteration of their neighborhoods as well as the deaths of their loved ones – all while trying to find safety and shelter.

Scores of children have died and, amid the bloodshed, a number of women have given birth in subway stations used as bomb shelters as well as in the basements of destroyed hospitals.

Over the past week, Russian forces launched frequent strikes on Ukrainian cities, towns, and villages – while Mr Putin has said the war is “going to plan” as it entered its second week.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has accused his Russian counterpart of trying to “erase” the country and its people, and urged the world to “wake up” to the dangers posed by Russia, after its forces started a fire at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.


The Kyiv TV tower hit by a projectile


Russian forces have so far failed to capture Kyiv as a result of strong Ukrainian resistance, in the face of assaults and a huge military convoys approaching the capital.

But the city has seen bombardment of the Kyiv TV tower, a neighboring Holocaust memorial, and many homes as well as towns and villages in the surrounding province.

Shocking images showed missiles striking the TV tower and sending a fireball into the atmosphere. Five people died and five were injured in the blast.

Explosions have erupted all over the city for days as Russian forces attempted to seize full control of the city.

Mr Zelensky condemned the airstrike that hit the Holocaust memorial site Babyn Yar as “beyond humanity.”

I have added: “[The Russian forces] have orders to erase our history, our country and all of us.”


A university building on fire in Kharkiv amid heavy shelling

(AP Mean)

Bombing has worsened in recent days in the Ukraine’s second largest city of Kharkiv in the northeast.

Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekov said he believes Russian forces are “intentionally trying to eliminate Ukrainian people” by targeting civilian areas.

He said that the city has been “hard impacted by continuous bombardment”.

Mr Terekov added: “Planes are flying constantly, [rockets] are being launched, grenades are launched, and residential houses are being hit.”

Ukraine has accused Russia of blowing up a gas pipeline in Kharkiv, amid the heavy fighting.

Residents were advised to remain indoors and cover their windows to avoid inhaling any gas – while others hid underground.

The transit of Russian gas to Europe via Ukraine continues normally and the pipeline has not been damaged by any blasts, Ukraine’s gas pipeline operator said.


Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant almost hit by a projectile


A nuclear power station – the biggest in Europe – had the potential to cause widespread destruction when it was nearly hit by a projectile fired in its direction.

Mr Zelensky condemned the attack as “nuclear terrorism” and said an explosion could have spelled “the end of Europe”.

The facility in Zaporizhzhia, in southeastern Ukraine, instead saw an adjacent five-storey training facility set alight but none of the six nuclear reactors were affected. No one died in the fire, but two injuries have been reported.


A father mourns death of his son, who was killed playing football in Mariupol


Heavy shelling and street fighting have devastated parts of the key Black Sea port city, where heartbreaking images have emerged of casualties – including children.

Citizens had been left without energy, running water or phone service. Food deliveries to the city have also been cut.

If Mariupol were to fail, it would enable Russia to create a land corridor between the Crimea peninsula, south of Ukraine, and the two Russia-backed separatist regions of Luhansk and Donetsk in the southeast.

The city’s deputy mayor, Sergei Orlov, warned a humanitarian crisis was imminent and said Russia was attacking indiscriminately.


Ukrainian military and coast guard ships stand in the Odessa harbor in January


Ukrainian defense forces have been fighting off Russian ships from another of Ukraine’s key port cities on the Black Sea coast.

Estonian cargo ship Helt sunk off the coast of Odessa after an explosion on or near the vessel.

All six crew members were able to abandon ship, and Ukrainian officials said they were later rescued.

Ukrainian media reports that the Russian navy had been using the Helt as a shield to hide from Ukrainian defence.


A military tank is seen on a street in Kherson


Kherson is reportedly the first city to have fallen to Russia during the invasion.

Russian tanks had entered the city and Ukrainian officials said Putin’s forces had seized the local government headquarters.

However, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s armed forces said Kherson had not been captured, while the UK said the situation was unclear.

The US said Russian troops had not yet taken the city, though they could use it for potentially moving further west.

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015.

Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered.

To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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