Live updates: Russia invades Ukraine

Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov. (Government Handout)

Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said Saturday that Russian forces have “advanced in some directions” but that Ukrainian defenders are “countering and ousting the occupiers.”

“Obviously, the enemy has advanced in some directions, however, it controls only small areas. Our defenders are severely countering and ousting the occupiers,” he said in a statement, adding that because of the “slow-down of the offensive pace and resistance of the Ukrainians, Russia is changing tactics.”

“As of today, the Ukrainian sky is the most vulnerable,” he said. “The aggressor uses its aerial and missile potential comprehensively and actively. All types of aviation are bombing our cities, towns and civilian infrastructure, including critical infrastructure and dangerous infrastructure, among them — nuclear and hydro power plants.”

Reznikov said Russian forces were targeting residential apartment buildings, schools, kindergartens and hospitals. “The enemy is destroying churches and cathedrals. It is shelling railway stations with thousands of evacuating women and children,” he said.

“These are the tactics of frightened jackals,” he said. “I am confident that the enemy will pay for every life and for every tear.”

Reznikov said Mariupol, Volnovakha, Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Mykolayiv and Kherson are among the cities where currently the situation is “most complex,” adding: “We really hope that the humanitarian corridor will work and we will be able to evacuate civilians.”

Reznikov said the main efforts of the Russian forces continue to be focused on the encirclement of Kyiv and suppressing resistance in cities and towns. 

Some context: Russia routinely denies causing civilian casualties in Ukraine. International media and observers have extensively documented civilian casualties and damage to civilian infrastructure.

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