Russian forces Monday bombed a residential area in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, while Ukraine-Russia talks about a possible cease-fire came to a close.
Dozens were killed in Kharkiv, and hundreds more were wounded, reported BBC News.
And several big detonations were heard in the center of Kyiv, the capital city.
“Every day the enemy sends more and more forces,” Ukrainian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky told the BBC, describing the situation as “serious but stable.”
“But our glorious armed forces are basically destroying everything that arrives in Kyiv. Kyiv remains the place of the main strike. We are creating mobile groups to search and catch saboteurs. We have up to 100 such groups active in Kyiv, depending on the time of day.”
If Russia can capture both cities, “you can see that would allow them to section off the eastern part of Ukraine,” a senior U.S. Defense official told CNN Monday.
The first round of Russia-Ukraine talks, which took place near the Ukraine-Belarus border aimed at ending the fighting, concluded with no immediate agreements. Officials met on the fifth day of the conflict, despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threats and Ukraine putting up an unexpectedly fierce resistance.
Mykhailo Podolyak, a top adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky, said the talks concluded and both delegations had returned home for consultations in their respective capitals. Mr. Podolyak said a possible cease-fire was discussed but didn’t elaborate further.
“I do not really believe in the result of this meeting, but let them try, so that no citizen of Ukraine would have any doubt that I, as president, did not try to stop the war when there was even a small chance,” President Zelensky told CNN.
On Monday, President Zelensky signed an application to join the European Union. Approval would require unanimous approval of the EU members.
“We want them in the European Union,” said EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen.
On Sunday, Russian troops took control of Berdyansk — a port city of 100,000 people on Ukraine’s southern coast, as well as the site of a small naval base.
Russian forces were reported to be more than 19 miles north of Kyiv on Monday. according to an intelligence update by the British Ministry of Defense. The advance of the troops was slowed by Ukrainian resistance at the nearby Hostomel airfield, which was “a key Russian objective for day one of the conflict,” according to the ministry.