The invasion of Ukraine has now entered its second week, with no signs of easing (Picture: Reuters)
Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed no let-up in his invasion of Ukraine, even as the warring sides met for ceasefire talks.
After the fall of a first major Ukrainian city to Russian forces, Putin appeared in no mood to heed a global clamour for an end to hostilities as the war entered its second week.
‘Russia intends to continue the uncompromising fight against militants of nationalist armed groups,’ Putin said, according to a Kremlin account of a call with French President Emmanuel Macron.
But Ukraine insisted that corridors for medical and other supplies were the bare minimum it expected, as negotiators arrived for the talks at an undisclosed location on the Belarus-Poland border.
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A first round of talks on Monday yielded no breakthrough, and Kyiv says it will not accept any Russian ‘ultimatums’.
Putin, however, said any attempts to slow the talks process would ‘only lead to additional demands on Kyiv in our negotiating position’.
For his part, Macron said he feared that ‘worse is to come’ in the conflict and condemned Putin’s ‘lies’, according to an aide.
Earlier Russia said it was ready for round two of negotiations, but said it would not stop carrying out airstrikes on its neighbour.
The invasion, now in its eighth day, has created a refugee exodus and turned Russia into a global pariah in the worlds of finance, diplomacy and sports.
The UN has opened a probe into alleged war crimes, as the Russian military bombards cities in Ukraine with shells and missiles, forcing civilians to cower in basements.
‘We will restore every house, every street, every city and we say to Russia: learn the word “reparations”,’ Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video statement.
‘You will reimburse us for everything you did against our state, against every Ukrainian, in full.’
A Ukrainian serviceman walks past as fire and smoke rises over a damaged logistic centre in Kyiv (Picture: AP)
A woman cooks for Ukrainian soldiers at a frontline, northeast of the country’s capital (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)
Zelensky claims thousands of Russian soldiers have been killed since Putin shocked the world by invading Ukraine.
Moscow says it wants to demilitarise and ‘de-Nazify’ a Western-leaning threat on his borders.
While there are far-right groups in the country, a number of analysts say the idea that Ukraine is run by them has no merit.
But historians have criticised Putin for his use of this language about the country, which suffered under the Holocaust and now has a Jewish president.
Moscow says it has lost 498 troops and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin would praise their sacrifice at a meeting with his security chiefs.
He told reporters in Russia’s capital: ‘It’s a huge tragedy. But we also admire the heroism of our soldiers. Their exploits will enter into the history books, their exploits in the struggle against the Nazis.’
Russia’s invasion is thought to be way behind schedule, with troops reportedly facing shortages of supplies (Picture: Metro.co.uk)
Destroyed Russian military vehicles are left in the streets in Borodyanka, near Kyiv (Picture: Reuters)
But Ukraine has said the true number of Russian troops killed is higher than Moscow admits, but independently verifying the true number has proven difficult.
Despite Russia facing criticism for comparing Ukraine’s government to that of Germany during World War II, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov kept up a verbal barrage.
He accused Western politicians of fixating on ‘nuclear war’ after Putin placed his strategic forces on high alert.
While a long military column appears stalled north of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, Russian troops seized Kherson, a Black Sea city of 290,000 people, after a three-day siege that left it short of food and medicine.
Russian troops have been advancing elsewhere on the southern front and are besieging the port city of Mariupol east of Kherson, which is without water or electricity in the depths of winter.
‘They are trying to create a blockade here, just like in Leningrad,’ Mariupol mayor Vadym Boichenko said, referring to the siege of Russia’s second largest city, since re-named Saint Petersburg, by Nazi Germany’s invading army in World War II.
Ukrainian military authorities said residential and other areas in the eastern city of Kharkiv had been ‘pounded all night’ by indiscriminate shelling, which UN prosecutors are investigating as a possible war crime.
Oleg Rubak’s wife Katia, 29, was crushed in the rubble of their family home in Zhytomyr, west of Kyiv, by a Russian missile strike.
‘One minute I saw her going into the bedroom. A minute later there was nothing,’ said Rubak, 32, standing stunned and angry amid the ruins in the bitter winter chill.
‘I hope she’s in heaven and all is perfect for her,’ he said, adding through tears, ‘I want the whole world to hear my story.’
Russia-Ukraine war: Everything you need to know
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has entered its seventh day, with the attacks beginning on February 24.
Since then, Ukraine has suffered widespread damages and loss of life amid Russia’s major bombing campaign.
The majority of attacks have been focused in the capital city of Kyiv, where Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is currently based.
Russian President Vladamir Putin is prepared to resume talks with Ukraine in bid to end war, according to a Kremlin spokesperson.