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Ukraine President Defiant As Russia Bomb Cities, Inch Towards Kyiv

More than two and a half million people have fled the "senseless war" in Ukraine, according to the UN -- more than half to Poland.

The Russian powers have moved closer to capital Kyiv and pounded civilian areas in other Ukrainian urban cities, drawing a flurry of warnings of potential war crimes. Ukranian Presidential adviser has called Kyiv a “city under siege”.

Russia, which has accused Ukraine of developing biological weapons with US help, said that the Kyiv regime is now “destroying evidence of military biological programs” it was implementing. Both Washington and Kyiv have denied the existence of laboratories intended to produce biological weapons in the country.

The Russian forces have made advancements in southern Ukraine’s Melitopol and have captured the city’s mayor. “A group of 10 occupiers kidnapped the mayor of Melitopol Ivan Fedorov,” Ukraine’s parliament said on Twitter. “He refused to cooperate with the enemy,” it added.

Three missiles hit a civilian building in the central city of Dnipro on Friday, destroying a shoe factory and killing one security guard. Dnipro had been considered a safe haven, suffering few attacks since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. A home for the disabled near Kharkiv was also bombed, with 330 people there at the time, officials say.

With the Russian attack in its third week, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who has energized his kin with a progression of addresses from Kyiv, said Ukraine had “already reached a strategic turning point”. “It is impossible to say how many days we still have (ahead of us) to free Ukrainian land. But we can say we will do it,” he said. “We are already moving towards our goal, our victory.”

The Kremlin has welcomed “volunteers” including from Syria to battle close by Russia’s military in Ukraine, involving the Middle East in a contention the West has attempted to contain.

More than two and a half million people have fled the “senseless war” in Ukraine, the UN says — more than half to Poland.