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Sorting Fact, Disinformation amid Russian War on Ukraine

Associated Press journalists around Ukraine and beyond are documenting military activity during Russia’s invasion. With disinformation rife and social media amplifying military claims and counterclaims, determining exactly what is happening can be difficult. Here’s a look at what could be confirmed Wednesday as Russia’s military assault on Ukraine was in its seventh day.

DIRECTLY WITNESSED

— Three boys injured by apparent Russian shelling while they were playing Wednesday were rushed into a regional hospital in the besieged port city of Mariupol. One of the boys had lost his legs, and died soon after arrival, according to an Associated Press reporter at the scene. The other two were rushed into surgery and then intensive care. The boys, all born in 2006, had been playing soccer and hanging out near a school when the shelling hit, family members told The AP. A woman with severe wounds to her face from the same strike was also brought to the hospital.

— Videos circulated online of an apparent attack Wednesday on the regional police and intelligence headquarters in Kharkiv, showing a building with its roof blown off and its top floor on fire. The Ukrainian state emergency service confirmed the attack and said residential buildings were also hit. Kharkiv resident Marina Boreiko told the AP she heard children crying and saw bodies in rubble from one of the strikes in the city.

— Powerful blasts could be heard Tuesday night in central Kyiv. People on the ground reported car alarms were set off by the blasts, a first in the central part of the capital city where Russian forces are encroaching.

— The administration headquarters in Kharkiv’s city center was targeted Tuesday. Images showed the building badly damaged by a powerful explosion that blew up part of its roof. Closed-circuit television footage showed a fireball engulfing the street in front of the building, with a few cars rolling out of the billowing smoke. An emergency official said the bodies of at least six people had been pulled from the ruins and at least 20 other people were wounded.

ANNOUNCED BY UKRAINIAN AUTHORITIES

— Ukrainian UNIAN news agency quoted the health administration chief of the northern city of Chernihiv as saying two cruise missiles hit a hospital there. The hospital’s main building suffered damage, Serhiy Pivovar said, and authorities were working to determine the casualty toll.

— Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy claimed almost 6,000 Russian soldiers have been killed since the invasion began last Thursday. Russia has not released overall casualty numbers and the figure could not be confirmed.

— Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said in a statement Belarussian troops were concentrated close to the countries’ border early Wednesday.

— In Zhytomyr, a city about 140 kilometers (85 miles) west of Kyiv, a Russian airstrike hit a residential area near a hospital late Tuesday, Mayor Serih Sukhomlin said in a Facebook video. Ukraine’s emergency services said the strike killed at least two people, set three homes on fire and broke the windows in the hospital.

ANNOUNCED BY OFFICIALS ELSEWHERE

— Russia claimed Wednesday afternoon its military has taken control of the area around Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant. That’s according to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

— Ukraine’s State Emergency Service said Wednesday more than 2,000 civilians have died, though it was impossible to verify that claim. The U.N. human rights office said a day earlier it had recorded the deaths of 136 civilians, including 13 children, in Ukraine since the start of Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24.

— The spokesman for the French Ministry of Armed Forces, Hervé Grandjean, said Wednesday on France Info news a Russian offensive “seems imminent” in Kyiv despite “slower move than what Russian forces had probably anticipated.”

— The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence said air strikes have continued to target built up areas over the past 24 hours, primarily focused on Kharkiv, Kyiv, Mariupol and Chernihiv. The ministry also said the number of displaced civilians and those forced to flee Ukraine reportedly surpassed 660,000.

— Human Rights Watch said it documented a cluster bomb attack outside a hospital in Ukraine’s east in recent days. Residents also reported the use of such weapons in Kharkiv and Kiyanka village. The Kremlin denied using cluster bombs.

— China says one of its citizens was shot and injured while evacuating from Ukraine. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said the shooting occurred Tuesday while the person was leaving on their own.

— A senior Western intelligence official estimated Tuesday more than 5,000 Russian soldiers have been captured or killed, although overall soldier death tolls remained unclear.

— UNHCR spokeswoman Shabia Mantoo said Tuesday in Geneva that about 660,000 people have fled Ukraine since the start of the invasion. The number was up from a count of more than 500,000 a day earlier.

ANNOUNCED BY RUSSIAN AUTHORITIES

— A Kremlin spokesman says a Russian delegation will be ready Wednesday evening to resume talks with Ukrainian officials about the war. Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that “in the second half of the day, closer to evening, our delegation will be in place to await Ukrainian negotiators.”

— Moscow made new threats of escalation, days after raising the specter of nuclear war. A top Kremlin official warned that the West’s “economic war” against Russia could turn into a “real one.”

— Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said Wednesday Russian forces have seized the southern city of Kherson. The UK’s defense ministry corroborated the claim.

— Konashenkov claimed that the airstrike Tuesday on a TV tower in the capital of Kyiv did not hit any residential buildings. Ukraine’s State Service for Emergency Situations said the strikes killed five people and left five more wounded. Konashenkov did not address allegations that the strike damaged the neighboring Babi Yar memorial to Kyiv’s Holocaust victims.

 

 

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