Ukraine says nearly 9,000 Russian soldiers have been killed – as first major city ‘falls’ to invaders


Ukraine’s president has claimed nearly 9,000 Russian soldiers have been killed since the invasion of his country began a week ago.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy was speaking in a video message in the early hours of Thursday, in which he told the invading forces to “go home”.

He warned: “Wherever they go, they will be destroyed.

“They will not have calm here, they will not have food, they will not have one quiet moment.

“The occupiers will receive only one thing from Ukrainians: resistance. Fierce resistance. Such resistance that they will forever remember that we don’t give up what is ours, that they will remember what a patriotic war is.”

It came as Russian troops reached the centre of the Ukrainian port of Kherson, after a day of conflicting claims over whether Moscow had captured its first major urban centre.

Ukraine-Russia news live: Zelenskyy defiant as refugees top one million

In key developments:

• The mayor of Kherson admitted Russian forces have taken the city
• A second round of talks between Russia and Ukraine is expected later
• UN High Commissioner for Refugees says one million people have left Ukraine as refugees
• Russia says 498 of its soldiers have been killed and 1,597 wounded, and 2,870 Ukrainian forces have also died
• The UN says 227 Ukrainian civilians have died with 525 injured as of 1 March – likely an undercount
• Moscow responds to sanctions consequences by restricting Russian asset sales by foreigners

The lines of control in Ukraine at 6am on Thursday
The lines of control in Ukraine at 6am on Thursday

Invaders are ‘confused children’ not ‘warriors’

Russian troops continue to face stiff resistance from the Ukrainians across the country – both military and civilian – and have yet to overthrow the government in Kyiv.

President Zelenskyy said in his message: “We are a people who broke the enemy’s plans in a week.

“These plans had taken years to write – they are mean, with hatred for our country, for our people.”

He said Russian soldiers were “not warriors of a superpower. These are confused children who have been used”.

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“Ukraine doesn’t want to be covered by the dead bodies of soldiers,” he added. “Go home. With your whole army. Tell your officers that you want to live, that you don’t want to die but to live.

“We need to stop the war and restore peace as soon as possible.”

Bombing in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, has also continued, while the Russians have been shelling the city of Izyum, about 75 miles southeast.

Mariupol, a large port city on the Azov Sea, was also encircled by Russian forces, according to the UK’s Ministry of Defence.

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Trains overflow as Ukrainians flee the frontline

Kyiv’s central rail station was rocked by an explosion as thousands of civilians were trying to flee.

The blast was caused by the wreckage of a downed Russian cruise missile, according to the Ukrainian interior ministry, and there were no reports of casualties.

Meanwhile, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is in Lithuania to meet foreign ministers from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

Ms Truss will also meet UK military personnel from the Army Air Corps and the RAF’s 18 Squadron, who are deployed in Lithuania for a US-led exercise.

Read more:
Russian commanders ‘will be hunted down for war crimes’
Putin’s ‘mistakes’, Zelenskyy’s ‘heroism’ and the West’s reaction – key takeaways from the first week
How can you help Ukraine? British charities launch fundraising appeal for refugees
Abramovich confirms he will sell Chelsea – with all ‘net proceeds’ to benefit victims of Ukraine war

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