Moscow and Kyiv discuss a limited ceasefire.

In the midst of a massive exodus, Ukraine and Russia said they have agreed to temporarily cease fire in order to provide humanitarian corridors for civilian evacuation and delivery of food and medical supplies. The cease-fires will not be applied everywhere, Mykhailo podolyak, the Ukrainian presidential advisor said. However, logistical details remain unclear.

Kherson, among the first Ukrainian cities to be encroached upon by Russian forces, was running out of medicines and is facing disaster within days if a humanitarian corridor isn’t established, according to the secretary of the city council, Galina Luhova. She said that people were in panic and tense. People are scared to their core.

Reports coming from the south of Ukraine showed a growing sense of desperation, as communication and transport routes were blocked and supplies cut off. According to Mariupol’s mayor, a Russian invasion and several hours of bombardment that damaged rail lines and bridges caused severe disruption to water and power supplies. The mayor of Odessa, a major port on the Black Sea, said the population was preparing to mount a defense amid unverified reports that a large fleet of Russian warships was heading toward the waters off the coast.

Russian-held areas

and troop movement

BELARUS

RUSSIA

Separatist-

controlled

area

1

Kyiv

2

Kharkiv

3

UKRAINE

Mariupol

Kherson

Odessa

4

Crimea

Annexed to Russia

in 2014

Black Sea

100 MILES

Russia has opened a new line of advance from Belarus in northwest Ukraine while the attempts to isolate Kyiv continue to be rebuffed.

1

The Russian efforts to encircle Kharkiv continue to be unsuccessful.

2

Another line of advance from the Luhansk province is possibly trying to assist troops around Kharkiv.

3

The mayor of Kherson has surrendered the city with conditions.

4

Control areas from March 3

Sources: Institute for the Study of War; Post reporting

BELARUS

RUSSIA

Russian-held areas

and troop movement

The Russian efforts to encircle Kharkiv continue to be unsuccessful.

Russia has opened a new line of advance from Belarus in northwest Ukraine while the attempts to isolate Kyiv continue to be rebuffed.

Kyiv

Kharkiv

UKRAINE

Another line of advance from the Luhansk province is possibly trying to assist troops around Kharkiv.

The mayor of Kherson has surrendered the city with conditions.

Mariupol

Separatist-

controlled

area

ROMANIA

Kherson

Odessa

Crimea

Annexed to Russia

in 2014

100 MILES

Control areas from March 3

Sources: Institute for the Study of War; Post reporting

BELARUS

RUSSIA

Russian-held areas

and troop movement

The Russian efforts to encircle Kharkiv continue to be unsuccessful.

Russia has opened a new line of advance from Belarus in northwest Ukraine while the attempts to isolate Kyiv continue to be rebuffed.

POLAND

Kyiv

Kharkiv

Another line of advance from the Luhansk province is possibly trying to assist troops around Kharkiv.

UKRAINE

Luhansk

The mayor of Kherson has surrendered the city with conditions.

Separatist-

controlled

area

Mariupol

Kherson

Odessa

ROMANIA

Crimea

Annexed to Russia

in 2014

100 MILES

Control areas from March 3

Sources: Institute for the Study of War; Post reporting

“Who are you saving us from?” Mayor Gennady Trukhanov said in a video posted online, using an expletive as he addressed Russian leaders who have said the purpose of the invasion is to save ethnic Russians and Russian-language communities in Ukraine.

“Our job today is to act so that every meter of our Odessa land is under control of us, Odessians,” Trukhanov told reporters, according to a separate video posted to his Facebook page.

Ukrainian officials said early Friday that Russian shelling had caused a fire to break out at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine — Europe’s largest. According to a government official, elevated radiation levels had been reported by the Associated Press. However, the International Atomic Energy Agency (the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog) later confirmed that the fire had not damaged “essential” equipment, and that no radiation levels had changed in the surrounding area. On Twitter, the agency stated that they were in contact with Ukrainian authorities about the current situation at the plant. The plant supplies about 25% of Ukraine’s electricity generation.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an emotional video posted to his Telegram channel on Thursday that 16,000 foreigners had volunteered to fight for Ukraine against the Russian invasion in what he referred to as an “international legion.”

This week, Ukraine temporarily lifted visa requirements for foreign volunteers who wished to enter the country and join the fight against Russian forces. In Washington, two men arrested with firearms near the Ukrainian Embassy told police they had driven from Indiana to volunteer for battle, law enforcement officials said.

A senior U.S. defense official told reporters that 90 percent of the combat power Russia had assembled outside Ukraine was now within the country — up from 80 percent on Tuesday. More than 150,000 troops, along with tanks, aircraft, personnel carriers and missile launchers had been massed on the border in recent weeks under the pretext of training exercises. The capital, Kyiv and Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv have been under intense air, missile, artillery and fire attack. However, they remain in Ukrainian control, according to officials in Kyiv and British assessments. Defense analysts believe that Britain has significant intelligence resources in the area.

A large explosion lit up the night sky in Kyiv in the early hours of Thursday, local time, according to video footage verified by The Washington Post. A camera was placed in one of the city’s southeast neighborhoods and captured the blast. It is believed that the explosion occurred in an area west of the center.

The Pentagon said Russia had fired nearly 500 missiles of all sizes since last week, including in population centers. A majority were launched from inside Ukraine, often with mobile launchers, but about 160 have come from inside Russia and 70 from Belarus, a U.S. defense official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the Pentagon’s current assessments. Another 10 were launched from the Black Sea.

“They’ve showed a willingness to hit civilian infrastructure on purpose,” the official said, adding that the strikes also appeared to deliberately target government and media operations. The Pentagon was unable to verify the reports about the use of cluster munitions. These munitions can explode in the initial stages but could detonate on the ground if they are disturbed. This would cause civilian deaths long after the missile that delivered them has been fired. Amnesty International said it has assembled evidence that cluster munitions were fired indiscriminately in Kharkiv, killing and injuring civilians. In a clear indication of the tensions in the region, U.S. military and Russian militaries established a line for communication, U.S. defense officers said on Thursday. The line was established by the U.S. defense officials to prevent miscalculations between Russian troops and U.S. forces located in the bordering countries.

Such lines have been used in the past, including in Syria, to keep open communication, avoid collisions among aircraft and prevent incidents that could spiral into greater conflict. NBC News first reported the opening of this communication line.

The White House announced new sanctions Thursday on dozens of Russian oligarchs and elites, the latest effort to cripple the Russian economy in retaliation for the invasion. The sanctioned individuals include Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, as well as 19 oligarchs and 47 associates and family members. Biden said the sanctions effort has had “a profound impact already.”

Also on Thursday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced it will offer temporary protected status to approximately 75,000 Ukrainians who were in the United States by Tuesday, allowing them to live and work in the country for eight months without fear of deportation.

The European Union is offering temporary protections to Ukrainians fleeing the Russia invasion; the exodus already exceeds a million people.

Britain’s Ministry of Defense said Thursday morning that the massive Russian military convoy that has been poised north of the Ukrainian capital remains more than 18 miles away from Kyiv’s center. The 40-mile line of armored vehicles, tanks and towed artillery had drawn within 20 miles of the city center on Monday, satellite images captured by U.S. firm Maxar Technologies showed. But since then, it has made little progress, the British said, with delays stemming in part from “Ukrainian resistance, mechanical breakdown and congestions.”

A Western intelligence official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive assessments, said the slowdown may also be strategic. It could be they are waiting to hide the correct numbers and types forces in the city. The official stated that this is the logistic train that will help them. “Maybe it’s more of an interruption, so the siege could be laid properly. More than it’s a gross reflection on some mismanagement.”

“There’s plenty of mismanagement,” the official added. “But I think we shouldn’t over or underestimate many things at this point.”

Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron held a call on Thursday that did not deliver any major diplomatic breakthroughs and left Macron convinced that “the worst is yet to come,” according to a senior French official. The official stated that Macron called on Vladimir Putin to not lie in the heated exchange with Moscow.

The Kremlin’s state-controlled news service cited Putin as having told Macron that Russia’s mission in Ukraine “will be fulfilled in any case.”

The latest casualty estimates provided by the Russian government were from Wednesday, when officials said 498 service members have died in the Ukraine war and 1,597 have been wounded. Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said 572 service members have been captured.

There was no way to verify the toll, and the Western intelligence official said that “it’s fair to say that’s almost certainly a very large undercount.”

Footage filmed on March 3 shows the destruction left by the Russian assault in Borodyanka, a small town 40 miles from Kyiv. (Reuters)

Kherson, a city of roughly 290,000 people, is inundated with Russian equipment and soldiers, but Moscow’s forces have yet to take control of the city, said Luhova, the city council secretary. She said that large areas of the city were cut off from electricity and water, with residents running low on food.

According to eyewitness accounts, Kherson was one of the first cities to fall to Moscow’s forces, though Ukraine’s Defense Ministry has not confirmed its capture.

Officials in Mariupol said Thursday that the southern coastal city was still under Ukrainian control but was completely surrounded by Russian troops.

“They blockade us, impede food supply,” Vadym Boychenko stated in a Telegram message from the city council. His team had to create a safe passageway to transport supplies and evacuate people. However, he stated that residents could not escape the city due to the destruction to the railways and bridges.

The Pentagon has pointed to Russian operations in southern Ukraine as their most successful, in part because of logistical support Russia has established in Crimea, a former Ukrainian territory Russia occupied and annexed in 2014.

Morris reported from Vinnytsia, Ukraine; Horton and Cadell reported from Washington. This report was contributed by Ellen Francis, Karem Fahim, Ellen Nakashima, and Dan Lamothe in Washington.

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