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Mayor of Dniprorudne captured by Russian forces, Ukrainian official says

The mayor of Dniprorudne, a city of about 18,000 in southwestern Ukraine, was captured by Russian forces on Sunday, according to Oleksandr Starukh, head of the Zaporizhia regional administration.

Starukh did not name Ievhen Matvieev in his Telegram post announcing that he had been detained. NBC News has  unable to independently verify his capture.  

“The enemy also intimidates the local population by conducting informational and psychological actions in order to undermine the public’s trust in government officials and local communities, disseminates misinformation and constantly takes the local population hostage,” Starukh added. 

Ukrainian President Volodymur Zelenskyy said in a tweet on Saturday that he had spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for help in the release of Ivan Fedorov, the mayor of the city of Melitpol, who Ukrainian officials said was captured by Russian forces on Saturday.

Francis X. Suarez, the president of the United States Conference of Mayors and mayor of Miami also demanded his “immediate release” in a statement.    

“America’s mayors stand united in support of Ukraine and the country’s mayors who continue to fight to protect their citizens at great personal risk. We remain humbled by the remarkable courage of the Ukrainian people and their leaders,” he said. 

NBC News

2h ago / 9:06 AM UTC

Some in Ukraine’s Russian-occupied southern cities take to the streets in show of defiance

Russian soldiers occupy Vanda Chernyshova’s hometown of Kherson in southern Ukraine. Now, she and other residents are determined to show where their loyalties lie.

Chernyshova, 28, was among the hundreds facing off with the Russian invaders and protesting the war. Videos shared on social media last week and verified by NBC News showed crowds marching in Kherson, as well as in Nova Kakhovka and Melitopol in Ukraine’s south, carrying flags and shouting “go home” to the Russian troops. 

“It was scary,” Chernyshova, who works stints as a receptionist on international cruise ships, said of the protests in which she has taken part. “You just don’t know what to expect from them.”

She was among the protesters who took to the streets in Kherson on Monday. She said the crowd marched toward the city council building now under Russian control, stopping within about 550 yards of the Russian soldiers. The Russians, who she said were armed and masked, did not move although some filmed the protesters, she added. 

Such protests strike at the heart of Russia’s stated reason for invading. President Vladimir Putin has used the pretext of protecting Russian speakers from what he termed “genocide” and oppression by the government in Kyiv to justify his invasion of Ukraine. 

Chernyshova, a Russian speaker, and others were angered and alarmed by reports in the Russian state media suggesting that the residents of Kherson — a city of almost 300,000 that is a two-hour drive from Russian-annexed Crimea — welcomed the invading troops. This allegation shocked and angered many in the city who fear Russia will try to annex the region, where many people are bilingual but speak Russian as their first language.

Read the full story here.

Ukrainian Americans push for stronger U.S. intervention

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Alona Vakal knows that a more forceful military response by the U.S. government against Russia — whose president, Vladimir Putin, has bloodily invaded Ukraine — risks causing an all-out world war. 

But her concern isn’t what will happen if Washington intervenes more aggressively. Her concern is what may happen if it doesn’t.

“Putin is not going to stop,” said Vakal, who came to Green Bay in 2008 from Berdyansk, a port city in southeastern Ukraine. “If America doesn’t do more to stop him, he won’t stop. The longer we wait, the worse it will be.”

Vakal, whose mother and sister still live in Berdyansk, which is currently occupied by Russian forces, stopped short of saying she’d want the United States or NATO to put troops on the ground in Ukraine. But she implored Washington and Europe to set up a no-fly zone, even if it risks drawing them into open war.

“People worry about World War III. World War III is right now already, it’s here already. What more do you need to see?” she said. “Ukraine is just the first step for Putin.”

Read the full story here.

Russia launches attack on military facility in western Ukraine

Claire Cardona and Oksana Parafeniuk

4h ago / 7:21 AM UTC

Russian forces fired eight missiles early Sunday toward a military facility and training center in western Ukraine, according to officials. 

Preliminary information from the regional military administration reported that an “airstrike” was launched toward the International Center for Peacekeeping and Security in Yavoriv, Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi said on Telegram, according to an NBC News translation. 

NBC News has not verified the missile strikes. No information about victims was immediately available. 

The facility, where the U.S. and other foreign militaries have done joint training exercises with Ukraine’s military, is located in the Lviv Oblast, or region, about 20 miles from the border with Poland. 

The offensive marks the latest in a series of strikes in the western part of the country. Russia has expanded its military offensive this week farther west, launching airstrikes Friday on the cities of Lutsk and Ivano-Frankivsk.  

NBC News

5h ago / 5:42 AM UTC

Humanitarian aid expected to reach Mariupol on Sunday

Claire Cardona

5h ago / 5:33 AM UTC

Humanitarian aid that has been delayed in reaching the besieged southern port city of Mariupol is expected to arrive Sunday, Zelenskyy said. 

A night after the president said Russian troops did not allow the shipment of food, water and medicine into the city, he announced Saturday that the cargo was expected to arrive Sunday afternoon. 

“Due to the complexity of the route they had to spend the night in Berdyansk,” Zelenskyy said in an English transcript of his video address. 

Russian forces have encircled Mariupol, and the city has been without food, water, heat and medical supplies for more than a week as it has endured heavy shelling, officials have said. 

Ukraine resident passes burnt cars while fleeing

The Associated Press

8h ago / 3:30 AM UTC

A resident passes by cars burnt in the Russian shellfire in the town of Irpin as he flees on Saturday on the road toward Kyiv.

A resident passes by cars burnt in the Russian shellfire as he flees on Saturday, March 12, 2022, from his hometown on the road towards Kyiv, in the town of Irpin.
Efrem Lukatsky / AP

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