On Wednesday, Russia said it took control of the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson as fighting continued across Ukraine for the seventh day. It marks the first major city Russia has taken over since its invasion began.
Kherson has a population of over 250,000 and is located on the Dnieper River, where it meets the Black Sea. Ukraine initially denied that Russia took control of the city, but the mayor of Kherson appeared to confirm Moscow’s claim in a Facebook post.
Mayor Igor Kolykhayev said there were “armed visitors” at the city’s council building on Wednesday. “We have shown that we are working to secure the city and are trying to eliminate the consequences of the invasion … We don’t have Ukrainian Armed Forces in the city, only civilians,” Kolykhayev said.
Meanwhile, heavy shelling was reported in the southeastern city of Mariupol. The city’s deputy mayor said hundreds could be dead after 15 hours of intense shelling. For their part, Russia accused Ukraine’s “nationalist” forces of blocking civilians from leaving Ukrainian cities, including Mariupol.
Ukrainian officials said Russian shelling killed 21 people in the northeastern city of Kharviv and four people in the western city of Zhytomyr. At this time, casualty numbers are still unconfirmed, and both sides are reporting vastly different military death tolls.