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Cities such as Mariupol have been badly damaged by shelling PA Images

Russia says it could target Western arms supplies to Ukraine

Earlier Ukraine’s foreign ministry said a mosque sheltering 80 civilians was shelled in Mariupol.

LAST UPDATE | 12 Mar 2022

RUSSIA HAS SAID its troops could target supplies of Western weapons in Ukraine, where the Russian army has been advancing since late February.

“We warned the United States that the orchestrated pumping of weapons from a number of countries is not just a dangerous move, it is a move that turns these convoys into legitimate targets,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told state television.

He said Moscow had warned “about the consequences of the thoughtless transfer to Ukraine of weapons like man-portable air defence systems, anti-tank missile systems and so on”.

Ryabkov said Washington had not taken Moscow’s warnings seriously and added that Russia and the US were not holding any “negotiation processes” on Ukraine.

Moscow has been hit by a barrage of international sanctions since Vladimir Putin sent in troops on 24 February.

Earlier Ukraine’s foreign ministry said a mosque in the southeastern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, where 80 civilians were taking shelter, had been shelled by Russian forces.

“The mosque of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and his wife Roxolana (Hurrem Sultan) in Mariupol was shelled by Russian invaders.

“More than 80 adults and children are hiding there from the shelling, including citizens of Turkey,” the ministry wrote on its Twitter account.

It did not specify when the shelling took place.

Mariupol has been under siege and bombardment for more than a week and is encircled by Russian troops.

The situation in the strategic port city was “desperate”, where civilians have been desperately trying to flee, but were without water or heating, and running out of food, a top Doctors Without Borders executive said on Friday.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted on Friday: “Besieged Mariupol is now the worst humanitarian catastrophe on the planet. 1,582 dead civilians in 12 days.”

Three people, including a child, were killed when a children’s hospital in the city was attacked on Wednesday, sparking international outrage.

Against this backdrop, a new attempt is being made to open up a humanitarian corridor to allow civilians to evacuate the city towards Zaporizhzhia, around 200 kilometres to the north east, said Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk.

For days, Ukrainians have claimed that the Russian military has been pounding the evacuation route, preventing people from leaving.

As on previous days, humanitarian corridors were also to be opened again around Kyiv.

“I very much hope that the day will go well, that the planned routes will be open and that Russia will meet its obligations regarding the observance of the ceasefire,” Vereshchuk said in a video uploaded to the website of the Ukrainian presidency.

As the Russian army continues to advance and besiege Kyiv, strikes hit the town of Vasylkiv on Saturday morning, about 40 kilometres south of the capital.

Eight Russian rockets hit the local airport around 7:00 am (0500 GMT), which was “completely destroyed”, said the mayor Natalia Balassinovitch, on her Facebook account.

An oil depot was also hit and caught fire, she said.

Hospitals under fire

Hospitals came under fire overnight in the port city of Mykolaiv in the south of Ukraine, including a cancer treatment centre and an eye clinic, an AFP reporter said today.

The windows were blown out of the cancer treatment centre, where patients were undergoing chemotherapy and the doors damaged.

“They shot at the civilian areas, without any military objective,” said the hospital’s head, Dmytro Lagochev.

“There’s a hospital here, an orphanage and a ophthalmological clinic,” he said.

No patients or healthcare workers were in the cancer treatment centre at the time of the strikes, but there were an unspecified number of patients in the eye clinic, he said.

“We all spent the night in the cellar, everyone was shaking. The patients were terrified,” said the clinic’s chief, Kasimira Rilkova.

In the Ingulski neighbourhood, there was no heating and many residents have been forced to leave.

© AFP 2022 

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