Brutal onslaught rages in Ukraine as Russia expands assaults on key cities


Kyiv and Moscow (CNN)Fierce fighting for control of the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson left dozens dead as Russia's onslaught against multiple Ukrainian cities intensified Wednesday and fears over the civilian toll mounted.

More than 800,000 civilians have fled since the invasion began a week ago, with fears of further casualties increasing as Russian strikes hit built-up areas. Ukraine's State Emergency Service reported "massive shelling and bombing" of the central part of Kharkiv, the country's second largest city, on Wednesday morning.
In other developments:
    • Sounds of air raid sirens and a new explosion in Kyiv as night falls.
    • Fighting continues in the southern city of Mariupol, with residents reporting heavy shelling overnight.
    • Russian forces moving towards Kyiv, including a large Russian military convoy, "remain stalled," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Wednesday.
      • Western sanctions are dealing "serious blows" to Russia's economy, the Kremlin said.
        On Wednesday night, CNN teams on the ground heard air raid sirens in Ukraine's third-largest city Odessa and the town of Uman, Ukraine.
        Meanwhile, in the capital of Kyiv, a major heating pipeline was damaged as a result of a missile strike to the area of the Central Railway station in the evening, the country's interior ministry said. The sound of the blast could be heard across the city, according to a CNN team, though the target of the strike was not clear.
          Kyiv's mayor Vitaly Klitschko said preliminary reports suggested there were no casualties in a blast, adding: "We are clarifying the details."
          Klitschko said in a Telegram post that despite shelling in a number of Kyiv suburbs Wednesday, "Thank God, there are no casualties."
          "The enemy was trying to breakthrough to our city, but Ukrainian defenders are repulsing the occupiers and defending our capital."
          It's unclear what caused the blast near the station. An Interior Ministry adviser said the damage was caused by the falling wreckage of a cruise missile after it had been intercepted by Ukrainian air defense systems.
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