As Russian forces rolled into the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson on Wednesday, Mayor Igor Kolykhayev said a "miracle" was needed. It apparently did not arrive. The mayor says Kherson has fallen, making the strategic city of around 300,000 residents the first major city to be captured by the invaders in the week-old conflict, the New York Times reports. Kolykhayev tells the Times that Ukrainian forces have retreated and a Russian commander is in city hall, working on setting up a Russian administrative center. "There is no Ukrainian Army here," the mayor says. "The city is surrounded." More:
- Military denied city had fallen. Earlier Wednesday, the Ukrainian military denied Russia's claim that it had taken control of the city, the Washington Post reports. The mayor said troops had visited his office to work out an agreement on limits on civilian movement, including a curfew and an order for vehicles to travel at "minimum speed."
- Peace talks expected to resume Thursday. The resumption of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, earlier expected to happen late Wednesday, is now expected Thursday, reports the AP. Officials on both sides say delegations are on their way to talks in Belarus. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that while Ukraine is ready for talks to resume, his country will not accept any ultimatums from Russia.
- Reports of atrocities referred to ICC. Some 39 countries have submitted reports of atrocities in Ukraine to the International Criminal Court, a move that will speed up the investigation process, the Guardian reports. Liz Truss, Britain's foreign secretary, said Russian forces were targeting civilians indiscriminately. "An investigation by the International Criminal Court into Russia's barbaric acts is urgently needed," she said. Prosecutor Karim Khan said an investigation will be opened immediately.
- Humanitarian crisis looms in Mariupol. The deputy mayor of Mariupol, another port city, told the BBC on Wednesday that Russian forces were trying to "destroy the city" with 15 hours of continuous bombardment. Serhiy Orlov said key infrastructure had been hit, parts of the city were short on food, and a residential area had been nearly destroyed. "We cannot count the number of victims there, but we believe at least hundreds of people are dead," he said. "We cannot go in to retrieve the bodies. My father lives there, I cannot reach him, I don't know if he is alive or dead."
- Center of Kharkiv is a "wasteland." The Russian advance on Kyiv, Ukraine's capital, has apparently stalled, but troops have surrounded the country's second city, Kharkiv, where heavy shelling has left the center a "wasteland of ruined buildings and debris," reports Reuters. Dozens of people have been killed. Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said, "Kharkiv today is the Stalingrad of the 21st century."
(At a rare emergency session, United Nations member states voted 141-5
Wednesday to condemn the Russian invasion.)