In the nearly four months since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, its forces have damaged and destroyed thousands of buildings, including cultural sites, hospitals, schools and residences, and Ukrainian officials take stock of the damage.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his overnight address on Saturday that nearly 2,000 educational institutions had been destroyed by Russian forces since the invasion began on February 24.
“This is a colossal scale of losses,” he said.
On Friday, a Russian missile strike in Lozova in the Kharkiv Oblast region damaged more than 1,000 apartments, Mayor Serhiy Zelensky said in a video, according to CNN.
“The figures are shocking: 11 educational establishments, including five schools… Our Palace of Culture was also completely destroyed,” the mayor said.
In Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, from where Russian forces withdrew last weekend after months of shelling, around 30% of 8,000 residential buildings have been “more or less destroyed”, according to said the Ukrainian Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security in a Telegram post on Saturday.
MAPPING AND TRACKING THE INVASION OF RUSSIA: See where Russian forces are moving in Ukraine
►President Joe Biden on Saturday signed a bill to provide an additional $40 billion in aid to Ukraine after the bill received bipartisan approval from lawmakers earlier in the week.
►More than 900 US officials, researchers and activists have been permanently barred from entering Russia in response to US sanctions against the nation and its support for Ukraine.
Ukraine prolongs martial law and general mobilization
Ukrainian lawmakers on Sunday extended both the general mobilization of forces and a martial law decree by 90 days.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy requested the extension until August 23, saying a counter-offensive would take time, according to Ukrainian media startup Hromadske International.
Fedir Venislavsky, Zelenskyy’s representative in the Constitutional Court, said the martial law order could be lifted at any time by the Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, according to Ukrayinska Pravda.
Polish President visits Kyiv
Polish President Andrzej Duda arrived in kyiv on Sunday, meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksyy and addressing the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada.
He is the first head of state to address the legislative body since the start of the war in Ukraine, according to the Kyiv Independent.
“Only Ukraine has the right to decide its future,” Duda said on Twitter, post a photo of with Zelenskyy as the two shook hands in solidarity.
Poland has taken in millions of Ukrainian refugees since the Russian invasion in late February.
– Katie Wadington
British Army: Russia has deployed its “Terminator”
Terminator tank support vehicles have entered the war in Ukraine, according to the latest assessment from the UK Ministry of Defence. The company of BMP-T Terminators was “probably deployed on the Severodonetsk axis of the Donbass offensive”, the ministry tweeted on Sunday.
Severodonetsk is a key city in the Donbass region, which Russia aims to control.
Their presence suggests that the Central Grouping of Forces (CGF) is involved in this attack, which is the only formation to field this vehicle. The CGF had previously suffered heavy losses by failing to penetrate eastern Kyiv during the first phase of the invasion,” the ministry said.
The vehicles actually protect Russian army battle tanks and were developed for this role after the Afghan and Chechen wars, according to the ministry.
– Katie Wadington
Ukrainian troops say they destroyed a tactical group of the Russian battalion
Ukraine’s 30th Mechanized Brigade said on Saturday it “destroyed” a Russian battalion battle group as it tried to cross the Seversky Donets River, a major obstacle for the Russians in their focus on the eastern region.
Ukrainian forces destroyed bridges to complicate the effort, forcing the Russians to build pontoon bridges to cross, The New York Times reported.
The 30th Mechanized Brigade said it had “dealt a heavy blow” to Russian forces crossing.
“As a result, the Russians lost considerable numbers – at least one battalion tactical group, pontoon bridge equipment was disabled when forcing the river, destroyed several units of equipment and several dozen people,” he said. he said in a Facebook post.
Concern for prisoners of war after the capture of the Mariupol steel plant by Russia
Concern mounted on Saturday over Ukrainian fighters who became prisoners at the end of Russia’s brutal three-month siege of Mariupol, as a Moscow-backed separatist leader vowed they would face justice.
Russia has claimed full control of the Azovstal steel plant, which for weeks was the last stand in Mariupol and a symbol of Ukrainian tenacity in the strategic port city, now in ruins with more than 20,000 inhabitants who are feared dead. Its seizure offers Russian President Vladimir Putin a much-desired victory in the war he began in February.
The Russian Defense Ministry released a video of detained Ukrainian soldiers after announcing that its forces had removed the last resisters from the factory’s vast underground tunnels. Denis Pushilin, the pro-Kremlin leader of a region in eastern Ukraine controlled by Moscow-backed separatists, said 2,439 people were in custody. He told Russian state television that figure included some foreign nationals, although he did not provide details.
Family members of steel mill fighters, who hailed from various military and law enforcement units, pleaded for them to be granted rights as POWs and eventually returned to Ukraine . Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Saturday that Ukraine “will fight for the return” of each of them.
What U.S. Aid to Ukraine Covers
Together with the additional $40 billion in aid to Ukraine that President Joe Biden signed on Saturday, the $53.7 billion in total aid sent represents about 81% of Russia’s defense budget for 2021. It is also more than a quarter of the size of Ukraine’s pre-war economy.
This money includes amounts intended to directly assist Ukraine’s government functions, provide emergency food aid, increase U.S. agricultural production to offset global food shortages, and support the estimated 100,000 Ukrainian refugees who will arrive in the United States.
“The cost of this fight is not cheap,” Biden said when he made the funding request to Congress, “but caving in to aggression will be more expensive if we allow it to happen.”
– Maureen Groppe
Contribute: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Live updates from Ukraine: Russia has destroyed thousands of buildings