- Russia is making further gains with troops entering the southern port city of Mykolaiv near Kherson
- After nine days of fighting, Kyiv is still under Ukrainian hands but is being subjected to intense bombardment
- Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, at Zaporizhzhia in Ukraine, was attacked overnight
PUBLISHED: 00:24 AEDT, 5 March 2022 | UPDATED: 06:18 AEDT, 5 March 2022
Vladimir Putin‘s forces have made further gains in Ukraine, seizing control of a nuclear power plant and reducing cities to rubble as Volodymyr Zelensky desperately battles to save his country from the invading forces on the ninth day of fighting.
Russian troops attacked the Zaporizhzhia plant in the early hours of Friday, with CCTV capturing a fierce gun battle that sparked a fire in a six-storey training building just outside the main complex.
Warships are still poised off the coast of Odessa, while the port city of Mykolaiv, near Kherson which was the first city claimed by Russia, is feared to be the next under Putin’s control.
Kyiv continues to face intense shelling but has so far been spared a major assault, with Russia’s main attack force stalled for days in a miles-long convoy on a highway to the north.
But there are growing concerns that the stationary troops are regrouping and amassing logistical supplies before launching a fierce onslaught on the capital.
Putin want to ‘sever’ Ukraine in half and deprive the north of resources needed to keep fighting the war – a siege tactic reminiscent of how he won the Chechen war in 2000.
Just over a week after Putin launched his savage campaign, MailOnline assesses the gains being made by the Russians in the cities where they are meeting fierce resilience from Ukraine.
Moscow’s advance on Ukraine’s capital may have stalled but the city is still being subjected to heavy bombardment from the air.
Loud explosions could be heard this morning and an air raid siren constantly blared.
Blasts also rocked the city yesterday and Hostomel Airport has seen intense fighting, with the transport hub changing hands multiple times in recent days.
Russian tanks and armoured vehicles are yet to enter the city, with the huge convoy still stuck around 16 miles from Kyiv.
The convoy, which earlier in the week had seemed poised to launch an assault on the capital, has been plagued with comical mishaps including fuel and food shortages.
But there are also some concerns that the 15,000 troops attached to the convoy may be regrouping and waiting for supplies before launching a blistering assault on Kyiv.
People remove personal belongings from a burning house after being shelled in the city of Irpin, near Kyiv
Moscow’s advance on Ukraine’s capital may have stalled but the city is still being subjected to heavy bombardment from the air
A destroyed Russian tank is seen on the road near Brovary, to the east of Kyiv, after being destroyed on Friday morning
Ukraine says two tanks and three infantry fighting vehicles were destroyed in an early-morning attack near Brovary, Kyiv
People stand next to a shell crater in front of a house damaged by recent shelling in the village of Hatne in the Kyiv region
Firefighters extinguish a blaze at a warehouse after shelling by Russian forces in the village of Chaiky in the Kyiv region
Russia made clear its plans to quickly seize the capital, with Western security officials fearing they would overthrow the government and implement their new regime within days.
But stiffer than expected resistance from the outmanned and outgunned Ukrainians has staved off the swift victory that Russia may have expected.
An aide to Zelensky has called on soldier and volunteers to use guerrilla tactics against Russian forces, to cut down trees and destroy rear columns of Russian troops.