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Russia Blasts Ukrainians with Hypersonic Missiles, Putin Grows Desperate as His Troops Get Pushed Back

Randy Mancini 11 Mar 22

WASHINGTON – From Kyiv to Kherson, the Russian military is stepping up its devastating attacks on cities across Ukraine. The White House calls it a sign of Vladimir Putin's frustration. 

The Kremlin is now resorting to more extreme tactics like using hypersonic missiles which can hit targets more than 1,000 miles away at up to 10 times the speed of sound. "The more his back is against the wall, the greater the severity of the tactics he may employ," warned President Biden.  

A senior U.S. defense official said Russia is escalating its air attacks in other ways too, carrying out as many as 300 air sorties in just the past 24 hours. The official says Putin has fired more than 1,100 missiles into Ukraine since the invasion began. 

In the capital of Kyiv, the city is under a 35-hour curfew because of increased attacks from the air. Nevertheless, Ukrainian forces say they've retaken a strategically important suburb of the capital. The Ukrainian army says it forced Russian troops out of that Kyiv suburb, and Ukrainian forces have retaken control of a key highway to the west.

In Kherson, civilians gathered to protest the Russian occupiers in a brave act of defiance. Video shows Russian forces firing stun grenades on them. 

It comes as President Zelenskyy tightens his grip on political parties and media, he says in an effort to control misinformation. Zelenskyy has invoked emergency powers under martial law to temporarily ban activities by 11 political parties and combine all national TV channels into a single information platform. 

Meanwhile, the humanitarian crisis continues to worsen with 10 million people displaced, about half of them children. The United Nations says nearly 3.5 million of those people have fled from Ukraine while others have relocated to safer areas within the country.

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Devastation in Mariupol

Residents of Mariupol have been besieged by Russian bombardment for weeks, and refugees from the city describe escaping through street-to-street gun battles and past unburied corpses. Russia bombed a school and a theater in Mariupol where many civilians were taking shelter, and the fate of those people is still unclear. More than 1,300 people were believed to be sheltering in the theater, and 400 were estimated to have been in the art school. 

Based on the last report from the city on March 15, Mariupol officials said mass graves have been needed to bury at least 2,300 people killed in the siege. Those numbers are believed to have climbed substantially in the past week. Russia has killed the electricity, water, and food supplies to Mariupol, also severing its ability to communicate with the outside world.

“There are no buildings there anymore,” said 77-year-old Maria Fiodorova, who crossed the border to Poland on Monday after five days of travel

President Biden will travel to Brussels on Wednesday for a high-stakes NATO summit. The White House says he'll also visit Poland on Friday. Russia has already achieved one of its primary goals, seizing the land corridor from Russia to the Crimean peninsula which it took away from Ukraine in 2014. And Russia is now blocking Ukraine’s access to the Sea of Azov.

Associated Press content was used to compile this report.