Russian forces bombed Ukrainian cities by land, air and sea, warning that they were preparing to attack the capital, Kiev, as panicked civilians tried to leave the besieged Mariupol port.
The relentless Russian offensive has displaced more than 1.5 million people from Ukraine and many have been displaced or trapped in cities attacked by Russia.
International sanctions aimed at punishing Moscow have failed to prevent an invasion, and Washington acknowledges that it is in talks with Europe over blocking Russia’s oil imports.
As Asian markets plunged on Monday, the sentiment pushed Brent crude to its 14-year high.
On the ground, heavy shelling continued into the night in the city of Kharkiv, which had been under constant attack for several days.
Ukrainian officials say cities across the country have come under attack.
“The enemy continues its offensive against Ukraine, focusing on Kiev, Kharkiv, Chernikov, Sumi and Mykolayiv,” said a statement from the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
The report added that Russian forces had “begun to mobilize resources to attack Kiev.”
In the south of the country, regional military officials bombed the city of Tusli in the Odessa region of Russia, damaging “critical infrastructure sites” but causing no casualties.
In Kharkiv, Russian bombs struck a university and a residential building.
There were several bodies next to a vehicle in a pile of trees and decaying metals scattered on the ground in front of the apartment building.
A person was seen wearing legs, brown pants and boots, and the back of the vehicle, sunken by debris on the roof.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zhelensky was outraged by the devastation and death, accusing Russian troops of “deliberate assassination” in a speech.
He said we will not forgive, we will not forget, we will punish all those who committed atrocities in this war against our soil. “They will have no quiet place on earth except the grave.”
Hundreds of civilians have been killed and thousands wounded, with countless people, mostly children and women, fleeing to Poland, Romania or Moldova in search of asylum.
More than 1.5 million people have fled the country, but many are stranded in the port city of Mariupol, where a new attempt to evacuate civilians collapsed Sunday.
The two sides accuse each other of violating the ceasefire agreement in Mariupol, with the International Committee of the Red Cross warning of “catastrophic scenes of human suffering” in that strategic city on the Sea of Azov.
The organization noted that attempts to evacuate about 200,000 people from the city would not have been possible without a “comprehensive and operational agreement” between the two sides.
One family, who had left the city, described the dire situation when they arrived in Dnipropetrovsk in central Ukraine.
“We spent seven days in a basement without heat, electricity or internet. We ran out of water and food,” said an unnamed person.
“On the road we saw bodies everywhere, Russians and Ukrainians … we saw people being buried in their cellars,” he added.
Putin promises to “neutralize”
Meanwhile, the mayor of Irbin, a small town on the outskirts of Kiev, said he saw two adults and two children killed “before my eyes” in the bombing.
“It’s a shame, they are monsters. Irbine is at war, Irfin has not given up,” Mayor Oleksandr Marcus wrote on the Telegram Network. He admitted that part of the city was in Russian hands.
From journalists AFP They saw civilians climbing over the bombed bridge amidst artillery fire all around. The body of a citizen who was killed while fleeing lay on the road, part of which was covered with a blanket.
Western nations have imposed unprecedented sanctions on corporations, banks and oligarchs. It is pushing for the suppression of the Russian economy and an end to Moscow’s offensive.
Western leaders have warned that other punitive measures, such as a ban on Russian oil imports, could be put in place if Putin does not change course.
But Russian President Vladimir Putin has equaled sanctions with a declaration of war and warned that Kiev “casts doubt on the future of the Ukrainian state.”
Sanctions have forced Moscow to restrict the sale of essential commodities to curb speculation, while credit card company American Express suspended operations in Russia on Sunday, a day after Visa and MasterCard took similar action.
Putin has promised that Russia will succeed in “neutralizing” Ukraine “either through negotiations or through war.”
But expectations for a third round of Russian-Ukrainian talks on Monday remain low.
Kiev is preparing
NATO has rejected a request to establish a Ukrainian no-fly zone, fearing that the conflict could spread to other countries.
Putin threatened that if such a plane was banned, it would have “massive and catastrophic consequences not only for Europe but for the entire world.”
Meanwhile, in Kiev, soldiers can be seen preparing for the expected Russian offensive in the capital. They have bombs that they say are the last remaining bridge in the path of Russian forces.
Kiev has called for increased Western military assistance to counter the invasion.
Zhelensky said a barrage of Russian missiles destroyed the Vinnitsa airport in central Ukraine, strengthening his call for help.
Moscow has warned Ukraine’s neighbors to refrain from providing military aircraft from Kiev, saying they could be dragged into an armed conflict.
Blingen assured that Washington was “actively working” to reach an agreement with Poland to send US aircraft.
On the other hand, there are concerns about the safety of Ukrainian nuclear sites in the wake of Friday’s Russian attacks on the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe.
The UN Atomic Energy Agency has expressed “grave concern” over the condition of the plant, and France has announced that it will send iodine tablets to Ukraine to help protect it from the effects of radiation exposure.
“Wannabe web geek. Alcohol expert. Certified introvert. Zombie evangelist. Twitter trailblazer. Communicator. Incurable tv scholar.”