Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has largely stalled on all fronts, with Russian forces suffering heavy losses and making minimal progress on land, sea or air in recent days, British military intelligence said on Thursday.
Russian forces destroyed a theater in Mariupol where hundreds of people were sheltering Wednesday and rained fire on other cities, Ukrainian authorities said, even as the two sides projected optimism over efforts to negotiate an end to the fighting.
Many people were buried in the rubble, the statement said, though there was no immediate word on how many had been killed or injured. The Russian defense ministry denied bombing the theater or anywhere else in Mariupol on Wednesday.
Earlier Wednesday, Zelenskyy went before the U.S. Congress via video and, invoking Pearl Harbor and 9/11, pleaded with America for more weapons and tougher sanctions against Russia, saying: “ We need you right now.”
U.S. President Joe Biden announced that the U.S. is sending an additional $800 million in military aid to Ukraine, including more anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons and drones. He also called Vladimir Putin a “war criminal” in his sharpest condemnation of the Russian leader since the invasion began.
International pressure against the Kremlin mounted and its isolation deepened as the International Court of Justice, also known as the World Court, ordered Russia to stop attacking Ukraine, though there was little hope it would comply. Also, the 47-nation Council of Europe, the continent’s foremost human rights body, expelled Russia.
While Moscow’s ground advance on the Ukrainian capital appeared largely stalled, Putin said during a speech Wednesday that the operation was unfolding “successfully, in strict accordance with pre-approved plans.” He also decried Western sanctions, accusing the West of trying to “squeeze us, to put pressure on us, to turn us into a weak, dependent country.”