- Straight Last hour of the Ukraine-Russia war
Fleeing from the bombings, Hundreds of civilians marched out of the southern Ukrainian city on Saturday whose reconquest they had celebrated just a few weeks before.
The flight of hundreds of people from Kherson came as the country paid tribute to the millions of Ukrainians who died in the Stalin-era famine, and tried to ensure that Russia’s war in Ukraine will not deprive other countries of the world of its vital food exports.
A line of trucks, vans, and cars, some pulling trailers or carrying pets and other belongings, stretched a mile or more outside the city of Kherson.
The days of heavy shelling by Russian forces led to a bittersweet exodus: many civilians they were happy to have recovered their city, but they regretted not being able to stay.
“It’s sad that we are leaving our home,” Yevhen Yankov said, as the van he was traveling in rolled forward. “Now we are free but we have to go because there are bombings and there are deaths among the population”.
Poking her head out from the back, Svitlana Romanivna added: “We have been through a real hell. Our neighborhood was on fire, it was a nightmare. Everything was on fire.”
Emilie Fourrey, coordinator of emergency projects for the Doctors Without Borders aid group in Ukraine, said the evacuation of 400 patients from the psychiatric hospital, located near a power plant and from the front line, it had started on Thursday and was to continue for the next few days.
Jersun was one of the many cities that in the last days faced a onslaught of artillery fire and Russian drone strikes, being the bombardments especially intense in this city. Elsewhere, the shelling was mainly directed at infrastructure, although civilian casualties were reported. Repair crews from across the country scrambled Saturday to restore the heating serviceselectricity and water that had been destroyed by shelling.
In the capital, kyiv, President Zelensky oversaw a day of intense diplomatic activity, receiving several leaders of the European Union to meet and organize an “International Summit on Food Security” to discuss the country’s food security and agricultural exports.
The Prime Ministers of Belgium, Poland and Lithuania and the President of Hungary were present, and many others participated by video.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal stated that Ukraine, despite its own financial difficulties, has earmarked 900 million hryvnias (24 million dollars) to the purchase of corn for Yemen, Sudan, Kenya and Nigeria.
“Ukraine knows what hunger is, and we don’t want people to die again in the 21st century because of Russia and its inhumane methods,” he was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.
The food supply reminder was timely: Ukrainians were commemorating the 90th anniversary of the start of the “Holodomor,” or Great Famine, which killed more than 3 million people during two years, when the Soviet government of dictator Josef Stalin confiscated food and grain and deported many Ukrainians.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz marked the commemoration by drawing parallels with the impact of the war in Ukraine on world markets. The Ukraine’s exports have resumed under a UN-brokered dealbut they are still well below pre-war levels, which has driven up world prices.
“Today we come together to affirm that starvation should never be used more like a weapon,” Scholz said in a video message. “This is why we cannot tolerate what we are witnessing: The worst global food crisis in recent years, with abhorrent consequences for millions of people, from Afghanistan to Madagascar, from the Sahel to the Horn of Africa.”
He said Germany, together with the UN World Food Program, will contribute an additional 15 million euros for new grain shipments from Ukraine.
Scholz speaks as a cross-party group of lawmakers in Germany try to pass a parliamentary resolution next week that recognize the 1930 famine as “genocide“.
last year, Ukraine and Russia provided about 30% of wheat and barley exported in the world, 20% of corn and more than 50% of sunflower oil, according to the UN.
In a post on the Telegram social network on Saturday, kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said that more than 3,000 specialists from a local utility company were still working “round the clock” and had managed to restore heating in more than 90% of residential buildings. Although a quarter of kyiv’s inhabitants were still without electricitysaid that water service had been restored throughout the city.
The fight to restore electricity came as Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo met Zelensky in kyiv on Saturday. “This may be a difficult winter,” he said, alluding to Belgian contributions of generators and support for schools and hospitals in Ukraine, as well as military aid such as “fuel, machine guns, powered artillery and so on.”
“And by being here, we hope to provide them with hope and resilience to fight through this difficult period.”
According to the criteria of