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Putin humiliated as pivotal Ukraine strategy factor falls through ‘Not happening!’

Ukraine: Commentator discusses response in Kharkiv

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Vladimir Putin made a colossal military “mistake” after a key factor in his invasion plot dramatically fell through. Sky News correspondent John Sparks confirmed that ethnic Russians in Ukraine have refused to back Russian troops entering the country or come out in support of Russia’s leader. Speaking from the city of Dnipro, the TV correspondent explained that President Putin had expected ethnic Russians in Ukraine to welcome his troops during the invasion.

However, this is “simply not happening,” as Mr Sparks pointed to Kharkiv, a major city centre with a large ethnic Russian population.

The Sky News correspondent said: “The people who live in these cities have largely stayed put. They have been in and out of the bomb shelters today.

“Kharkiv has a large ethnic Russian population. It sits close to the Russian border and tens of thousands of Russians were brought there during the Soviet era.

“But if Putin thought he would receive support for his invasion from ethnic Russians in Ukraine, well it is not happening. It is proving to be a mistake.”

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Mr Sparks said that “the strength and resilience” of the Ukrainian forces had taken the Russians by surprise.

He explained: “Take the port city of Melitopol in the south. The Russian military claimed they had taken that port city.

“But the Ukrainian mayor of that city has insisted that Ukraine is still in control of Melitopol.”

Earlier today, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that his country’s forces had stopped Russians from storming the capital Kyiv last night. 

They also foiled a Russian plan to capture him and install their own leader.

He confirmed that Ukrainian forces maintained control of Kyiv and the main surrounding cities.

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Kyiv’s Mayor Vitali Klitschko has announced a curfew for the Ukrainian capital from 5pm to 8am.

He warned that any people violating the curfew will be “considered members of the enemy’s sabotage and reconnaissance groups”.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has urged the International Committee of the Red Cross to clear the battlefields of “thousands” of dead Russian soldiers.

She told a televised briefing today: “These are thousands of the occupiers’ bodies – this is a humanitarian need.”

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Ukraine’s Health Minister Viktor Lyashko also confirmed that a total of 198 Ukrainians, including three children, have been killed since the start of the invasion.

He said that a further 1,115 people have been wounded, among them 33 children.

Overnight a missile hit a residential building and a while another is thought to have hit an area near the Kyiv airport.

Responding to the missile strikes, Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted: “Kyiv, our splendid, peaceful city, survived another night under attacks by Russian ground forces, missiles.

“One of them has hit a residential apartment in Kyiv. I demand the world: fully isolate Russia, expel ambassadors, oil embargo, ruin its economy. Stop Russian war criminals!”

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