Russian troops move ‘closer and closer’ to Kyiv as 2,000 civilians killed in week of war, Ukraine says

Russian paratroopers stormed a military hospital in Kharkiv overnight – as forces close in on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.

Fighting was ongoing overnight in Kharkiv and Kherson, while a long convoy of Russian military vehicles is now about 20 miles northwest of the capital, Kyiv.

In Kharkiv, Russian paratroopers launched an airborne assault on a military hospital in the early hours of Wednesday and it is understood that fighting was still underway at 4am GMT.

Ukraine-Russia news live: Biden closes US airspace to Russian aircraft

Kharkiv Region Police Chief Volodymyr Tymoshko said no Ukrainian troops were killed in the gunfight.

He said: “Currently the situation near the hospital is under control, security has been strengthened.”

Meanwhile, at least 10 people were killed and 35 injured in rocket strikes on the centre of Kharkiv, Ukrainian Interior Ministry adviser Anton Herashchenko said.

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Similar strikes that killed and wounded dozens in Ukraine’s capital in previous days involved cluster bombs, experts have said.

Troops close in on Kyiv, residents urged to flee

Russia’s defence ministry urged Kyiv residents to flee the capital, saying it would strike unspecified areas used by Ukraine’s security services and communications.

A long convoy of Russian armoured vehicles is understood to be within 20 miles of Kyiv, as an attack on the Ukrainian capital looks imminent.

But a US official said that the forces had not escalated in the past 24 hours due to being frozen by logistics problems, short on fuel and food, and perhaps pausing to reassess tactics.

Yesterday, five were killed in an attack on the Kyiv TV tower.

Key developments:

The UN claims at least 660,000 Ukrainians have fled their homes.

In the city of Zhytomyr, four people, including a child, were killed on Tuesday by a Russian cruise missile, a Ukrainian official said.

US President Joe Biden has closed US airspace to Russian flights.

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Biden closes US airspace to Russian flights

In a State of the Union address, Mr Biden told Americans to “draw inspiration from the iron will of the Ukrainian people” and that the Russian president must “pay a price” for his invasion of Ukraine.

Occupation of Kherson

Russian armed forces have taken full control of the regional centre of Kherson, the RIA news agency reported on Wednesday morning, citing the Russian defence ministry.

Ukrainian interior ministry advisor Vadym Denysenko confirmed on Tuesday night that Russian troops had entered the city, but claimed it was still under Ukrainian control

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But it was reported by the BBC several hours later that Kherson had fallen to Moscow. A member of the local council told the broadcaster that up to 200 people had been killed in the assault.

Witnesses claim Russian troops are on the streets, though the exact situation in the city remains unclear.

Igor Kolykhayev, the city’s mayor, told local media that Kherson’s railway station and port were captured on Tuesday night.