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Russians capture Kherson port city; Maj Gen Andrei Sukhovetsky killed

Life in Kherson on Thursday was normal with all the employees remaining in their place and the people moving around as in peacetime with no sound of gunfire or explosions. But the residents are not allowed to move in groups. In the second round of talks, Ukraine and Russia agreed to create humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians.

KYIV, March 3: The invading Russians seized Kherson, the southern port city in the war-torn Ukraine, on Thursday. Kherson became the first city to fall to the Russian troops while intense fighting is going on in the Capital city of Kyiv and Kharkiv, the second largest city, and elsewhere, in Ukraine.

The Russians have taken full control of Kherson, retaining the administrative machinery. Since Wednesday there has not been any fighting. It is life normal with all the employees remaining in their place and the people moving around as in peacetime with no sound of gunfire or explosions.

They have imposed certain rules although. The residents are not allowed to move in groups. They should submit to checking when asked. Water and electricity supplies and internet connections have been restored. People move around buying essentials. However, medicines are in short supply. Kherson is strategically located close Crimean peninsula, which Russia seized in 2014. Kherson alongwith Odesa port to the south and Mariupol to the east where fierce fighting is going on, can block Ukraine's access to ports and seas - Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. The stretch from Odesa to pro-Russian separatist-held Luhansk and Donetsk in the east will form a long contiguous territory from the south to the eastern border, along the coast. A land route to Crimea becomes a reality for Russia when Mariupol also falls, apart from blocking a maritime advantage to Ukraine.

According to the mayor of Kherson, the Ukrainian forces withdrew toward Mykolaiv, a city to the northwest, said, after days of intense fighting. Norway and Germany have also provided missiles to Ukraine. Slovakia approved a further aid package of military material worth 32.2 million euros for Ukraine, the Defence Ministry said on Thursday.

According to a late report, the commanding general of the Russian 7th Airborne Division, Maj. Gen. Andrei Sukhovetsky was killed in fighting in Ukraine earlier this week.

Putin said during a call with French President Emmanuel Macron that "Russia intends to continue the uncompromising fight against militants of nationalist armed groups."'

More than 1 million people have fled Ukraine to the neighbouring countries of Poland, Hungary and Romania following the unprovoked Russian invasion. Through Operation Ganga mission, 3,000 Indians were evacuated in 15 flights in the last 24 hours.

Meanwhile, in resumed talks, Ukraine and Russia agreed to create humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians, on Thursday. This was the second round of talks. Negotiators from both sides said a third round of talks on the war will be held soon.

It was reported that The Pentagon has established a channel of direct communication with the Russian Ministry of Defence to avoid unintended conflict spilling out of the war in Ukraine.

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