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Russian troops advance towards Kyiv – but are slowed by Ukrainian resistance. Meanwhile, violence continues in southern and eastern Ukraine with indiscriminate artillery shelling destroying civilian structures including a hospital and mosque. The continued attacks have slowed evacuations as Ukrainians flee to Poland. Special Correspondent Jane Ferguson joins from Lviv, Ukraine.
Jane, what's it been like over the last 24 hours?
For Ukrainians, we've seen people still on the move, smaller numbers towards the Polish border crossing every day. We're not seeing the kind of numbers that we've seen over the last two weeks. I was at Lviv train station today where we did see many people coming and going carrying bags, children, their pets, but also many Ukrainians there to really help people. They were providing food, assistance, even psychological support there. But in the east of the country, the violence continues, as well as in the south. The Russian advances in the south have been more marked than in places like the capital, Kyiv and other eastern cities.
But those advances continue, and for civilians living in many of the areas, suburbs of Kyiv, as well as other cities that are coming under attack, they're facing pretty indiscriminate artillery shelling, which is a huge weapon to be using in a city filled with civilians. And so the Russians have advanced. We understand there now Russian soldiers are about 10 miles from the center of Kyiv city, but the advance has been slowed by, of course, the sort of now infamous and famous Ukrainian resistance. But for civilians who are stuck in areas where the shelling is happening, it doesn't matter that there aren't Russians in the street, they're still feeling the brunt of those attacks.
One of your comments was people were coming and going, who's still coming into these areas?
Well, you're still seeing people who are trying to, who have stayed in Lviv, the people who have made it to the west of the country or people who are simply moving through. And it has actually been difficult for many civilians to evacuate certain cities under attack. They've had to wait for humanitarian corridors. They've had to wait for, you know, they've been waiting for days, often in line in cars, in their own vehicles, while the roads have been blocked. So there are still people who are trying to make it out. So a lot of those people are either trying to move on towards places like Poland or they're trying to stay here and find accommodation and somewhere to stay.
But in Western cities like Lviv, accommodation is very hard to come by. So we're still seeing women and children, and it's interesting. Of course, we know we're not seeing men leaving as men of fighting age between 18 and 60 are not allowed to leave. But we also saw Ukrainian police patrolling around town today, and they will approach men of fighting age who are seen alone and ask for proof that they have indeed signed up and that they are on call effectively. So they're very strict about that.
Do you see Ukrainians from outside or anybody else that's coming in for either the fighting resistance or in any other kind of support capacity?
You absolutely do. We were at the train station, the main train station here in Lviv, here in the West is the main sort of artery of support and hub for humanitarian support and logistics here. And it's also typically how people come into the country right now. And we were only at the station a matter of minutes before we saw American volunteers who were here, who were there, specifically in U.S. military uniforms, they themselves in their old uniforms. These were veterans who were there because they wanted to be identifiable to the Americans coming off the trains coming from places like Poland because there are American volunteers coming out. One of the volunteers who was waiting there to give assistance to, logistical assistance to American volunteers was a Ukrainian American, a young man who was 24 years old. He was there with a number of other veterans who were basically helping Americans who were coming over understand how to join up, how to get in touch with the authorities, how to get transport towards the front line and encouraging anybody who does not have combat experience or at least formal training within the military to not go to the front, to instead volunteer with humanitarian organizations. But we're constantly hearing and seeing in town Americans coming across and trying to offer help in whatever way they can.
Is there any update on the diplomatic front?
There have been efforts and there's a lot of conversations being had, people reaching out to Putin, including Macron, Emmanuel Macron of France. So far, we're hearing that there has been no, there hasn't really been an uptick in any kind of warming towards the idea of having talks for Putin. We know that Ukrainian President Zelensky has said that he would be open to those talks, that he would talk with Putin, whether it was in Jerusalem or anywhere else. We know that Putin has been approached by and met with Israeli officials as well as French, but so far there have been no successes in getting him to agree to sit down to talk with Zelensky. There's a lot of attention paid to these conversations because right now things are not going well for Putin and his forces. And so there's a lot of discussion of the so-called off-ramp. How does Putin potentially save face and how can anybody give him a diplomatic means to stop this war? So there's a clear push to get him to talk to Zelensky that would be seen as at least a step towards a potential cease-fire. So far, no takers on that.
Jane Ferguson joining us from Ukraine tonight. Thanks so much.
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Jane is a New York-based special correspondent for the NewsHour, reporting on and from across the Middle East, Africa and beyond. She was previously based in Beirut. Reporting highlights include the lead up to and aftermath of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, front-line dispatches from the war against ISIS in Iraq, an up-close look at Houthi-controlled Yemen, and reports on the war and famine in South Sudan. Areas of particular interest are the ongoing cold war between Iran and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East, Islamist groups around the world, and US foreign policy.
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