Russia invades Ukraine: Key port city Kherson falls to Russian forces

Russia invades Ukraine: Key port city Kherson falls to Russian forces
The Ukraine war has entered a new phase with the fall of the key port city of Kherson to Russia.
9 min read
03 March, 2022
The key port city of Kherson has fallen to Russia [Getty]

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that his country will continue to resist a Russian onslaught, as a key port city fell to Moscow.

Zelensky made a defiant televised speech on Thursday after Kherson fell to Russia following days of heavy fighting.

He told Russian soldiers to "go home", saying they were being used by the Putin government.

"They will have no peace here," Zelenskyy said

"Protect your Russian-speaking people and not across the world, but at your home."

He said that Russian plans for a quick victory have failed, leading to Moscow to order armed forces to besiege Ukrainian cities and shell neighbourhoods.

Thousands of civilians are believed to have died in Russian bombing and shelling.

Kherson Mayor Igor Kolykhaev said Russian forces had taken over council buildings and announced a curfew in the city, according to reports.

It's the first major city to fall to Russia since its invasion of Ukraine a week ago.

We will have more on this plus other updates throughout the day.

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6:19 PM
The New Arab Staff

That concludes our live coverage for the day. Visit us tomorrow for more updates on the situation in Ukraine.

5:52 PM
The New Arab Staff

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Moscow's military operations in Ukraine were going according to plan. 

"I want to say that the special military operation is proceeding strictly in line with the timetable. According to plan. All the tasks that have been set are being successfully resolved," he said, a week after Russia sent tanks and troops into Ukraine from the north, east and south.

He made a series of allegations against Ukrainian forces for which he did not provide evidence, including that they had tortured and killed Russian prisoners of war, and were holding foreign citizens hostage and using human shields.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, launching an assault on several towns and cities. Strong resistance has held back Moscow's advance, however, dozens of Ukrainians have been killed and tens of thousands forced to flee their homes. 

4:52 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Thirty-three people died Thursday when Russian forces hit residential areas, including schools and a high-rise apartment building, in the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv, officials said.

Ukraine's emergencies service said 18 people were also injured in the attack, updating an earlier toll.


4:35 PM
The New Arab Staff

The EU on Thursday agreed to approve temporary protection for refugees fleeing the invasion of Ukraine - in a move that was described by European home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson as a "historic decision".

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said: "The European Union will accord temporary protection to all those fleeing the war in Ukraine."

Darmanin's phrasing was noteworthy. While most of those pouring out of Ukraine - mainly women and children - are Ukrainian, there were also many Indian students and other nationalities trapped when Russia invaded.

To read the story in full, click here. 

3:34 PM
The New Arab Staff

After a 90-minute phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron believes "the worst is to come" in Ukraine.  

"The expectation of the president is that the worst is to come, given what President Putin told him," a senior aide to the French leader told reporters on condition of anonymity.

"There was nothing in what President Putin told us that should reassure us. He showed great determination to continue the operation," the aide continued.

He added that Putin "wanted to seize control of the whole of Ukraine. He will, in his own words, carry out his operation to 'de-Nazify' Ukraine to the end."

"You can understand the extent to which these words are shocking and unacceptable and the president told him that it was lies," the aide said.

Putin and Macron met in early February as France tried to de-escalate tensions [Getty]
3:22 PM
The New Arab Staff

Belarus is hosting talks between Ukrainian and Russian officials. The country was notoriously one of the launchpads for the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.

It is now playing host to the two sides again in an effort to reach a ceasefire.

We will have more on the talks as the day progresses.

3:16 PM
The New Arab Staff

The English Premier League is looking at the suspension or termination of its Russian television deal following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, chief executive Richard Masters said on Thursday.

"We're looking at (the contracts) very closely in terms of suspension, termination," he added. "It's happening right now. It's a fast-moving situation."

Earlier this week Russia was suspended from international football competitions and European governing body UEFA ended its partnership with Gazprom, a Russian majority state-owned energy corporation. 

2:59 PM
The New Arab Staff

Ukraine says thousands of volunteers have signed up to fight since Russia launched its invasion a week ago. Middle East Eye looked at the murky world of military contractors who have facilitiated the passage of ex-servicemen to Ukraine.

2:37 PM
The New Arab Staff

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Moscow "intends to continue the uncompromising fight against militants of nationalist armed groups," according to a Kremlin account of a call with French President Emmanuel Macron.

After a week-long Russian attack on Ukraine, there is no indication that Putin will heed to global clamour for an end to hostilities, despite ceasefire talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials. 

2:22 PM
The New Arab Staff

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday that his country's defence lines were holding against Russian attacks. 

In an emotional speech, the president said Ukrainians had lived through two world wars, the Holodomor famine, Holocaust, Soviet terror, the Chernobyl nuclear explosion as well as Russia's annexation of Crimea and support for rebels in the east.

"We don't have the biggest territory ... we don't have nuclear arms, we don't provide oil and gas to international markets. But we do have our people. We do have our land. This is what we are fighting for," he said. 

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, launching an offensive on several towns and cities. Strong resistance from the Ukrainian people have helped thwarted Moscow's initial plan of claiming a quick victory through a land assault. 

To follow the full story, click here. 

1:34 PM
The New Arab Staff

There are a number of reports of Russian soldiers in Ukraine are surrendering or defecting.

While it is difficult to verify all of these claims there are signs that many Russian soldiers are unhappy with conditions in the army, with reports of out-of-date rations, a lack of fuel, and a lack of adequate shelter.

There are also reports of high casualties, with Moscow admitting around 500 combat deaths but western and Ukrainian intelligence believing the real figure to be much higher.

This video shows some of the chaotic scenes in the Russian offensive.

1:18 PM
The New Arab Staff

Ukrainian Mayor Vadym Boichenko said Thursday that Russian forces are trying to create a blockade around the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol. 

Constant attacks over the past 24 hours have cut off water and power supply and the local authorities need a ceasefire to restore power, he said.

"The invaders are systematically and methodically trying to blockade the city of Mariupol," he said. 

Mariupol is a key Ukrainian port city located in the southeast of the country. It has been bombarded for more than 15 hours by Russian forces, according to the BBC. 

1:13 PM
The New Arab Staff

A UN human rights chief has slammed Russia's invasion of Ukraine

Speaking before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Michelle Bachelet warned that Russia's full-scale attack on Ukraine "is generating [a] massive impact on the human rights of millions of people across Ukraine."

"Elevated threat levels for nuclear weapons underline the gravity of the risks to all of humanity," she added.

1:09 PM
The New Arab Staff

A Ukrainian delegation has headed to the Belarus-Poland border for a second round of ceasefire talks with Russia. 

"On our way to negotiations with the Russian Federation. Already in helicopters," presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak said on Twitter, posting a photo of himself with lawmaker David Arakhamia in what appears to be a helicopter cabin.

Talks between Russia and Ukraine took place on Monday but yielded no breakthroughs to put an end to Moscow's invasion of its neighbouring country. 

12:06 PM
The New Arab Staff

An advance team from the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague has left for the Ukraine region to start an investigation into alleged war crimes, a top prosecutor told reporters. 

"Yesterday I formulated a team and today they are moving to the region," said Prosecutor Karim Khan. 

Khan said his office would be examining possible war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide by all parties in the conflict following Russia's invasion. 

To read more about this story, click here. 

Accusations of war crimes have been made against Putin since Russia's invasion [Getty]
11:41 AM
The New Arab Staff

A military adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday that Ukraine is able to launch counter-attacks against invading Russian forces as it defends itself. 

"Help to us is increasing every minute and the strength of the enemy is decreasing every minute," he said in a televised briefing.

"We're not only defending but also counter-attacking."

Russian forces invaded Ukraine on February 24, launching an offensive on several major towns and cities.

Ukrainian resistance has remained strong throughout the seven-day siege. 

11:26 AM
The New Arab Staff

Formula 1 has confirmed there will be no more races in Russia for the foreseeable future, following Moscow's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

"Formula 1 can confirm it has terminated its contract with the Russian Grand Prix promoter meaning Russia will not have a race in the future," an F1 statement read, according to

F1 had already announced that the Russian Grand Prix this year is not going ahead.

This is the latest action against Russia by a number of sporting bodies.

9:32 AM
The New Arab Staff

Germany plans to increase its weapons deliveries to Ukraine following the Russian invasion, a government source told reporters on Thursday. 

The German government "approved further support for Ukraine", involving the delivery of STRELA-type anti-aircraft missiles of Soviet manufacture, which were previously used by the army of communist East Germany, the source said.

Germany has already despatched its first arms consignment of 1,000 anti-tank and another 500 anti-aircraft missiles to the front, ending a long-standing policy of not sending weapons to conflict zones. 

9:23 AM
The New Arab Staff

Russian and Belarusian athletes have been banned from competing in the Beijing Winter Paralympics amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 

The International Paralympic Committee said Thursday that the decision to bar athletes was needed "in order to preserve the integrity of these Games". 

The ban was a reversal of a decision made the previous day to allow the athletes to compete in the Games, which start on Friday.

To read the full story, click here. 

Russian and Belarusian athletes are being banned from competing by the IPC [Getty]
8:34 AM
The New Arab

Ukraine's Kherson has fallen to Russia, the city's mayor has said, with Russian troops taking over council buildings.

It is the first major city to fall since the Russian invasion on 24 February and has been a key target of Moscow.

Late on Wednesday, Mayor Igor Kolykhayev said Russian troops were in the streets.

"There were armed visitors in the city executive committee today," he said in a statement.

"I didn't make any promises to them... I just asked them not to shoot people."