Russian forces keep up bombing campaign after vowing to reduce military activity in Ukraine

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March 30 (UPI) — Russian forces went after various cities across Ukraine overnight, appearing to escalate attacks after promising to reduce military activity during new peace talks in what had appeared to be the first sign of real progress since the fighting began.

Ukrainian officials said Wednesday that they have seen renewed shelling in the north of Ukraine and absolutely no sign of a reduction in hostilities.

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Russian forces attacked the northern city of Chernihiv, less than 100 miles away from the capital Kyiv, and city officials said residents there remain without electricity, water or gas.

Ukrainian officials said that the continuation of Russian attacks isn’t surprising.

“The night was just as we expected, that [everything Russia promised] is a lie from the beginning till the end,” Chernihiv Mayor Vladyslav Atroshenko said, according to The Guardian. “That’s why at night we had some serious shelling … and the Russians were trying to destroy all possible means of crossing Desna River toward Kyiv.”

In the western region of Khmelnytsky, a new round of strikes hit an industrial facility there overnight and sparked fires.

Ukrainian officials said Moscow has continued to take important infrastructure facilities in the eastern and northern portions of the country.

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“There was an air alarm throughout the country during the night,” Vadym Denysenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister, said according to CNN. “In fact, there were no areas without sirens.

“In the morning they were repeated. In particular, in Donbas … Kyiv region.”

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said part of the agreements stemming from Tuesday’s peace talks included evacuation corridors to be opened on Wednesday. Vereshchuk said that included the evacuation of Mariupol residents in southern Ukraine and delivery of humanitarian aid to Berdyansk.

She also said a new route from Melitopol will be allowed along with one for personal vehicles being used for residents traveling from Enerhodar to Zaporizhzhia.

Also Wednesday, the United Nations released new refugee figures — saying that more than 4 million Ukrainians have fled their home country since the invasion began Feb. 24.

“The right to move freely within the Schengen area means there are very few border controls within the European Union,” the United Nations refugee agency said in a statement.

“The data of arrivals in Schengen countries (Hungary, Poland, Slovakia) bordering Ukraine therefore only represents border crossings into that country, but we estimate that a large number of people have moved onwards to other countries.”

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Ukrainian service members stand beside a damaged building in a residential area after shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 18. Photo by Vladyslav Musiienko/UPI | License Photo