Russian artillery and missiles continue to bombard other major cities, including the second-biggest city, Kharkiv, and the capital, Kyiv, where several large explosions were heard overnight. But the Russian advance on the capital has been delayed by “staunch Ukrainian resistance, mechanical breakdown and congestion” and is still more than 19 miles (30km) from the centre of the city, Britain’s defence ministry said.
Mariupol city council has said Russia is constantly and deliberately shelling critical civilian infrastructure in the southern Ukrainian port, leaving it without water, heating or power, and preventing supplies being brought in or people being evacuated.
Residents in the key Black Sea port of Odesa are increasing preparations to defend it against a potential Russian amphibious landing, amid sightings of a convoy of Russian warships.
A second round of talks between Ukraine and Russia was due to get under way on Thursday. The international criminal court (ICC) has opened an investigation into possible war crimes in Ukraine after 39 countries formally referred reports of atrocities, the largest referral it has ever received. And more than 1 million people have so far fled Ukraine in the fastest refugee exodus this century, the UN said.