Last week, journalist Itamar Mor arrived in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, in order to conduct an interview with members of the Jewish community in Ukraine for the journal “Olam Katan.”
As events spiraled out of control, Mor realized his difficult position and began to seek ways back out of the country; by then, there were no longer any civilian aircraft in the skies and so he left the capital in a car, headed for Lviv, a city in the west of Ukraine, hoping to join up with a group of Israelis he had heard were planning to cross the border there, into Poland. While still en route, Mor heard from a friend back in Israel that the Embassy had told Israelis stuck in Ukraine to try to cross the border independently. Mor then headed for a different border crossing – one after the other – trying, and failing, to reach Poland.
“Tensions were running high, with the Russians already bombing, paratroopers landing, gas stations empty of fuel and grocery shelves emptying fast too,” related his friend Meir Schwartz. “So Itamar decided – very fortunately, as it turned out – to head back to Lviv and join up with Guy Amar who had established his own chessed organization there.
“By then, he’d been on the road for around 60 hours,” Schwartz continued. “When he reached Lviv, he was given a bed and something to eat, and after a bit of sleep he got up like a new man. Yesterday [Sunday], together with reporters from Channel 12 and Channel 13 as well as a few Israeli citizens, they got on a bus headed for the Romanian border.”
Mor is now, finally, on his way back home to Israel.
As of Monday morning, explosions can still be heard in the city of Kyiv, as well as in the region of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city which is located in the east, very near the border with Russia. Reports are coming in that the city of Berdyansk, a coastal city in the south-east of Ukraine, has falled to the Russians.
Overnight, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy spoke with the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and told him that the next 24 hours would be “critical” for Ukraine.
Johnson replied that he and his allies would do everything in their power to ensure that defensive weapons reached Ukrainian hands.
Sunday saw fierce fighting in numerous locations across the country, with intense Russian attacks focused on Kharkiv, still in Ukrainian hands as of this writing, and on the capital, as the battle to gain control of the Hostomel airport continues.
Satellite imagery from MAXAR Technologies showed showed what appears to be a huge movement of Russian ground forces toward Kyiv, with hundreds of military vehicles as well as tanks progressing in a convoy over 3.25 miles (5km) long, from around 40 miles away from the capital.
According to MAXAR, the convoy was making its way to the capital from the north and contained fuel, logistics and armored vehicles including tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and self-propelled artillery.
Conflicting reports have emerged regarding the situation in Kyiv, with initial statements from the mayor, Vitaly Klitzko, indicating that the city was “surrounded by Russian forces, with residents no longer able to flee” – these were later contradicted by official Ukrainian sources which denied that Kyiv was effectively under siege.
Meanwhile, talks are expected to commence on the Belarus-Ukraine border at the Pripyat river on Monday at noon local time, with low confidence expressed by Ukraine’s President regarding their outcome.
“Nevertheless, we will try, so that no Ukrainian citizen should have any doubt that I, the President, did what I could to bring peace, no matter how small the chance,” Zelenskiy said on Sunday.
Overnight, US President Joe Biden was believed to be holding talks with heads of European states, to discuss future moves against Russia.
According to an article in the Washington Post, citing an American official, Belarus is on the verge of joining hostilities against Ukraine. Up until this point, it has allowed Russia to use its territory as a ground base for Russian forces, and unconfirmed reports have suggested that missiles have been filed from Belarus into Ukraine.
“It’s clear that Belarus is the Kremlin’s emissary,” said the American official quoted, estimated that the country will officially enter the conflict within a day or two.
According to the Ukrainian Health Ministry, 352 Ukrainians have been killed since the Russian invasion began last week, including 14 children. A further 1,686 people have been wounded, including 116 children.
Sources from the European Union have estimated that over seven million Ukrainians have been displaced from their homes since the outbreak of hostilities.
Source: Arutz Sheva