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Russia invades Ukraine, Mariupol rejects ultimatum to surrender

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This is the final bus out of the last position Ukraine holds on the road to Kherson — the first and only city Russia has taken.

Villagers have standing room only, while the elderly have been rushed into a van.

“Grandpa, we are here,” shouts the daughter of one local, Viktor, from the bus doorway, as he sits a little bewildered in the van. The panic is real; at any moment the shelling could resume, a bombardment that residents say has littered the southern Ukrainian village of Posad-Pokrovske with cluster munitions.

As the convoy of two vehicles hits the pockmarked road out toward the city of Mykolaiv, shells once again tar the horizon with a plume of black smoke. Sat in the back of the van, Vitali breaks down, using his grimy, orange workman’s gloves to wipe tears from his eyes.

“Civilians! They killed all the people, these are bastards, these are reptiles, parasites,” he says. “They don’t fight troops, they fight people. Do you understand? Kill everyone. Worse than the fascists.”

Airstrikes, grad rockets, cluster munitions — the residents recall two weeks of intense bombardment to which the fabric of Posad-Pokrovske bears witness.

The Ukrainian marines holding Posad-Pokrovske, the last settlement before the Russian positions that defend Kherson’s airport, remain vague about their positions.

But their goal is clear: the airport outside Kherson, used as a Russian base, that is already being heavily battered by Ukrainian shelling.

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