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Live Blog / Russia-Ukraine war live updates: Ukraine defends as Russia invades major cities

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine entered its eighth day Thursday, the mayor of Kherson said the strategic port city in Ukraine’s south had been “captured” by Russian forces.

The apparent capture of Kherson, situated on the Dnieper River, marks the first major city to fall into Russian hands as Ukrainians continue to defend key hubs across their country.

As Russia intensifies its offensive, its focus has remained on a number of strategic cities, including the capital, Kyiv, Ukraine’s second-biggest city, Kharkiv, and another key port city, Mariupol.

A second round of negotiations was expected to take place Thursday, days after initial talks came to an end without any signs of progress. Already, as many as 1 million people have been forced to flee Ukraine, the United Nations high commissioner for refugees said late Wednesday.

In 90-minute phone call Thursday with President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron warned the Russian leader that “he was committing a serious mistake” by invading Ukraine, and that “his actions would punish his own country,” according to an Élysée Presidential Palace source.

Putin initiated the call with Macron, the source said, describing it as “not-so-friendly.”

Putin balked at Macron’s concerns, the source added, and said the Russian leader was attempting to “maintain his justifications for the invasion on Ukraine” and that if “Ukrainians did not accept the conditions laid out in a diplomatic path demanded by the Russians, then they would obtain its goal by military force.”

The source added: “Putin’s goal is to take control of all of Ukraine.”

The Kremlin’s version of the phone call described the conversation as a “frank exchange,” and that Putin disputed “many of the points” Macron raised regarding Russia’s reasons for its “special operation.”

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