In a video address shared online early Tuesday, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine condemned Russian attacks on protesters in the city of Kherson in the south and strikes in the Zaporizhzhia region in the southeast, where four children were hospitalized.
Mr. Zelensky said the Ukrainian army had largely stalled Russian advances on Monday.
“The enemy is slowly trying to move to go on the offensive somewhere, to capture our road somewhere, to cross the river somewhere,” Mr. Zelensky said in a translation of his remarks shared by his office.
In Kherson, which has been held by Russian forces since March 2, Mr. Zelensky said Russian troops shot at people “who peacefully took to the streets without weapons at a rally for their freedom — for our freedom.”
“The Russian soldiers do not even know what it is like to be free,” Mr. Zelensky said, condemning the attack. “They were driven here, to be honest, as if sentenced — sentenced to death, sentenced to disgrace.”
The shooting scattered the crowd of protesters. It was not immediately clear if there were any injuries or fatalities in that attack.
In a separate assault, a group of civilians came under attack in the Zaporizhzhia region in the southeast, hospitalizing four children, of which two were in grave condition, Mr. Zelensky said.
Through humanitarian corridors on Monday in several cities across the country — including Kyiv, the capital, and Mariupol, a key coastal city in the south — Mr. Zelensky said 8,057 people were rescued. The number of evacuees could not be independently verified. “Thank you to everyone who did it, who worked for the people,” he said.
Some previous attempts to evacuate people, and deliver food and supplies through humanitarian corridors had failed after they were caught under fire from Russian troops.
“It was a day of difficult events,” Mr. Zelensky said, likely referencing Russian strikes that left pockets of death and destruction around the country. “But it was another day that brought us all closer to our victory.”