Street fighting begins in Kyiv as people urged to seek shelter – World

Russian forces rushed towards the Ukrainian capital on Saturday, sparking street battles as city officials urged residents to evacuate. The country’s president rejected the US withdrawal offer and insisted he would remain. “The fight is here,” he said.

It was not immediately known how far the soldiers had advanced when Serb Serbed in Kiev. Ukrainian officials reported some success in defending the attack, but fighting continued near the capital. Reported skirmishes on the outskirts of the city showed small Russian units traversing Ukrainian defenses to secure a path for key units.

But after less than three days of battle, the rapid movement of troops further jeopardized the country’s independence from the Russian invasion, which threatened to overthrow the democratic government.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reaffirmed on Saturday that Ukrainian troops will face a Russian invasion. in videos Recorded on a city street, he said he did not leave the city and that claims that Ukrainian forces would lay down their weapons were false.

“We will not lay down our weapons. I will protect the country,” he said. “Our weapon is our truth and our truth is that it is our land, our country, our children. And we will defend it all.”

Street clashes resulted in hundreds of casualties, followed by battles that hit bridges, schools and apartment buildings. By Saturday morning, when a small Russian unit tried to infiltrate Kiev, Ukrainian forces took control of the situation, said Zelensky’s adviser Mikhail Podolyak.

US officials believe Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to overthrow the Ukrainian government and replace it with his own. The invasion represents Putin’s most daring efforts to redraw the map of Europe and revive Moscow’s Cold War influence. This has sparked new international efforts to end the invasion, including direct sanctions against Putin.

A senior US intelligence official with direct knowledge of the conversation said Zelensky was advised to withdraw from Kiev at the request of the US government, but declined the offer. The official said the president said that “the battle is here” and that he needed anti-tank ammunition but did not have to ride it, the official said.

Kiev’s city officials have urged residents to move to shelters, stay away from windows and take precautions to avoid flying debris or bullets.

The Kremlin accepted Kiev’s offer to hold talks, but Russian forces continued their advance on Friday, claiming sovereignty over the southern Ukrainian city of Melitopol. But still in the fog of war, it was unclear which parts of Ukraine were still under Ukrainian control, and how many or few Russian troops had taken over.

As the fighting continued, Ukrainian forces shot down a Russian transport aircraft II-76 carrying paratroopers in the city of Vasilkiu, 40 kilometers south of Kiev, a senior US intelligence official confirmed. It was unclear how many people were on board. The transport plane can carry up to 125 paratroopers.

A second Russian military transport was shot down near Villa Cherkva, 85 kilometers south of Kiev, according to two U.S. officials with direct knowledge of Ukrainian ground conditions.

The Russian military did not comment on either aircraft.

wide range of sanctions

As Russia’s invasion repercussions on the global economy and energy supply, the United States and other world powers have threatened to further tighten sanctions on Russia, inflicting further damage to ordinary families. UN officials say millions of people could escape Ukraine. Sports leagues have moved to punish Russia, and even the popular Eurovision song contest has banned Russia from Italy’s May finale.

In all of this, Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate halt to the attack on Ukraine and an immediate withdrawal of its troops. A veto was expected, but the United States and its supporters argued that the effort would highlight Moscow’s international isolation. An 11 to 1 vote, with China, India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) abstaining, indicated significant, but not complete, opposition to Russia’s invasion of Russia’s small and militarily weak neighbor.

Meanwhile, NATO, for the first time, has decided to send some of its alliance response forces to help protect member states in the East. NATO said he did not say how many troops would be deployed, but added that this would include land, sea and air force.

The focus was on the Ukrainian capital on the second day of the Russian invasion, the largest ground war in Europe since World War II. AP communication Reporters heard an explosion before Serb. Gunshots were reported in several areas.

There was a big boom in the evening near Maidan Nezalezhnosti, a square in central Kiev, the center of protests in which the Kremlin-friendly president was ousted in 2014. The cause was not immediately known.

Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said five explosions occurred near a major power plant on the eastern outskirts of Kiev. There was no information on the cause and the outage was not reported immediately.

It was unclear how many people were killed overall. Ukrainian officials have reported that at least 137 people have been killed since the first day of the battle, with the Russians claiming hundreds were killed. Russian authorities did not release casualty figures.

UN officials said 25 civilians were killed, most of them shelling and airstrikes, and an estimated 100,000 people had fled their homes. They estimate that up to 4 million people could escape if the fighting escalated.

Zelensky said on Twitter that he had a phone call with US President Joe Biden and discussed “strengthening sanctions, specific defense assistance, and anti-war coalitions.”

On Friday, former Vice President Biden signed a memo authorizing up to $350 million in additional security assistance to Ukraine, increasing the total security assistance granted to Ukraine to $1 billion last year. It was not immediately clear how quickly the relief would flow.

Zelenskyy’s whereabouts have been kept secret after Zelenskyy told European leaders on Thursday that he is Russia’s number one target and that he may never be seen alive. His office later released a video in which he stood with senior aides outside the Blue House, saying he and other government officials would stay in the capital.

Zelensky had previously offered to negotiate on Putin’s core demands for Ukraine to declare neutrality and abandon its ambitions to join NATO. The Kremlin said Kiev had initially agreed to meet in Minsk, but preferred Warsaw, and later cut off communications. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova later said Kiev would discuss the possibility of a meeting on Saturday.

The attack was expected for weeks by the United States and its Western allies, but was rejected for work as long as Putin. He argued that the West had no other choice for him by refusing to negotiate Russia’s security demands.

In a window into how he views Ukraine and its leadership, Putin urged the Ukrainian military to surrender. We took all the Ukrainians hostage.”

Nostalgic for World War II heroism in Russia, the Kremlin identifies members of Ukrainian right-wing groups with Neo-Nazis. Jelensky, a Jew, is angry and dismisses the allegation.

Putin has not revealed his final plans for Ukraine. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov gave a hint, saying, “I want the Ukrainian people to decide their own fate.” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia recognizes Zelensky as president, but will not disclose how long Russia’s military operations will last.

The Ukrainians suddenly adapted to life under bombardment after Russian troops had invaded Ukraine from three sides and assembled an army of about 150,000 men nearby.

Residents of Kiev apartments were awakened by screams, smoke and flying dust. What the mayor identified as Russian shelling tore up parts of the building and set fires.

“What are you doing? What is this?” Resident Yurii Zhyhanov asked the Russians. Like countless other Ukrainians, he grabbed objects as much as he could and fled with his mother, and a car alarm went off from behind.

Elsewhere in Kiev, the body of a dead soldier was lying near an underpass. Fragments of a crashed aircraft billowing smoke among brick houses in a residential area. The body part next to it was covered with black plastic. People came out of bomb shelters, basements and subways to face another turbulent day.

Read more: Corpses, Broken Vehicles: Scenes Outside Kiev

“We are all afraid and worried. We don’t know what to do next or what will happen in a few days,” said 20-year-old Lucy Vashaka, who works in a small hotel in Kiev.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the US believes the offensive, including an advance on Kiev, is progressing more slowly than Moscow had planned. But he also said the military operation is in its infancy and the situation could change quickly.

The Biden administration said on Friday that it would freeze the assets of Putin and Lavrov as the European Union and Britain directly sanction Russia’s supreme leader.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zaharova said the sanctions against Putin and Lavrov were “examples and demonstrations of total helplessness” by the West.

Macron: “This war will last”

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron warned on Saturday that the world must prepare for a long war between Russia and Ukraine.

“If the [I] One thing I can say this morning is that this war will go on,” Macron’s told France’s annual agricultural fair.

“This crisis will continue, this war will continue, and any crisis that follows will have lasting consequences,” Macron warned.

In response to the crisis sparked by the invasion of Russia, Macron has suspended a visit to an agricultural fair, one of the main events of French politics.

“War is back in Europe, unilaterally chosen by the president [Vladimir] Putin in a tragic humanitarian situation [Ukrainian] “It’s a Europe that is there with those who resist and resists on the side of the Ukrainian people,” Macron said.

Additional input from AFP.