Gunfire and explosions heard as Kyiv braces for Russian assault | Russia-Ukraine crisis News

Russian troops bore down on Kyiv and explosions and gunfire sounded across the metropolis on the second day of Russia’s assault on Ukraine, as President Vladimir Putin demanded Ukrainian troops lay down their arms.

The invasion centered on the Ukrainian capital on Friday andrResidents heard explosions beginning earlier than daybreak and gunfire was reported in a number of areas.

5 explosions struck close to a significant energy plant on Kyiv’s jap outskirts, mentioned Mayor Vitali Klitschko. There was no data on what brought about them and no electrical outages had been instantly reported.

“Photographs and explosions are ringing out in some neighbourhoods. Saboteurs have already entered Kyiv,” mentioned the mayor of the town of three million. “The enemy desires to place the capital on its knees and destroy us.”

A Ukrainian service member is seen atop of an armoured personal carrier in KyivA Ukrainian service member is seen atop of an armoured private provider in Kyiv, Ukraine on February 25 [Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters]

Moscow mentioned it had captured the Hostomel airfield northwest of the capital – a possible staging publish for an assault on Kyiv that has been fought over since Russian paratroopers landed there within the first hours of the warfare. This might not be confirmed and the Ukrainian authorities reported heavy preventing there.

Intense gunfire broke out on a bridge throughout the Dnieper River dividing jap and western Kyiv, whereas one other key bridge to the capital was blown away. Some residents sheltered in underground metro stations.

Home windows had been blasted out of a 10-storey condominium block close to the principle airport. A two-metre crater confirmed the place a shell had struck earlier than daybreak.

“How can we be residing by means of this in our time? Putin ought to burn in hell alongside along with his complete household,” mentioned Oxana Gulenko, sweeping damaged glass from her room.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted that there had been heavy preventing with folks killed on the entrance to the jap cities of Chernihiv and Melitopol, in addition to at Hostomel.

Witnesses mentioned loud explosions and gunfire is also heard close to the airport in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second metropolis, near Russia’s border, and air raid sirens sounded over Lviv within the west. Authorities reported heavy preventing within the jap metropolis of Sumy.

Putin has mentioned he doesn’t plan a army occupation. The Russian chief claims he desires to dimilitarise Ukraine and urged Ukrainian troopers to mutiny as a way to stop wider bloodshed.

“Take energy into your individual fingers, will probably be simpler for us to achieve settlement,” Putin mentioned at a televised assembly with Russia’s Safety Council on Friday.

United States officers imagine Russia’s preliminary goal is to “decapitate” Zelenskyy’s authorities. Zelenskyy mentioned he knew he was “the primary goal” however would keep in Kyiv.

Casualties

Ukrainian officers reported at the least 137 deaths on their facet and claimed a whole lot on the Russian one. Russian authorities launched no casualty figures, and it was not attainable to confirm the tolls.

The United Nations mentioned at the least 25 civilians had been killed and 102 wounded, figures that had been more likely to be a “vital under-estimate”.

UN companies mentioned as many as 5 million folks might attempt to flee overseas and that greater than 50,000 refugees had already crossed into neighbouring nations. Ukraine has banned males of preventing age from leaving, and at borders with Poland, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia, these crossing had been principally girls and kids.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg mentioned the US-led army alliance was bolstering its defences with troops and air energy on its jap flank in response to Russia’s actions.

He mentioned allies had activated defence plans and “in consequence … are deploying parts of the NATO Response Pressure on land, at sea and within the air”. This included hundreds extra troops and over 100 fighter jets being placed on excessive alert in 30 places, Stoltenberg added.

A person in Kyiv walks around the wreckage of an unidentified aircraft that crashed into a house in a residential areaA lady walks across the wreckage of an unidentified plane that crashed right into a home in a residential space, after Russia launched an enormous army operation in opposition to Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine on February 25 [Umit Bektas/Reuters]

Sanctions introduced

Envoys of the EU’s 27 member states agreed to freeze any property within the EU belonging to Putin and his overseas minister Sergey Lavrov, including to a slew of sanctions backed by the leaders at an emergency summit on Thursday evening.

Quite a few Western nations have introduced new sanctions on Russia, together with blacklisting its banks and banning expertise imports.

However they’ve thus far stopped in need of forcing it out of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Monetary Telecommunication (SWIFT) system for worldwide financial institution funds, drawing criticism from Kyiv which says there isn’t any motive to carry again.

Al Jazeera’s Dominic Kane talking from Berlin, Germany mentioned there was “some unease” in a number of European nations about banning Moscow from SWIFT.

“In chopping off Russian entry to SWIFT, it would trigger such a unfavourable impact on the economies in Germany, Italy and elsewhere in Europe that it’s a step they aren’t actually ready proper now to think about,” Kane added.

Russia is among the world’s greatest vitality producers and Europe’s greatest fuel provider, and each it and Ukraine are among the many high exporters of grain. Struggle and sanctions will disrupt economies world wide.

Oil and grain costs have soared. Share markets world wide, a lot of which plunged on Thursday at information of the outbreak of warfare, had been primarily rebounding on Friday.

An adviser to Zelenskyy mentioned Ukraine was ready for talks with Russia, together with on staying impartial, one among Moscow’s pre-war calls for, however the prospects for dialogue appeared dim. The Kremlin mentioned it had provided talks within the Belarusian capital Minsk, however that Ukraine had proposed Warsaw as a substitute and there was now a “pause” in contacts.

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