Russia launches a new wave of attacks on Ukrainian airfields and fuel supplies : NPR

Burnt out army automobiles on a avenue in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022. Russian forces are launching contemporary assaults in opposition to Ukraininian targets across the nation, together with Kiev.

Efrem Lukatsky/AP

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Efrem Lukatsky/AP

Burnt out army automobiles on a avenue in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022. Russian forces are launching contemporary assaults in opposition to Ukraininian targets across the nation, together with Kiev.

Efrem Lukatsky/AP

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia unleashed a wave of assaults on Ukraine concentrating on airfields and gas amenities in what gave the impression to be the subsequent section of an invasion that has been slowed by fierce resistance. The U.S. and EU responded with weapons and ammunition for the outnumbered Ukrainians and highly effective sanctions supposed to additional isolate Moscow.

Enormous explosions lit up the sky early Sunday south of the capital, Kyiv, the place individuals hunkered down in properties, underground garages and subway stations in anticipation of a full-scale assault by Russian forces.

Flames billowed into the air earlier than daybreak from an oil depot close to the Zhuliany airport, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of the capital, in line with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s workplace and the mayor of the close by city of Vasylkiv.

Zelenskyy’s workplace additionally mentioned Russian forces blew up a fuel pipeline in Kharkiv, the nation’s second-largest metropolis, prompting the federal government to warn individuals to guard themselves from the smoke by protecting their home windows with damp fabric or gauze.

“We are going to struggle for so long as wanted to liberate our nation,” Zelenskyy vowed.

Terrified males, ladies and youngsters sought security inside and underground, and the federal government maintained a 39-hour curfew to maintain individuals off the streets. Greater than 150,000 Ukrainians fled for Poland, Moldova and different neighboring nations, and the United Nations warned the quantity might develop to 4 million if combating escalates.

President Vladimir Putin hasn’t disclosed his final plans, however Western officers imagine he’s decided to overthrow Ukraine’s authorities and change it with a regime of his personal, redrawing the map of Europe and reviving Moscow’s Chilly Struggle-era affect.

To help Ukraine’s skill to carry out, the U.S. pledged an extra $350 million in army help to Ukraine, together with anti-tank weapons, physique armor and small arms. Germany mentioned it might ship missiles and anti-tank weapons to the besieged nation and that it might shut its airspace to Russian planes.

The U.S., European Union and United Kingdom agreed to dam “chosen” Russian banks from the SWIFT world monetary messaging system, which strikes cash round greater than 11,000 banks and different monetary establishments worldwide, a part of a brand new spherical of sanctions aiming to impose a extreme value on Moscow for the invasion. In addition they agreed to impose “restrictive measures” on Russia’s central financial institution.

It was unclear how a lot territory Russian forces had seized or to what extent their advance had been stalled. Britain’s Ministry of Protection mentioned “the pace of the Russian advance has quickly slowed possible on account of acute logistical difficulties and powerful Ukrainian resistance.”

A senior U.S. protection official mentioned greater than half the Russian fight energy that was massed alongside Ukraine’s borders had entered the nation and Moscow has needed to commit extra gas provide and different assist items inside Ukraine than initially anticipated. The official spoke on situation of anonymity to debate inner U.S. assessments.

The curfew forcing everybody in Kyiv inside was set to final by way of Monday morning. The relative quiet of the capital was sporadically damaged by gunfire.

Combating on town’s outskirts recommended that small Russian items have been attempting to clear a path for the principle forces. Small teams of Russian troops have been reported inside Kyiv, however Britain and the U.S. mentioned the majority of the forces have been 19 miles (30 kilometers) from town’s heart as of Saturday afternoon.

Russia claims its assault on Ukraine from the north, east and south is aimed solely at army targets, however bridges, colleges and residential neighborhoods have been hit.

Ukraine’s well being minister reported Saturday that 198 individuals, together with three kids, had been killed and greater than 1,000 others wounded throughout Europe’s largest land conflict since World Struggle II. It was unclear whether or not these figures included each army and civilian casualties.

A missile struck a high-rise residence constructing in Kyiv’s southwestern outskirts close to one of many metropolis’s two passenger airports, leaving a jagged gap of ravaged flats over a number of flooring. A rescue employee mentioned six civilians have been injured.

Ukraine’s ambassador to the U.S., Oksana Markarova, mentioned troops in Kyiv have been combating Russian “sabotage teams.” Ukraine says some 200 Russian troopers have been captured and hundreds killed.

Markarova mentioned Ukraine was gathering proof of shelling of residential areas, kindergartens and hospitals to undergo The Hague as doable crimes in opposition to humanity.

Zelenskyy reiterated his openness to talks with Russia in a video message, saying he welcomed a proposal from Turkey and Azerbaijan to arrange diplomatic efforts, which to date have faltered.

The Kremlin confirmed a telephone name between Putin and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev however gave no trace of restarting talks. A day earlier, Zelenskyy supplied to barter a key Russian demand: abandoning ambitions of becoming a member of NATO.

Putin despatched troops into Ukraine after denying for weeks that he supposed to take action, all of the whereas build up a drive of just about 200,000 troops alongside the nations’ borders. He claims the West has didn’t take significantly Russia’s safety considerations about NATO, the Western army alliance that Ukraine aspires to hitch. However he has additionally expressed scorn about Ukraine’s proper to exist as an unbiased state.

The trouble was already coming at nice value to Ukraine, and apparently to Russian forces as properly.

Ukrainian artillery fireplace destroyed a Russian practice delivering diesel to troops heading towards Kyiv from the east, mentioned Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to the inside minister.

The nation’s Infrastructure Ministry mentioned a Russian missile was shot down early Saturday because it headed for the dam of the sprawling reservoir that serves Kyiv. The federal government additionally mentioned a Russian convoy was destroyed. Video pictures confirmed troopers inspecting burned-out automobiles after Ukraine’s one hundred and first brigade reported destroying a column of two gentle automobiles, two vans and a tank. The declare couldn’t be verified.

Highways into Kyiv from the east have been dotted with checkpoints manned by Ukrainian troops and younger males in civilian garments carrying automated rifles. Low-flying planes patrolled the skies, although it was unclear in the event that they have been Russian or Ukrainian.

Along with Kyiv, the Russian assault appeared to deal with Ukraine’s economically very important coastal areas, from close to the Black Sea port of Odesa within the west to past the Azov Sea port of Mariupol within the east.

Ukrainian troopers in Mariupol guarded bridges and blocked individuals from the shoreline amid considerations the Russian navy might launch an assault from the ocean.

“I do not care anymore who wins and who does not,” mentioned Ruzanna Zubenko, whose giant household was pressured from their house exterior Mariupol after it was badly broken by shelling. “The one vital factor is for our youngsters to have the ability to develop up smiling and never crying.”

Combating additionally raged in two jap territories managed by pro-Russia separatists. Authorities in Donetsk mentioned scorching water provides to town of about 900,000 have been suspended due to harm to the system by Ukrainian shelling.

The U.S. authorities urged Zelenskyy early Saturday to evacuate Kyiv however he turned down the supply, in line with a senior American intelligence official with direct information of the dialog. Zelenskyy issued a defiant video recorded on a downtown avenue, saying he remained within the metropolis.

“We aren’t going to put down weapons. We are going to defend the nation,” he mentioned. “Our weapon is our reality, and our reality is that it is our land, our nation, our youngsters. And we’ll defend all of that.”

Hungary and Poland each opened their borders to Ukrainians.

Refugees arriving within the Hungarian border city of Zahony mentioned males between the ages of 18 and 60 weren’t being allowed to go away Ukraine.

“My son was not allowed to come back. My coronary heart is so sore, I am shaking,” mentioned Vilma Sugar, 68.

At Poland’s Medyka crossing, some mentioned that they had walked for 15 miles (35 kilometers) to achieve the border.

“They did not have meals, no tea, they have been standing in the midst of a subject, on the highway, youngsters have been freezing,” Iryna Wiklenko mentioned as she waited on the Polish facet for her grandchildren and daughter-in-law to make it throughout.

Officers in Kyiv urged residents to steer clear of home windows to keep away from particles or bullets.

Cabinets have been sparsely stocked at grocery shops and pharmacies, and folks fearful how lengthy meals and drugs provides may final.

The U.S. and its allies have beefed up forces on NATO’s jap flank however to date have dominated out deploying troops to struggle Russia. As an alternative, the U.S., the European Union and different nations have slapped wide-ranging sanctions on Russia, freezing the belongings of companies and people together with Putin and his international minister.

Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy head of Russia’s Safety Council, warned that Moscow might react by opting out of the final remaining nuclear arms pact, freezing Western belongings and slicing diplomatic ties.

“There isn’t a specific want in sustaining diplomatic relations,” Medvedev mentioned. “We might have a look at one another in binoculars and gunsights.”

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