Several explosions rocked Kyiv before dawn on Friday as Russian troops surrounded the Ukrainian capital, setting up what could be a… brutal war for the city.
Ukrainian officials said They expected tanks and columns of Russian troops to attempt to enter the city on Friday, after the advancing units of the “saboteurs” were already inside Kyiv.
The Ministry of Defense urges citizens to mix Molotov cocktails to attack the invaders who are invading the northern suburb of Obolonskyi.
“This morning, we are defending our country alone. Just like yesterday, the most powerful country in the world looks from afar,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Live feed from the city showed explosions lighting up the night sky at around 4:30 a.m. local time.
It is unclear whether the explosions were series of missiles, or something else. Conflicting reports claim that both Russian and Ukrainian planes were shot down from the sky. Ukraine’s Interior Minister Anton Gerashchenko stated on Telegram that Ukrainian forces shot down a Russian plane over Kyiv’s Darnytskyi neighborhood. Photos and videos show the aftermath: a nine-story apartment building caught fire and was torn apart.
As dawn broke on Friday, the people of Kyiv were ordered to take shelter from expected air strikes.
Meanwhile, thousands of Russian troops have appeared dangerously to besiege the capital, raising fears of the country’s largest city being completely taken.
U.S. lawmakers were briefed that Russian forces had entered Ukraine via Belarus just 20 miles from Kyiv, however, Ukrainian forces are believed to have captured both an airfield outside Kyiv and hold off some soldiers by blown up a bridge in Ivankova town on the outskirts of Kyiv.
Zelensky said the purpose of an all-out attack on Kyiv was clear. “According to the information available, the enemy marked me as the number one target, and my family the number two target,” he said. CNN senior international correspondent Matthew Chance reports he is hiding in a bunker in an undisclosed location although he says he is still in the Kyiv area.
Friday’s pre-dawn explosions followed 24 hours of complete devastation in cities across Ukraine, as Russian forces launched land, air and sea attacks — from all directions. According to Zelensky, the clashes left about 140 people dead and more than 300 injured.
Reports of attacks on hospitalcivilian houses, and even abandoned Chernobyl nuclear power plant shocked the international community and made accusations that Russia President Vladimir Putin are committing war crimes by ordering indiscriminate attacks in violation of international law. “They said that civilian subjects were not their target. It’s a lie, they don’t discriminate in what field they operate in,” Zelensky said.
Hundreds of people in Kyiv have been flocking to bomb shelters since Thursday morning. Metro stations have been converted into temporary safe havens for frightened residents, as the shrill sound of air raid sirens can be clearly heard in the city throughout the day.
By Thursday night, Putin was playing the victim card as his troops carried out city after city attacks with contempt for civilian life.
“All the things that are happening are necessary measures,” he said in a televised address on Thursday. “They just didn’t leave us another chance to act differently. They have created such risks in the security sector that it is impossible to respond by other means. “
Meanwhile, thousands of Russian citizens have gathered in Moscow, St.Petersburg and other cities to protest a war sparked by the Kremlin. According to independent media watchdog OVD-Info, the protests were met with a harsh response from authorities, who detained about 1,300 protesters throughout the day.
In the latest round of coordinated sanctions against Moscow in response to the invasion, President Joe Biden targeted a host of Russian oligarchs and major banks in addition to blocking technology exports to the country. However, he stopped short of introducing more severe measures, including stripping Russia of access to the SWIFT messaging system and punishing Putin himself.
During a press conference on Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the United States is ready to take in Ukrainian refugees, but as of Thursday, no announcement has been made about the special visa waiver. specifically for asylum seekers.