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Volodymyr Zelensky warns of assassination plot as Russian forces target Kyiv

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that “enemy sabotage groups” have entered Kyiv and that Russia is planning to assassinate him as Vladimir Putin’s invasion forces intensify their attacks on the Ukrainian capital and its cities. another street on Friday.

Residents in central Kyiv woke up to loud bangs shortly after 4 a.m., a day later Moscow’s forces invade Ukraine from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Crimea peninsula, launching one of Europe’s largest military offensives since the second world war.

Ukraine’s army general staff said that the country’s air defense system intercepted two Russian projectiles fired at the capital.

“According to our information, the enemy has identified me as the number one target,” Zelensky said in an early-morning video speech in which he wore a matching green t-shirt and sweater. military style. “My family is the number two target. They want to destroy Ukraine politically by destroying the head of state.”

The Ukrainian president added that he was in the government quarter “with all the people necessary for the work of the central government”.

Just after 7 a.m., sirens of the air raid sounded in central Kyiv. The city government warned residents to seek shelter and said metro stations were open at any time of day for those seeking shelter.

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said that as of 3 a.m. on Friday, the country’s military had downed seven Russian planes, six helicopters and more than 30 tanks since the start of the invasion, and killed about 800 people. “enemy”.

Zelensky says that 137 of his compatriots have died. He described them as “Ukrainian heroes”.

Map showing how Russia's invasion of Ukraine could trigger initial cruise missile attacks on military sites, airfields and troop depots in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Dnipro.  Combined with shelling along the control zone in eastern Ukraine Ground assault (armies and tanks) from Belarus south to encircle Kyiv Advance north from Crimea and from the east through Donbas to encircle Kyiv Advance. encircled most of the Ukrainian forces in the east and cut them off from the Kyiv Advance from Crimea along the Black Sea coast to Odesa.  The central pillar moves west to the Dnipro River, the ultimate goal of which is Kyiv Ukraine attempting a strategic retreat westward from the current line of control to avoid the movement of the Russian pincer.  At some point, the Ukrainian army will need to hold the front line, but it is unclear when that will be possible

Russia did not provide data on damage to its military assets or on casualties it suffered or caused.

Senior Western officials warn that Russia has assemble an “overwhelming force” captured the capital, likely within days, with tanks and armor rolling into Ukraine from three fronts and fighter jets, paratroopers and helicopters attacking an important airfield near Kyiv. A senior US defense official said the ultimate aim of the operation was to “behead the government” in Kyiv.

Shocked world leaders have denounced what they see as the most important challenge to the postwar European order in 80 years. “[Putin] many bigger ambition than Ukraine,” Joe Biden, US President, said on Thursday. “In fact, he wanted to re-establish the former Soviet Union. That’s what about this. ”

Biden said the US and its allies will Imposing sanctions against Russian aggression. “Putin chose this war and now he and his country will suffer the consequences.”

Zelensky urged “everyone with combat experience” to take up arms and fight the invading forces “just as the Nazis did”. He also ordered the mobilization of the entire army.

Putin and Emmanuel Macron, the French president, discussed the invasion in a phone call on Thursday, the Kremlin said, the Russian president’s first phone call with a Western leader since he was elected. recognized breakaway states in eastern Ukraine and launched an all-out assault on the country.

“The leaders had a ‘serious and frank exchange of views on the Ukraine situation’,” the Kremlin said. A French official said Macron called Putin shortly before EU Summit in Brussels demanded “immediate cessation of Russian military activities”.

Zelensky thanked Western leaders for their support but questioned their willingness to go further. “Who is ready to fight us? Honestly, I don’t take anyone for granted. . . I’m asking them, are you coming with us? ”

The Russian incursions show that while some of their forces advance towards Kyiv, others are besieging the Ukrainian army to the east.

On Thursday, Brent Crude oil prices increase to more than $105 per barrel, the first time the international oil standard crossed the $100 threshold since 2014. Prices fell again after the Biden administration announced a series of sanctions focused on Russia. financial sector than its energy sector.

But in asia on friday In the morning, oil prices rebounded above $100, with Brent crude rising 2.9% to $101.90 a barrel.

Nato will hold an emergency summit with its 30 member leaders on Friday to discuss the invasion.

Ukraine’s ambassador to Japan, Sergiy Korsunsky, described at a press conference in Tokyo Friday an early encounter at an outpost on the Black Sea known as Serpent Island, or zmiinyi in Russian, which he said was a “symbol of resistance”.

The special envoy broadcast audio recordings of radio conversations between Russian naval ships and lightly armed Ukrainian border guards stationed on the island. Korsunsky said the Russian ships had twice asked Ukraine to lay down its arms and surrender or be destroyed.

“The answer was ‘do it yourself,'” said Korsunski, adding that the Russians then destroyed the structures on the island, killing the 13 guards stationed there.

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