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Solomon Narh February 26, 2022

Russian soldiers press on Kyiv; Ukraine's leader promises to battle

Ukraine's leader promises to fight

KYIV, Ukraine — Russian soldiers squeezed toward Ukraine's capital Saturday following an evening of blasts and road battling sent Kyiv inhabitants looking for cover underground. The country's chief rejected an American proposal to empty, demanding he would remain. "The battle has arrived," President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

It was not quickly clear how far Russian soldiers had progressed. Ukrainian authorities announced some accomplishment in battling off attacks, yet battling persevered close to the capital. Conflicts provided details regarding the edge of the city proposed that little Russian units were attempting to make a way for the primary powers.

Russia guarantees its attack on Ukraine is pointed uniquely at military targets, yet regular citizens have been killed and harmed during Europe's biggest ground battle since World War II.

A rocket struck a skyscraper apartment complex in the city's southwestern edges almost one of Kyiv's two traveller airports, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said, leaving a barbed opening of attacked lofts north of a few stories. A salvage specialist said six regular folks were harmed.

The mayor extended a 10 p.m.-7 a.m. curfew he imposed two days to run from 5 p.m. until 8 a.m. as of Saturday.

"All regular citizens in the city during the time limit will be viewed as individuals from the adversary's damage and observation gatherings," Klitschko said.

The contention has effectively determined countless Ukrainians from their homes. U.N. authorities said in excess of 120,000 Ukrainians have left the country for Poland, Moldova and other adjoining countries.

Saturday's road conflicts followed two days of enormous air and rocket strikes as Russian troopers moved in from the north, east and south. The attack pulverized scaffolds, schools and private areas, and brought about many setbacks.

It was indistinct in the confusion of international conflict the amount of Ukraine was as yet under Ukrainian control and the amount Russian powers have seized. Russia's protection service guaranteed the Russian military had assumed full responsibility for the southern city of Melitopol, around 22 miles (35 kilometres) inland from the Azov Sea coast and said Russia-supported separatists had made critical increases in the eastern area of Donbas.

Ukrainian and Western authorities, in any case, say Ukrainian powers have figured out how to slow the Russian development. Ukraine's Infrastructure Ministry said a Russian rocket was shot down before daybreak Saturday as it set out toward the dam of the rambling water repository that serves Kyiv.

Western authorities accept Russian President Vladimir not set in stone to topple Ukraine's administration and supplant it with his very own system. The attack addressed Putin's boldest exertion yet to redraw the guide of Europe and restore Moscow's Cold War-time impact. It set off new global endeavours to end the intrusion, remembering direct authorizes for Putin.

Zelenskyy offered renewed assurance Saturday that the country’s military would stand up to the Russian invasion. In a defiant video recorded on downtown Kyiv street, he said he remained in the city and that claims the Ukrainian military would put down arms were false.

“We aren’t going to lay down weapons. We will protect the country,” the Ukrainian president said. “Our weapon is our truth, and our truth is that it’s our land, our country, our children. And we will defend all of that.”

Zelenskyy said in a second video later Saturday Moscow’s plan to quickly seize the capital and install a puppet government had been unsuccessful. In an emotional speech, he accused the Russian forces of hitting civilian areas and infrastructure.

The president’s whereabouts were kept secret after he told European leaders in a call Thursday that he was Russia’s No. 1 target — and that they might not see him again alive.

The U.S. government urged Zelenskyy early Saturday to evacuate Kyiv but he turned down the offer, according to a senior American intelligence official with direct knowledge of the conversation. The official quoted the president as saying that “the fight is here” and that he needed anti-tank ammunition but “not a ride.”

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Ukraine’s health minister reported Saturday that 198 people, including three children, have been killed and more than 1,000 others have been wounded since the Russian offensive started before dawn Thursday. It was unclear whether the figure included both military and civilian casualties.

Ukrainian officials say hundreds of Russians have been killed in the first days of fighting. Russian authorities released no casualty figures.

The U.N. estimates that up to 4 million could flee if the fighting escalates. Refugees arriving in the Hungarian border town of Zahony said men of fighting age were not being allowed to leave Ukraine.

“My son was not allowed to come. My heart is so sore, I’m shaking, I can’t calm down, they did not let him come,” said Vilma Sugar, 68.

City officials in Kyiv urged residents to seek shelter, to stay away from windows and to take precautions to avoid flying debris or bullets. Many spent the night in basements, underground parking garages and subway stations.

“We’re all scared and worried. We don’t know what to do then, what’s going to happen in a few days,” said Lucy Vashaka, 20, a worker at a small Kyiv hotel.

A British official, Armed Forces Minister James Heappey, said fighting in the capital was so far confined to “very isolated pockets of Russian special forces and paratroopers” and that “the main armoured columns approaching Kyiv are still some way off.”

The United States and other global powers moved to freeze the assets of Putin and his foreign minister Friday as part of tougher sanctions on Russia as the invasion reverberated through the world’s economy and energy supplies.

Sports leagues also sought to punish Russia, and the popular Eurovision song contest banned Russian acts from the event’s May finals in Italy.

Russia remained unbowed, vetoing a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding that it stop attacking Ukraine and withdraw troops immediately. The 11-1 vote, with China, India and the United Arab Emirates abstaining, showed significant opposition to Russia’s invasion of its smaller, militarily weaker neighbour.

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A senior Russian official on Saturday shrugged off the wide-ranging sanctions that the U.S., the European Union and other allies slapped on Russia as a reflection of Western “political impotence.”

Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, warned that Moscow could react to the sanctions by opting out of the last remaining nuclear arms pact, freezing Western assets and cutting diplomatic ties with nations in the West.

“There is no particular need in maintaining diplomatic relations,” Medvedev said. “We may look at each other in binoculars and gunsights.”

NATO, meanwhile, decided Friday to send parts of the alliance’s response force to help protect member nations in the east for the first time. NATO did not say how many troops would be deployed but added that it would involve land, sea and air power.

Late Friday, U.S. President Joe Biden signed a memo authorizing up to $350 million in additional security assistance to Ukraine, bringing the total security aid approved for Ukraine to $1 billion over the past year. It was not clear how quickly the aid would flow.

The assault was anticipated for weeks by the U.S. and Western allies and denied to be in the works just as long by Putin. He argued that the West left him with no other choice by refusing to negotiate Russia’s security demands.

Putin has not disclosed his ultimate plans for Ukraine. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov gave a hint, saying, “We want to allow the Ukrainian people to determine its own fate.” Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia recognizes Zelenskyy as the president, but would not say how long the Russian military operation could last.

Zelenskyy offered Friday to negotiate on a key Putin demand: that Ukraine declares itself neutral and abandon its ambition of joining NATO. The Kremlin said it accepted Kyiv’s offer to hold talks, but it appeared to be an effort to squeeze concessions out of the embattled Zelenskyy instead of a gesture toward a diplomatic solution.

Isachenkov reported from Moscow. LaPorta reported from Boca Raton, Florida. Francesca Ebel, Josef Federman and Andrew Drake in Kyiv; Jill Lawless in London; Angela Charlton in Paris; Geir Moulson and Frank Jordans in Berlin; Raf Casert and Lorne Cook in Brussels; Vanessa Gera in Warsaw; Nic Dumitrache in Mariupol, Ukraine; Matt Sedensky in New York; Jennifer Peltz at the United Nations; and Robert Burns, Matthew Lee, Aamer Madhani, Eric Tucker, Nomaan Merchant, Ellen Knickmeyer, Zeke Miller, Chris Megerian and Darlene Superville in Washington contributed to this report.

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