The battle for Kiev continued as the sun rose in Ukraine on Sunday morning as invading Russian forces continued their assault on the country’s capital.
Kiev withstood the attacks for its fourth night without succumbing to defeat, but not without losses.
Russian forces moved their targets towards airfields and fuel facilities after their advance was slowed by fierce resistance from the outnumbered and outgunned Ukrainians.
Civilians hunkered down in basements, garages and subway stations as they prepared for the next wave of attacks as explosions lit up the sky around the city.
Russian missiles hit a radioactive waste storage site in Kiev, according to the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukrainestoking fears of possible radiation exposure.
The shells reportedly hit the nuclear waste disposal site of the Kiev branch of the “Radon Association” during a deluge of Russian shelling. Although the extent of the damage was not immediately clear, a preliminary site assessment confirmed that there was no threat to people outside the site’s buffer zone, officials said.
Earlier, a massive fire turned the skies orange after Russian military forces hit an oil depot near Kiev, sending up thick plumes of smoke in the air and raising fears that the air could become toxic.
The depot – owned by the BRSM company – is located in Vasylkiv, 40 km south of the Ukrainian capital, near Zhuliany airport, where intense fighting was reported the previous night, according to mayor Natalia Balasynovych.
President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office also confirmed that the Russians blew up a gas pipeline in Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city, sending a terrifying mushroom cloud into the air, video shows. Government officials have warned city residents to cover their windows with damp clothing or gauze to protect themselves from the toxic smoke.
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Streets in Ukrainian cities were mostly empty of civilians overnight after the government ordered a curfew until Monday morning.
The UN reported on Saturday that at least 240 civilians have been killed in fighting since Russian leader Vladimir Putin ordered his forces to advance into Ukraine on Wednesday. More than 150,000 Ukrainians have fled to neighboring NATO member states Poland, Romania and Moldova. The UN has estimated that more than 4 million people could flee if the fighting intensifies, causing a massive refugee crisis in Europe.
Western officials believe Putin plans to overthrow the Ukrainian government and replace it with a loyal regime, reasserting Cold War Russian influence and redrawing the map of Europe.
Putin would be ‘furious’ his invasion of Ukraine was not ‘easy’ after Russian troops were unable to take even a major city in three days of fighting, MP says of the European Union who said he was quoting Ukraine. intelligence reports.
“Russians are in shock at the fierce resistance they have encountered,” MEP Riho Terras said on Twitter. He claimed the report shows that Russia has no “tactical plan” to take on a retaliating Ukraine, saying the whole invasion plan was based on “sowing panic among civilians and the armed forces and force [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky to flee.
The British Ministry of Defense said that “the speed of the Russian advance has temporarily slowed, probably due to acute logistical difficulties and heavy Ukrainian resistance”.
A senior US defense official told The Associated Press that more than half of the Russian forces that had spawned on Ukraine’s eastern border have now entered the country. The surprisingly tough resistance forced Moscow to commit more fuel supply units and other support units inside Ukraine than originally planned.
To help beleaguered Ukrainian forces, President Joe Biden has pledged an additional $350 million in military aid to the country, including anti-tank weapons, body armor and small arms. Germany also agreed to send missiles and anti-tank weapons and announced that it would close its airspace to Russian planes.
The West also imposed significant additional economic sanctions on Russia on Saturday. The United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom have agreed to block “selected” Russian banks from the global financial messaging system SWIFT – a global network of more than 11,000 banks and financial institutions – to punish Moscow for the ‘invasion. They also agreed to impose “restrictive measures” on Russia’s central bank.
Russia said it only targeted military targets, but bridges, schools and residential neighborhoods were hit. Ukraine’s health minister announced on Saturday that 198 people, including three children, had been killed and more than 1,000 others injured in the attacks.
A 6-year-old boy was killed and several others injured in Kyiv following intense clashes between Russian and Ukrainian forces in the western part of the city, a doctor at a local hospital told CNN. Among the injured are two teenagers and three adults, according to Serhii Chernysuk, a doctor at Kyiv’s Okhmatdyt Hospital.
Ukraine’s state emergency service also reported that a civilian woman was killed on Saturday night after a nine-story building was shelled by Russian artillery. According to the agency, the building was heavily damaged and 80 people had to be rescued.
Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova said Ukraine was gathering evidence of bombings of residential areas, kindergartens and hospitals to submit to The Hague for investigation as crimes against humanity.
The Ukrainian army said on Friday it had killed 3,500 Russian soldiers since the start of the invasion and taken more than 200 prisoners.
Zelensky repeated that he was open to ceasefire talks with Moscow, even offering to drop the country’s ambitions to join NATO, which Russia demanded. So far, discussions have stalled.
Zelensky declined an offer to be evacuated from Kyiv by the United States, choosing instead to remain in the capital.
“We are not going to lay down our arms. We will protect the country,” he said defiantly in a video address to Ukrainians ahead of Friday’s fighting. “Our weapon is our truth, and our truth is that this is our land, our country, our children. And we will defend all of this.
Russia has also launched attacks on Ukraine’s economically important coastal regions, from the port of Odessa on the Black Sea in the west to beyond the port of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov in the east. East.
Fighting also continued in the Donbass region controlled by Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
With pole wires
New York Post