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Ukraine’s capital is under threat as Russia looms for invasion – Daily Local

YURAS KARMANAU, JIM HEINTZ, VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV, DASHA LITVINOVA

Kiev, Ukraine (AP) —Russian troops bored in the Ukrainian capital on Friday as the invasion of democracies fueled fears of a wider war in Europe and triggered international efforts to stop Moscow. ..

There were reports of hundreds of war casualties, including bombardment of Kiev apartment buildings and the destruction of bridges and schools, raising signs that Russia in Vladimirputin is trying to overthrow the Ukrainian government. .. Redrawing the world map and resurrecting the influence of Moscow’s Cold War era will be his most daring effort to date.

NATO has decided to send some of the Alliance’s response forces to protect the eastern member states for the first time. NATO did not say how many troops would be deployed, but added that it would include land, sea and air forces.

In the fog of war, it was unknown how much Ukraine was still under Ukrainian control and how many Russian troops were seized. The Kremlin accepted the offer of the Kiev parley, but it appeared to be an effort to squeeze concessions from the embarrassed President Volodymyr Zelensky, rather than a gesture towards a diplomatic solution.

The United States and other world powers have imposed stricter sanctions on Russia as the aggression echoed the global economy and energy supply and threatened to further hurt ordinary households. UN officials said millions could flee Ukraine. The sports league has moved to punish Russia, and even the popular Eurovision Song Contest has banned Russia from the May finals in Italy.

The second day of Russia’s invasion, the largest ground war in Europe since World War II, focused on the capital of Ukraine. Associated Press reporters said the explosion began before dawn and shootings were reported in several areas.

After 8 pm, a big boom was heard near Maidan Nezalezhnosti, a square in the center of Kiev, which became the center of protest and the expulsion of the Kremlin-friendly president in 2014. The cause was not immediately known.

Mayor Vitali Klitschko said five explosions occurred near a major power plant in the eastern suburbs of Kiev. There was no information on their causes and the power outage was not reported immediately.

Russian troops said they could occupy a strategic airport on the outskirts of Kiev and quickly build up troops to occupy the capital. It already claimed to have separated the city from the west — the direction many took to escape the invasion — leading to a line of cars meandering towards the Polish border.

Russia’s defense ministry has blocked the cities of Smy and Konotop, claiming that the attack claimed dozens of Ukrainian military assets. The statement could not be confirmed independently.

A fierce shooting took place at the bridge across the Dnieper River, which separates eastern and western Kiev, blowing off another important bridge to the capital.

Ukrainian officials reported at least 137 deaths on their side, claiming hundreds of Russian deaths. Russian authorities did not disclose the number of victims and could not confirm tolls.

UN officials reported the deaths of 25 civilians, primarily from artillery and airstrikes, with 100,000 believed to have left home, and up to 4 million could escape if the fighting intensified. I presume that there is.

Zelensky added that he was grateful for Washington’s support, tweeting that he had spoken to US President Joe Biden on the phone and discussed “strengthening sanctions, concrete defense assistance, and anti-war coalitions.”

His whereabouts were kept secret after telling European leaders on Thursday night’s phone that he was Russia’s biggest target and they might not see him alive again. rice field. His office later released a video of him standing with his senior aide outside Cheong Wa Dae, saying he and other government officials would stay in the capital.

“We are all here to protect the independence of our country,” Zelensky said. “And it will continue to be like this. Glory to our defenders, glory to Ukraine, glory to heroes.”

US defense officials said Russia’s amphibious attacks were underway, with thousands of Russian troops landing from the Sea of ​​Azov, west of Mariupol. Officials said Ukraine’s air defenses have deteriorated, but are still functioning, and about one-third of Russia’s combat power concentrated around Ukraine is now in the country. Authorities estimated that Russia had launched more than 200 missiles into Ukraine, some attacking residential areas.

A senior US intelligence official, who is directly aware of current intelligence activities, told AP that Russian armor is 50 kilometers (31 miles) both north and west of Kiev.

Zelenskyy previously offered to negotiate Putin’s key demands. Ukraine declares itself neutral and abandons his ambition to join NATO. The Kremlin initially said he was ready to send a delegation to Belarus, and then retreated, saying he preferred to meet in Warsaw. Russian Foreign Minister Sergeĭ Viklov said Zelensky should have agreed to the talks earlier, suggesting it was too late.

The assault was expected for several weeks by the US and Western allies and was denied by Putin to participate in the work for as long. He argued that the West left him no other option by refusing to negotiate Russia’s security demands.

He urged Ukrainian troops to surrender to see how Putin, who is increasingly isolated, sees Ukraine and its leadership. He took the entire Kiev and Ukrainian people hostage. “

The Kremlin equates members of the Ukrainian right-wing group with neo-Nazis, playing Russia’s nostalgia for World War II heroism. Zelensky, a Jew, gets angry and dismisses those claims.

The dictatorial leader has not revealed his final plan for Ukraine. Viklov hinted on Friday, “I want to allow Ukrainian people to decide their destiny.” Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia recognized Zelensky as president, but did not say how long Russia’s military operations could last.

The Ukrainians suddenly adapted to the fire after invading the country from three sides as Russian troops gathered an estimated 150,000 troops nearby.

Residents of Kyiv’s apartment woke up to screams, smoke and scattered dust. What the mayor identified as a Russian bombardment tore a part of the building and caused a fire.

“What are you doing? What is this?” Resident Yuri Zihanov asked the Russian army. Like countless other Ukrainians, he grabbed what he could do, ran away with his mother, and a car alert rang behind him.

Elsewhere in Kiev, the bodies of dead soldiers lay near the underpass. Inside a brick house in a residential area, smoked pieces of a downed aircraft. I covered the part of the body next to it with black plastic. And people got off the bomb shelter, basement, subway and faced another turbulent day.

“We are all scared and worried. We don’t know what to do then or what will happen in a few days,” said Lucy Vashaka, a 20-year-old worker at a small hotel in Kiev.

AP reporters saw signs of serious combat near Ivankiv, about 60 km (40 miles) northwest of Kiev. Russian troops also entered the city of Smee near the Russian border, located on the highway leading from the east to Kiev. Russian missile launchers were found in the eastern suburbs of Kharkov.

Zelensky, whose power grasp has become increasingly weak, has appealed to world leaders for even stricter sanctions and defense assistance than those imposed by Western allies. Zelensky broke diplomatic relations with Moscow, proclaimed martial law, and ordered full military mobilization lasting 90 days.

The invasion began early Thursday with missile attacks on cities and military bases, followed by multifaceted ground attacks involving troops from eastern separatist-controlled areas. From the southern region of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014. And north from Belarus.

After Ukrainian officials said they had lost control of the abandoned Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster, Russia said it was working with Ukrainians to secure a nuclear power plant. Ukrainian ambassador to Washington said the Russians had taken 92 workers hostage at the factory, continued to operate the facility and violated safety regulations.

Biden said Putin “chosen this war” and announced new sanctions targeting Russian banks, oligarchs, state-owned enterprises and the tech sector.

The European Union has slapped Putin and Viklov’s own asset freeze, in addition to other sanctions. The UK has frozen the assets of all major Russian banks and plans to ban Russian companies and the Kremlin from raising funds in the UK market.

“Now we meet him as what he is, a bloody invader who believes in the conquest of the empire,” Boris Johnson said of Putin.

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Isachenkov and Litvinova reported from Moscow. Francesca Ebel, Joseph Federman and Andrew Drake in Kiev. Angela Charlton in Paris. Geir Moulson and Frank Jordans in Berlin. Raf Casert and Lorne Cook in Brussels. Nick Dumi Trash in Mariupol, Ukraine. Matt Sedensky in New York. Contributions by Robert Burns, Matthew Lee, Armor Madani, Eric Tucker, Noman Merchant, Ellen Nickmeier, Zeke Miller, Chris Megerian and Darlene Superville from Washington.

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Follow the Associated Press Ukraine coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

Ukraine’s capital is under threat as Russia looms for invasion – Daily Local

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