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Ukraine’s capital under threat as Russia presses invasion – Press Telegram

By YURAS KARMANAU, JIM HEINTZ, VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV and DASHA LITVINOVA

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) – Russian troops attacked the capital of Ukraine on Friday, firing and blasting closer and closer to the government quarter, in an invasion of a democratic country that fueled fears of a wider war in Europe and sparked global efforts to make Russia for.

With reports of hundreds of war victims, including bombings crossing a Kiev apartment building and handfuls of bridges and schools, there have also been growing indications that Vladimir Putin’s Russia may be trying to overthrow the Ukrainian government in its boldest effort. for redesigning the world. map and revive the influence of Moscow during the Cold War.

In the fog of war, it was unclear how much of Ukraine remains under Ukrainian control and how much they seized Russian forces. The Kremlin accepted Kiev’s offer to hold talks, but with Russia in the driver’s seat, it appeared to be an effort to squeeze concessions to the Ukrainian president rather than a gesture toward a diplomatic solution.

The United States and other world powers have imposed increasingly harsh sanctions on Russia as the invasion has impacted the world economy and energy supply, threatening to further affect ordinary households. UN officials said they were preparing for millions to flee Ukraine. Sports leagues have moved to punish Russia on the world’s playing fields. And NATO leaders have held an urgent meeting to discuss how far they can go to challenge Putin without involving Russian forces in a direct war.

Day 2 of the Russian invasion focused on the capital of Ukraine, where Associated Press reporters heard explosions starting before dawn and there were shootings in several areas.

The Russian military says it has seized a strategic airport outside Kiev that allows it to quickly build up forces to take over the capital. He said he was already cutting off the city from the west, in the direction of many fleeing the invasion, with lines of cars meandering towards the Polish border.

An intense fire broke out on a bridge across the Dneiper River that divides the east and west sides of Kiev, with about 200 Ukrainian forces establishing defensive positions and hiding behind their armored vehicles and later under the bridge. Another key bridge leading to the capital was snatched, with smoke rising from it.

Ukrainian officials reported at least 137 deaths on the Ukrainian side and claimed hundreds on the Russian side. Russian authorities have not released any casualty figures and it has not been possible to verify tolls.

UN officials reported 25 civilian deaths, mostly from bombings and airstrikes, and said 100,000 people were believed to have left their homes, estimating that up to 4 million could flee if fighting escalates.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called on the Russian government to hold talks and the Western powers to act faster to cut off the Russian economy and provide military aid to Ukraine.

“When bombs fall on Kiev, it happens in Europe, not just in Ukraine,” he said. “When missiles kill our people, they kill all Europeans.”

Zelenskyy’s whereabouts were kept secret after he told European leaders he was Russia’s No. 1 target.

He also offered to negotiate one of Putin’s main demands: that Ukraine declare itself neutral and abandon its ambition to join NATO. And the Kremlin responded that Russia was willing to send a delegation to Belarus to discuss this. But Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov suggested it was too late, saying Zelenskyy should have accepted the talks sooner.

After denying for weeks that he planned to invade, Putin argued that the West left him no choice but to refuse to negotiate Russia’s security demands.

The autocratic leader did not say what his final plans are for Ukraine. Lavrov gave a clue, saying on Friday: “We want to allow the Ukrainian people to determine their own destiny.” His spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Russia recognizes Zelensky as president of Ukraine, but did not say how long the Russian military operation could last.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainians had to adjust abruptly to life under fire, after Russian forces began to move to their country from three sides in a telegraphic invasion for weeks, as they gathered about 150,000 soldiers nearby.

In an apartment building in Kiev, residents woke up with screams, smoke and dust flying. What the mayor identified as Russian bombing ripped off part of the building and ignited a fire.

“What are you doing? What’s this?” asked resident Yurii Zhyhanov, a question addressed to Russian forces. Like many other Ukrainians, he grabbed the belongings he could, grabbed his mother and ran away, the car alarms wailing behind him.

Elsewhere in Kiev, the body of a dead soldier was near an underground passage. Fragments of a downed aircraft were smoking among the brick houses of a residential area. Black plastic was covered on the body parts found next to it. And people came out of the air shelters, basements and basements to face another day of convulsions.

As the sirens of the airstrikes sounded in the capital early Friday, guests of a downtown hotel were directed to a makeshift basement shelter lined with piles of mattresses.

“We’re all scared and worried. We don’t know what to do then, what will happen in a few days,” said one of the workers, Lucy Vashaka, 20.

The Ukrainian army reported heavy fighting near Ivankiv, about 60 kilometers (40 miles) northwest of Kiev, while Russian forces were apparently trying to advance on the capital from the north. Russian troops also entered the city of Sumy, near the Russian border on a road leading to Kiev from the east.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that Kiev “could be under siege” in what US officials believe is a blatant attempt by Putin to install his own regime.

As social media amplified a torrent of military claims and counterclaims, it was difficult to determine exactly what was happening on the ground.

The assault, planned for weeks by US and Western allies, is the largest land war in Europe since World War II. After repeatedly denying plans to invade, the autocrat Putin launched his attack on the country, which was increasingly leaning towards the democratic West and away from Moscow’s rule.

Zelenskyy, whose rule of power was growing weaker, called on world leaders for even harsher sanctions than those imposed by Western allies and aid for defense.

“If you do not help us now, if you do not offer powerful aid to Ukraine, tomorrow the war will knock on your door,” said Zelensky, who cut off diplomatic relations with Moscow, declared martial law and ordered a full military mobilization. which would last 90 days.

The invasion began in the early hours of Thursday with missile attacks on cities and military bases, followed by a multifaceted ground assault that brought troops from eastern areas; from the southern Crimean region, which Russia annexed in 2014; and from Belarus to the north.

After Ukrainian officials said they had lost control of the dismantled Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the scene of the world’s worst nuclear disaster, Russia said on Friday it was working with Ukrainians to secure the plant. There was no corroboration of such cooperation on the Ukrainian side.

As Western leaders rush to condemn and punish Russia, U.S. President Joe Biden has announced new sanctions against Russian banks, oligarchs, state-controlled companies and high-tech sectors, saying Putin “chose this war “. He said the measures were designed not to disrupt global energy markets. Russian exports of oil and natural gas are vital sources of energy for Europe.

The European Union has reached an agreement to freeze assets for Putin and Lavrov himself, in addition to other sanctions. Britain is freezing the assets of all major Russian banks and plans to prevent Russian companies and the Kremlin from raising money in British markets.

“Now we see it as it is: a blood-stained aggressor who believes in imperial conquest,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said of Putin.

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Isachenkov and Litvinova reported from Moscow. Francesca Ebel, Josef Federman and Andrew Drake in Kiev; Angela Charlton in Paris; Geir Moulson and Frank Jordans in Berlin; Raf Casert and Lorne Cook in Brussels; Nic Dumitrache in Mariupol, Ukraine, Inna Varennytsia in Eastern Ukraine; and contributed by Robert Burns, Matthew Lee, Aamer Madhani, Eric Tucker, Nomaan Merchant, Ellen Knickmeyer, Zeke Miller, Chris Megerian, and Darlene Superville in Washington.

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Follow AP coverage of the Ukraine crisis at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

Ukraine’s capital under threat as Russia presses invasion – Press Telegram Source link Ukraine’s capital under threat as Russia presses invasion – Press Telegram

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