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Occupation of Ukraine: Russian forces are about 20 miles from Kiev, the United States says

As the Ukrainian president appealed for international aid, explosions were heard in Kiev until the morning.

KYIV, Ukraine – Russia buried its attack on Ukraine on Friday on the outskirts of the capital on Friday after sending air strikes on cities and military bases and sending troops and tanks from three sides in an attack that could rewrite the post-Cold War global security order.

Explosions erupted in Kyiv until the morning when Western leaders called an emergency meeting and the Ukrainian president called for international help to prevent an attack that could overthrow a democratically elected government, inflict heavy casualties and damage the global economy.

Among the signs that the Ukrainian capital was increasingly threatened, the military said on Friday that a group of Russian spies and saboteurs had been spotted in an area on the outskirts of Kiev and that police had told people not to leave the city center metro station because they were there. There was a shootout in the area. Elsewhere in the capital, soldiers set up defensive positions on bridges, armored vehicles rolled through the streets, and many residents stood anxiously at the gates of their homes.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has said that Kiev “could be under siege” and that US officials consider it a shameless attempt by Russian President Vladimir Putin to establish his own regime.

The long-awaited attack by the United States and its Western allies is the largest land war in Europe since World War II. After weeks of denying occupation plans, autocratic Putin has increasingly attacked a country that is moving away from the influence of the democratic West and Moscow.

Ukraine’s weakening president, Vladimir Zelensky, has called on global leaders to impose tougher sanctions and defense aid than Western allies.

The leader, who cut diplomatic ties with Moscow, said, “If you don’t help us now, if you can’t offer strong aid to Ukraine, tomorrow the war will knock on your door,” declaring martial law and ordering the army into full force. Mobilization will last 90 days.

As air raids sounded sirens in Kyiv on Friday morning, guests at a hotel in the city center were directed to a makeshift basement lined with mattress pads and water bottles. The staff and all the local university students gave tea and biscuits to the guests. Some people went outside to smoke or get some fresh air.

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

The occupation began on Thursday with a series of rocket attacks on cities and military bases, and was soon followed by a multilateral ground attack, rolling troops from several areas in the east; From the southern region of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014; and north of Belarus.

Russia said on Friday it was working with Ukrainians to secure the plant, after Ukrainian officials said they had lost control of the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the scene of the world’s worst nuclear disaster. Ukraine has not confirmed such cooperation.

Zelensky said 137 “heroes” had been killed, including 10 servicemen, and that one of his advisers had killed about 400 Russian soldiers. Moscow did not disclose the death toll. No claim can be independently verified.

Thousands of people plunged into Kiev’s metro stations at night, fearing an attack on the Russian capital.

Sometimes it looked almost cheerful. The families had lunch. The children played. The adults were talking. People brought sleeping bags or dogs or crossword puzzles – everything to wait and lighten up the long night ahead.

Anton Mironov, who was waiting for the night in one of the former Soviet metro stations, said, “No one believed that this war would start and that they would take Kiev directly.” “I am mostly tired,” he said. None of this seems real. “

Most of those who spent the night in makeshift bunkers went out to a relatively quiet town early Friday. Some vehicles and cars were moving on highways with military columns. The lines at gas stations had evaporated the day before.

With the rise of military allegations and counter-claims on social media, it was difficult to pinpoint exactly what was happening on the ground.

Russian cities said they did not target, but journalists saw destruction in many civilian areas, and Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko said at least three people were injured when a rocket hit a high-rise apartment building in the city on Friday.

On Friday, the Ukrainian army said significant fighting was taking place near Ivankiv, about 60 kilometers (40 miles) northwest of Kiev, as Russian forces tried to advance from the north to the capital. Russian troops also entered the town of Sumi, near the border with Russia, on a highway from the east to Kiev.

Then the news of at least some forces came closer.

“Today will be the most difficult day. The enemy’s plan is to cross into Kiev with tank columns from Ivankov and Chernigov, “Interior Ministry Undersecretary Anton Gerashenko told the Telegram.

A few hours after the occupation, Russian forces took control of the now-defunct Chernobyl nuclear power plant and the surrounding isolation zone, Presidential Adviser Myhailo Podolyak told the Associated Press.

The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency said Ukraine had been notified of the capture, adding that “there were no casualties or damage to the industry.”

The conflict has shaken global financial markets: stocks have fallen and oil prices have risen amid concerns about rising heating bills and rising food prices. The condemnation came not only from the United States and Europe, but also from South Korea, Australia and beyond – and many governments were ready for new sanctions. Even friendly leaders from Hungary, such as Viktor Orban, have tried to distance themselves from Putin.

US President Joe Biden has announced new sanctions targeting Russian banks, oligarchs, state-controlled companies and the high-tech sector, saying Putin has “chosen this war” and has a “bad” view of the world that people want. force. He added that the measures are designed not to disrupt global energy markets. Russia’s oil and natural gas exports are a vital energy source for Europe.

Biden was scheduled to meet with NATO officials on Friday morning at what the White House called an “extraordinary virtual summit” to discuss Ukraine.

Announcing the sanctions, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he planned to cut Russia off the UK financial markets, freeze the assets of all major Russian banks and ban Russian companies and the Kremlin from raising money in British markets.

Johnson said of Putin: “What we see now is a bloody aggressor who believes in the conquest of the empire.

Zelensky called on the United States and the West to go further and cut off the Russians from the SWIFT system, the main financial network that connects thousands of banks around the world. The White House is reluctant to do so, fearing it could create major economic problems in Europe and elsewhere in the West.

Although some nervous Europeans have speculated about a possible new world war, the United States and its NATO allies have made no sign of sending troops to Ukraine for fear of a larger conflict. As a precautionary measure, NATO strengthened its members in Eastern Europe, and Biden said the United States was deploying additional forces to Germany to strengthen NATO.

Ukrainians were urged to take refuge and not to panic.

“I did not believe it would happen until the last moment. I just took those thoughts away, “said Anna Dovnya, who was horrified to see soldiers and police removing fragments from an exploding shell in Kiev. “We have lost all confidence”

Isachenkov and Litvinova reported from Moscow. Francesca Ebel 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 Varennitsa in eastern Ukraine; and Robert Burns, Matthew Lee, Aamer Madhani, Eric Tucker, Nomaan Merchant, Ellen Knickmeyer, Zeke Miller, Chris Megerian, and Darlene Superville in Washington.

Occupation of Ukraine: Russian forces are about 20 miles from Kiev, the United States says

Source link Occupation of Ukraine: Russian forces are about 20 miles from Kiev, the United States says

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