By Sean Boynton, Global News, published by MSN New, and BBC
THE PENTAGON has told US lawmakers Russian troops are about 30 kilometres outside Kyiv, according to sources.
Ukraine’s military says intense fighting is underway this morning in the city of Sumy in the country’s northeast.
An attack on southeastern border crossing has killed and wounded an unknown number of guards, Ukraine’s border guard agency said.
Ukraine officials say Russian missile strikes have resumed on Kyiv today, as the military said it shot down a Russian aircraft over the capital in the second day of a full-scale invasion on the democratic country.
Loud blasts were heard in the early morning hours by people in Kyiv, according to officials and witness reports, as Ukrainian forces battled Russian invaders advancing toward the city.
US and Ukrainian officials say Russia aims to capture Kyiv and topple the government, which Putin regards as a puppet of the United States. Russian troops on Thursday seized the Chernobyl former nuclear power plant north of Kyiv as they advanced along the shortest route to Kyiv from Belarus to the north.
US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin told lawmakers on a phone call that Russian mechanised forces that entered from Belarus were about 30 kilometres from Kyiv, sources on the call told the Associated Press and CNN.
Anton Herashchenko, an adviser to the interior minister, told reporters today that missile strikes on the city had resumed, but did not provide further details.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the last time Kyiv had experienced such “horrific” missile strikes was in 1941 during the Second World War, when it was attacked by Nazi Germany.
“Ukraine defeated that evil and will defeat this one,” he said on Twitter.
Herashchenko later confirmed a Russian aircraft had been shot down, causing the aircraft to crash into a residential building in Kyiv and set it on fire.
He said some of the loud bangs heard in the city were from the air defence system that shot the aircraft down.
It was unclear whether the aircraft was manned or whether it could be a missile. Kyiv municipal authorities said at least eight people were injured when the object crashed into the apartment block.
Separately, Ukraine’s border guard agency said a missile strike hit a border post in the southeastern region of Zaporizhzhya, killing and wounding some guards. The region has no land border with Russia, but is located on the coast of the Azov Sea which the neighbours share.
Late Thursday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the government had information that “subversive groups” were encroaching on the city, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Kyiv “could well be under siege.”
Zelenskyy vowed he would not leave the capital, even though he said he is Moscow’s “number one target.”
“My family is the number two target,” he said. “They want to destroy Ukraine politically by destroying the head of state.”
“I will stay in the capital. My family is also in Ukraine.”
Ukraine ordered full military mobilisation to counter Russian invasion
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a wide-ranging attack on Ukraine early Thursday morning, which has already resulted in over 100 Ukrainian deaths and hundreds of injuries.
Putin says Russia is carrying out “a special military operation” to stop the Ukrainian government from committing genocide against its own people — an accusation the West calls baseless. He also says Ukraine is an illegitimate state whose lands historically belong to Russia.
Western countries including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union, as well as Japan and Australia, imposed harsh new sanctions on major Russian banks and state-owned businesses in response.
Nato – whose eastern expansion Putin has fought against for years – said it is mobilising extra defence forces on its eastern flank near Ukraine in response.
Zelenskyy ordered a full military mobilisation to counter the Russian incursion, with the military bringing in weapons that could be picked up by citizens willing to join the fight. Martial law has also been declared throughout Ukraine.
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has just provided a brief intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine, assessing that Russia has probably not yet achieved its strategic goals, BBC said
The Chernobyl nuclear site has “highly likely” been captured by Russian forces, the MoD says, and workers there “have reportedly been detained by Russian troops”.
The Ukrainian military has halted the Russian advance towards the city of Chernihiv, the ministry says, citing reports.
But most concerning for Moscow would be that “it is unlikely that Russia has achieved its planned Day 1 military objectives,” the MoD says.
The ministry adds that Ukrainian troops have “presented fierce resistance”.
Top: People take shelter in a subway station in Kyiv, Ukraine. Photo: Reuters and published by The Straits Times
First below:First below: Ukrainian servicemen sit atop armored personnel carriers driving on a road in the Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. Photo: AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda and published by The Global Times
Second below: People line up at a long distance bus station in the centre of Kyiv, Ukraine. Photo: New York Times and published by The Straits Times
Second below: Ukrainian people shelter in an underground station in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Photo: EPA-EFE and published by The Straits Times
Home Page: Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky: Russians want to liquidate me. Photo BBC