Ukrainians arrive at the border between their country and Poland at the crosswalk bridge in Medyka, eastern Poland, February 25, 2022 (AFP/Wojtek RADWANSKI)
From Friday to Saturday, Kiev was preparing for the worst night after President Volodymyr Zelenskiy issued a warning of an imminent attack by the Russian army, 48 hours after its offensive against Ukraine at the behest of Vladimir Putin.
“We cannot lose the capital. I appeal to our defenders on all fronts, men and women: tonight the enemy will use all their strength to break through our defense in the most vile, brutal and inhuman way. Tonight, they will try to seize it”, a video posted on the presidential website on Friday evening in Kiev said at the address.
The first Russian troops entered the north of the Ukrainian capital on Friday and killed people there.
And overnight from Friday to Saturday, Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense said it destroyed a helicopter and a Russian SU-25 ground attack aircraft near the eastern separatist zones, as well as a Russian transport aircraft IL-76 near Vassilkiv. “Fierce” clashes are taking place in this city, about thirty kilometers southwest of Kiev, where “the invaders are trying to land their airborne troops,” the ministry’s Facebook page states.
According to the UN, nearly 100,000 people have already been displaced and 50,000 have left Ukraine, as a result of the worst conflict in Europe since 1945, where Russia vetoed a Security Council resolution condemning its “aggression”. . It means “The world is with us, the truth is with us, the victory will be ours!” This proves that the President of Ukraine tweeted after the vote.
The Atlantic Alliance, on the other hand, began deploying elements of the reaction force to quickly deal with any contingency.
At the same time, he said he had discussed “concrete defense aid” with Ukrainian president Joe Biden.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky (2nd from left) with his deputies in Kiev, February 25, 2022 ( FACEBOOK / @Volodymyr Zelensky / – )
Under pressure to do more, the West, including the United States, has also imposed sanctions on Vladimir Putin himself and on Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, a rare and very symbolic fact. A measure immediately described by Russian diplomacy as a sign of “absolute desperation” and a sign that relations with the West are near the “point of no return”.
London has also banned private planes of Russian oligarchs from its sky.
“Any war leaves the world worse than the situation it is in. War is always a failure of politics and humanity, a shameful surrender, a rout before evil forces”, denouncing Pope Francis on his side in a tweet. It has been translated into many languages, including Russian, an extremely rare occurrence.
– “Drug addicts” and “neo-Nazis” –
Despite this, the Kremlin master seems determined to continue his offensive until he achieves a regime change in Ukraine. On Friday, he described members of the Ukrainian president’s team as “drug addicts” and “neo-Nazis”.
Timeline of key developments since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine (AFP/)
“Take the power in your hands!” He turned to the address of the Ukrainian soldiers. “It seems to me that it will be easier to come to terms with you and me,” he added.
As a defiance, Volodymyr Zelensky, who Washington fears is the victim of a “brutal act”, posted a video on social networks where we see him on the street, claiming that he is still in Kiev and is determined to “defend” Ukraine. .
The French presidency said that French President Emmanuel Macron called twice on Friday, in the middle of the afternoon and shortly before midnight, to discuss the situation with him.
– Rifles for civilians –
AFP saw a civilian die on a sidewalk on Friday at the operations site in Kiev’s Oblon district, and medics rescued another person who was imprisoned in the carcass of a car that was run over by an armored vehicle.
“They distributed the weapons, loaded them for us, and here we are,” says Yuri Korchemnii, who had never held a gun in his life before joining a civilian battalion ready to defend Kiev step-by-step against the enemy.
Demonstration against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, 25 February 2022, London (AFP / Tolga Akmen)
Ukrainians also reported clashes in two areas 40 to 80 km north of the capital. They said that Russian troops were also approaching Kiev from the northeast and east.
After large numbers of people fled on Thursday, the center of Kiev, normally a metropolis of around three million inhabitants and currently under curfew, looked like a ghost town.
Armed and armored men were stationed at the main fork near government buildings. Rare passers-by stopped to share the latest news, sirens and explosions sounded under a cloudy sky.
A plume of smoke near Antonov airport, northwest of Kiev, on February 24, 2022 (AFP / Daniel LEAL)
“Last night they started bombing civilian neighborhoods.
He praised the “heroism” of the people in the face of an invasion on the Ukrainian side that left at least 137 dead and 316 injured, according to a report released on Thursday afternoon. And he assured that the soldiers were doing “whatever they could” to defend the country.
Ukrainians rest at the Przemysl train station, which was converted into a reception center for refugees in Poland on February 25, 2022 (AFP / Wojtek RADWANSKI)
The occupation has thrown thousands of Ukrainians onto the roads, who flocked to EU borders, primarily Poland, Hungary and Romania.
Kristian Szavla, 28, from western Ukraine, was one of the first to cross the border with Hungary. This man, who left with his wife and child, said, “We do not want to experience what our fellow countrymen and friends are going through, who wake up to the sound of sirens in every Russian bombardment in the east of the country.”
– Retaliatory measures –
President Zelensky criticized the Europeans for being too slow to support Ukraine and urged those with “war experience” to come and fight alongside the Ukrainians.
NATO, whose leaders met via video conference on Friday, reiterated that it would not send troops to this country in the past few days.
Joe Biden, on the other hand, warned that “no part of NATO territory” would be abandoned and that the Pentagon would send about 7,000 more troops to Germany.
For now, the Western camp is focused on tightening sanctions against Russia, which restricts its access to financial markets and technology.
But Volodymyr Zelensky, whose country sought urgent financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund, urged them to go further.
Firefighters in front of a damaged residential building on Koshytsa Street, a suburb of Kiev, reportedly hit by a military bullet on February 25, 2022 (AFP/GENYA SAVILOV)
“Visa cancellation for Russians? Rapid disconnection? Complete isolation of Russia? Recall ambassadors? Oil embargo? Europe,” he said.
Other retaliatory measures: All participation by Russia in the bodies of the Council of Europe is suspended, and the OECD has closed the door to its membership.
At the same time, it was excluded from the very popular Eurovision music contest, and the International Olympic Committee urged international sports federations to cancel or relocate any planned event on its territory or its Belarusian ally.
Initial result: The Champions League final will be held in Paris, not Saint-Petersburg as planned, and the Sochi F1 Grand Prix, scheduled for September, has been cancelled.
– Stock market recovery –
Commodity prices, which rose on Thursday, remained very high, with Brent oil rising above $100 a barrel even as US WTI returned to $95. World stock markets rose sharply on Friday.
Map showing the prices of Europe’s major stock exchanges at the close of 25 February (AFP / )
Russia’s offensive began at dawn on Thursday, after Vladimir Putin recognized the independence of two Ukrainian separatist regions in the Donbass on Monday evening, which Moscow has sponsored since 2014.
The Kremlin master also condemned NATO’s “aggressive” policy, using a “genocide” allegedly organized by Kiev in these “republics”.