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)
The Ukrainian army and Russian forces clashed in Kiev for control of Ukraine’s capital on Saturday morning, two days after the start of the invasion of the country ordered by Vladimir Putin.
Clashes broke out on Victory Street, one of the main arteries of the Ukrainian capital, a few hours after President Volodymyr Zelensky’s call for dramatic mobilization.
“Fierce fighting continues in Kiev. The Ukrainian army is pushing back the Russian saboteurs,” the Ukrainian Special Communications Service said at around 0330 GMT on Saturday. On Facebook, the Ukrainian military said it destroyed a column of five Russian military vehicles, including a tank, near the Beresteiska metro station, located on Victory Avenue in the northwest of the capital.
At 00:30 GMT, Ukraine’s Special Communications Service said that Russian forces were trying to attack a power station in the Troieshchyna district, northeast of Kiev.
Town residents were told to stay in their shelters or stay away from windows if they were at home. According to the Special Communications Service, the anti-aircraft siren was triggered at dawn in Kharkiv, a large city in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border.
The Ukrainian military also reported “violent” clashes 30km southwest of the capital, where the Russians were “trying to land paratroopers”.
The people of Kiev prepared for the worst after the president’s message. “Tonight, they will try to take over Kiev,” Mr. Zelensky said in a video posted on the presidential website on Friday evening, a few hours ago.
– Russia’s veto in the UN –
And two days after this Russian invasion, announced by President Putin in the middle of the night, nearly 100,000 people were displaced according to the UN and 50,000 people left Ukraine powerless to condemn Moscow at the same time.
Not surprisingly, Russia vetoed a resolution at the Security Council on Friday condemning its “aggression”, a text yet supported by most countries. 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.
Support for Ukraine after the Russian occupation in Sydney on February 26, 2022 (AFP / Steven SAPHORE)
Demonstrations of support for Ukraine took place all over the world. In Montreal, under a snowstorm on Friday afternoon, dozens of people gathered under the windows of the Russian Consulate General.
Yet the Kremlin master seems determined to continue his offensive until he achieves regime change in Ukraine and is removed from power in Kiev, which he describes as “drug addicts” and “neo-Nazis.”
Timeline of key developments since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine (AFP/)
He also urged the Ukrainian army to turn their weapons against the government. So he said, “It seems to me that it will be easier to come to terms with you and me.”
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.
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.
Ukrainians leave their country on foot or by car to reach Poland at the Korczowa-Krakovets border post on February 26, 2022 (AFP / Dimitar DILKOFF)
The occupation has thrown thousands of Ukrainians onto the roads, who flocked to EU borders, primarily Poland, Hungary and Romania.
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.
– Sanctions on Putin –
For now, the Western camp is focused on tightening sanctions against Russia, which restricts its access to financial markets and technology.
Westerners, especially Washington, took a new step on Friday by imposing sanctions on Vladimir Putin himself and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, a rare and symbolic fact.
A plume of smoke near Antonov airport, northwest of Kiev, on February 24, 2022 (AFP / Daniel LEAL)
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”.