Russia is inflicting new blows on Ukrainian fuel supplies and airfields

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) – Russia launched a wave of attacks on Ukraine targeting airfields and fuel facilities in the next phase of the invasion, which was slowed by tough resistance. USA and EU responded with weapons and ammunition for the numerically superior Ukrainians and powerful sanctions aimed at further isolation Moscow.

Huge explosions lit up the sky early Sunday south of the capital, Kyiv, where people were rocking houses, underground garages and subway stations in anticipation of a full-scale attack by Russian forces.

The flames rose into the sky before dawn from the oil depot near the air base in Vasilkov, where intense fighting is taking place, the mayor said. The office of President Vladimir Zelensky reported that another explosion took place at the Zhulyany civilian airport.

Zelensky’s office also said Russian forces had blown up a gas pipeline in Kharkiv, the country’s second largest city, forcing the government to warn people to protect themselves from smoke by covering windows with damp cloth or gauze.

“We will fight as long as it takes to liberate our country,” Zelensky promised.

Frightened men, women and children sought safety inside and underground, and the government imposed a curfew of 39 hours to prevent people from entering the streets. More than 150,000 Ukrainians fled PolandMoldova and other neighboring countries, as well as the United Nations, have warned that the number could rise to 4 million in the event of escalating hostilities.

The President Vladimir Putin not disclosed him final plans, but Western officials believe he set up to overthrow Ukrainegovernment of Russia and replace it with a regime him their own, redrawing the map of Europe and reviving MoscowThe impact of the Cold War era.

To help UkraineRussia’s ability to withstand, the United States has promised an additional $ 350 million in military aid Ukraineincluding anti-tank weapons, body armor and small arms. Germany has said it will send missiles and anti-tank weapons to the country under siege and close its airspace to Russian aircraft.

USA, European Union and the United Kingdom have agreed to block “selected” Russian banks from SWIFT’s global financial messaging system, which moves money to more than 11,000 banks and other financial institutions around the world, as part of a new round of sanctions aimed at imposing heavy costs on Moscow for the invasion. They also agreed to impose “restrictive measures” against Russia’s central bank.

It was unclear how much territory had been captured by Russian troops and to what extent their advance had been halted. The UK Ministry of Defense said that “the speed of Russian progress has slowed down temporarily, probably due to acute logistical difficulties and strong resistance from Ukraine.”

A senior U.S. Defense Department spokesman said more than half of the Russian combat power that had been assembled UkraineRussia’s borders entered the country and Moscow had to make more supplies of fuel and other support units inside Ukraine than originally thought. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss U.S. internal assessments.

The curfew, which forced everyone in Kiev inside, lasted until Monday morning. The relative silence of the capital was periodically broken by gunfire.

Fighting on the outskirts of the city suggested that small Russian units were trying to clear the way for the main forces. Small groups of Russian troops are reported to be in Kiev, but Britain and the United States have said that as of Saturday afternoon, the main force is 19 miles (30 kilometers) from downtown.

Russia declares its assault Ukraine from the north, east and south aimed only at military targets, but affected bridges, schools and residential areas.

UkraineRussia’s health minister said on Saturday that 198 people, including three children, had been killed and more than 1,000 wounded during Europe’s largest land war since World War II. It was unclear whether these figures included both military and civilian casualties.

The rocket hit a high-rise apartment building on the southwestern outskirts of Kiev near one of the city’s two passenger airports, leaving a toothed hole with destroyed apartments on several floors. The rescuer said six civilians were injured.

UkraineRussia’s ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova, said troops in Kiev were fighting Russian “sabotage groups.” Ukraine says about 200 Russian soldiers have been taken prisoner and thousands killed.

Said Markarov Ukraine collected evidence of shelling of residential neighborhoods, kindergartens and hospitals to present The Hague as possible crimes against humanity.

Zelensky reaffirmed his openness to negotiations Russia in a video message in which he said he welcomed the offer of Turkey and Azerbaijan to organize diplomatic efforts that have so far faltered.

The Kremlin has confirmed a phone call in between Paste and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, but did not hint at resuming talks. The day before, Zelensky offered to hold talks on a key demand of Russia: to abandon its ambitions to join NATO.

Paste sent troops to Ukraine after denying it for weeks he was going to do it, constantly increasing the strength of almost 200,000 troops along the borders of the countries. He is claims that the West did not take seriously RussiaSecurity concerns about NATO, the Western military alliance that Ukraine eager to join. But he also expressed contempt for UkraineRussia’s right to exist as an independent state.

The effort has already come at a high price Ukraineand, apparently, the Russian army.

Ukrainian artillery fire destroyed a Russian train delivering diesel fuel to troops heading east from Kyiv, Interior Minister Anton Gerashchenko’s adviser said.

The country’s Ministry of Infrastructure said the Russian missile was shot down earlier in the day as it headed for the dam of a sprawling reservoir that serves Kiev. The government also said the Russian convoy had been destroyed. The video shows soldiers inspecting the burned cars UkraineRussia’s 101st Brigade reported the destruction of a convoy of two light vehicles, two trucks and a tank. The claim cannot be verified.

Highways to Kyiv from the east were littered with checkpoints manned by Ukrainian servicemen and young men in civilian clothes with machine guns. Low-flying planes patrolled the sky, although it was unclear whether they were Russian or Ukrainian.

Apart from Kyiv, it seemed that the Russian assault was focused on UkraineEconomically important coastal areas of Russia, from the Black Sea port of Odessa in the west to beyond the Sea of ​​Azov Mariupol in the east.

Ukrainian soldiers in Mariupol guarded bridges and blocked people from the coastline amid fears that the Russian navy could launch an offensive from the sea.

“I don’t care who wins and who doesn’t,” said Ruzanna Zubenko, whose large family was evicted from a home outside Mariupol after he was badly injured in the shelling. “It’s just important that our children grow up smiling and not crying.”

Fighting also took place in the two eastern territories, which are controlled by pro-Russia separatists. Donetsk authorities said the supply of hot water to a city of about 900,000 people had been cut off due to damage to the system as a result of Ukrainian shelling.

The U.S. government called on Zelensky to evacuate Kyiv early Saturday, but he declined the offer, a senior U.S. intelligence official who knew directly about the conversation said. Zelensky published a demonstration video taken on a street in the city center, in which he stated that he remained in the city.

“We are not going to lay down our arms. We will defend the country, ”he said. “Our weapons are our truth, and our truth is our land, our country, our children. And we will defend all this. “

Hungary and Poland both opened their borders to the Ukrainians.

Refugees arriving in the Hungarian border town of Záhony say men between the ages of 18 and 60 are not allowed to leave Ukraine.

“My son was not allowed. My heart aches so much that I tremble, ”68-year-old Vilma Shugar said.

У Poland‘s medics, some said it took 15 miles (35 kilometers) to reach the border.

“There was no food or tea, they were standing in the middle of the field, on the road, the children were freezing,” said Iryna Viklenka, expecting grandchildren and daughters-in-law from the Polish side. make it across.

Kyiv officials have urged residents to stay away from windows to avoid rubbish or bullets.

In grocery stores and pharmacies, the shelves were poorly filled, and people worried about how long there might be enough supplies of food and medicine.

The United States and its allies have stepped up forces on NATO’s eastern flank, but so far exclude the deployment of troops to fight Russia. Instead, the US, European Union and other countries have imposed broad sanctions Russiafreezing the assets of businesses and individuals including Paste and him Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Dmitry Medvedev, Deputy Head RussiaThe Security Council of the Russian Federation warned about it Moscow may respond by abandoning the last remaining nuclear weapons treaty, freezing Western assets and severing diplomatic ties.

“There is no special need to maintain diplomatic relations,” Medvedev said. “We can look at each other through binoculars and sight.”

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Isachenko reported from Moscow, and Miller of Washington. Francesca Ebel, Joseph Federman and Andrew Drake in Kiev; Mstislav Chernov and Nick Dumitrache in Mariupol, Ukraine; and other AP journalists from around the world contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC.

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