Russia launches a new wave of attacks on Ukrainian airfields and fuel supplies : NPR

Burnt out army autos on a road in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022. Russian forces are launching contemporary assaults in opposition to Ukraininian targets across the nation, together with Kiev.

Efrem Lukatsky/AP

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Efrem Lukatsky/AP

Burnt out army autos on a road in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022. Russian forces are launching contemporary assaults in opposition to Ukraininian targets across the nation, together with Kiev.

Efrem Lukatsky/AP

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia unleashed a wave of assaults on Ukraine focusing on airfields and gasoline amenities in what gave the impression to be the following section of an invasion that has been slowed by fierce resistance. The U.S. and EU responded with weapons and ammunition for the outnumbered Ukrainians and highly effective sanctions supposed to additional isolate Moscow.

Big explosions lit up the sky early Sunday south of the capital, Kyiv, the place folks hunkered down in properties, underground garages and subway stations in anticipation of a full-scale assault by Russian forces.

Flames billowed into the air earlier than daybreak from an oil depot close to the Zhuliany airport, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of the capital, in accordance with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s workplace and the mayor of the close by city of Vasylkiv.

Zelenskyy’s workplace additionally mentioned Russian forces blew up a gasoline pipeline in Kharkiv, the nation’s second-largest metropolis, prompting the federal government to warn folks to guard themselves from the smoke by overlaying their home windows with damp material or gauze.

“We’ll battle for so long as wanted to liberate our nation,” Zelenskyy vowed.

Terrified males, girls and youngsters sought security inside and underground, and the federal government maintained a 39-hour curfew to maintain folks off the streets. Greater than 150,000 Ukrainians fled for Poland, Moldova and different neighboring international locations, and the United Nations warned the quantity might develop to 4 million if combating escalates.

President Vladimir Putin hasn’t disclosed his final plans, however Western officers consider he’s decided to overthrow Ukraine’s authorities and exchange it with a regime of his personal, redrawing the map of Europe and reviving Moscow’s Chilly Struggle-era affect.

To assist Ukraine’s means to carry out, the U.S. pledged a further $350 million in army help to Ukraine, together with anti-tank weapons, physique armor and small arms. Germany mentioned it will ship missiles and anti-tank weapons to the besieged nation and that it will shut its airspace to Russian planes.

The U.S., European Union and United Kingdom agreed to dam “chosen” Russian banks from the SWIFT world monetary messaging system, which strikes cash round greater than 11,000 banks and different monetary establishments worldwide, a part of a brand new spherical of sanctions aiming to impose a extreme price on Moscow for the invasion. Additionally they agreed to impose “restrictive measures” on Russia’s central financial institution.

It was unclear how a lot territory Russian forces had seized or to what extent their advance had been stalled. Britain’s Ministry of Protection mentioned “the pace of the Russian advance has briefly slowed possible because of acute logistical difficulties and robust Ukrainian resistance.”

A senior U.S. protection official mentioned greater than half the Russian fight energy that was massed alongside Ukraine’s borders had entered the nation and Moscow has needed to commit extra gasoline provide and different help models inside Ukraine than initially anticipated. The official spoke on situation of anonymity to debate inside U.S. assessments.

The curfew forcing everybody in Kyiv inside was set to final via Monday morning. The relative quiet of the capital was sporadically damaged by gunfire.

Preventing on the town’s outskirts advised that small Russian models had been making an attempt to clear a path for the principle forces. Small teams of Russian troops had been reported inside Kyiv, however Britain and the U.S. mentioned the majority of the forces had been 19 miles (30 kilometers) from the town’s heart as of Saturday afternoon.

Russia claims its assault on Ukraine from the north, east and south is aimed solely at army targets, however bridges, colleges and residential neighborhoods have been hit.

Ukraine’s well being minister reported Saturday that 198 folks, together with three youngsters, had been killed and greater than 1,000 others wounded throughout Europe’s largest land conflict since World Struggle II. It was unclear whether or not these figures included each army and civilian casualties.

A missile struck a high-rise condo constructing in Kyiv’s southwestern outskirts close to one of many metropolis’s two passenger airports, leaving a jagged gap of ravaged residences over a number of flooring. A rescue employee mentioned six civilians had been injured.

Ukraine’s ambassador to the U.S., Oksana Markarova, mentioned troops in Kyiv had been combating Russian “sabotage teams.” Ukraine says some 200 Russian troopers have been captured and hundreds killed.

Markarova mentioned Ukraine was gathering proof of shelling of residential areas, kindergartens and hospitals to undergo The Hague as attainable crimes in opposition to humanity.

Zelenskyy reiterated his openness to talks with Russia in a video message, saying he welcomed a suggestion from Turkey and Azerbaijan to prepare diplomatic efforts, which up to now have faltered.

The Kremlin confirmed a cellphone name between Putin and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev however gave no trace of restarting talks. A day earlier, Zelenskyy provided to barter a key Russian demand: abandoning ambitions of becoming a member of NATO.

Putin despatched troops into Ukraine after denying for weeks that he supposed to take action, all of the whereas build up a drive of virtually 200,000 troops alongside the international locations’ borders. He claims the West has didn’t take critically Russia’s safety considerations about NATO, the Western army alliance that Ukraine aspires to hitch. However he has additionally expressed scorn about Ukraine’s proper to exist as an impartial state.

The trouble was already coming at nice price to Ukraine, and apparently to Russian forces as nicely.

Ukrainian artillery hearth destroyed a Russian prepare delivering diesel to troops heading towards Kyiv from the east, mentioned Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to the inside minister.

The nation’s Infrastructure Ministry mentioned a Russian missile was shot down early Saturday because it headed for the dam of the sprawling reservoir that serves Kyiv. The federal government additionally mentioned a Russian convoy was destroyed. Video photos confirmed troopers inspecting burned-out autos after Ukraine’s a hundred and first brigade reported destroying a column of two mild autos, two vans and a tank. The declare couldn’t be verified.

Highways into Kyiv from the east had been dotted with checkpoints manned by Ukrainian troops and younger males in civilian garments carrying automated rifles. Low-flying planes patrolled the skies, although it was unclear in the event that they had been Russian or Ukrainian.

Along with Kyiv, the Russian assault appeared to deal with Ukraine’s economically important coastal areas, from close to the Black Sea port of Odesa within the west to past the Azov Sea port of Mariupol within the east.

Ukrainian troopers in Mariupol guarded bridges and blocked folks from the shoreline amid considerations the Russian navy might launch an assault from the ocean.

“I do not care anymore who wins and who does not,” mentioned Ruzanna Zubenko, whose massive household was compelled from their house exterior Mariupol after it was badly broken by shelling. “The one essential factor is for our kids to have the ability to develop up smiling and never crying.”

Preventing additionally raged in two jap territories managed by pro-Russia separatists. Authorities in Donetsk mentioned sizzling water provides to the town of about 900,000 had been suspended due to injury to the system by Ukrainian shelling.

The U.S. authorities urged Zelenskyy early Saturday to evacuate Kyiv however he turned down the provide, in accordance with a senior American intelligence official with direct data of the dialog. Zelenskyy issued a defiant video recorded on a downtown road, saying he remained within the metropolis.

“We aren’t going to put down weapons. We’ll shield the nation,” he mentioned. “Our weapon is our fact, and our fact is that it is our land, our nation, our kids. And we’ll defend all of that.”

Hungary and Poland each opened their borders to Ukrainians.

Refugees arriving within the Hungarian border city of Zahony mentioned males between the ages of 18 and 60 weren’t being allowed to depart Ukraine.

“My son was not allowed to return. My coronary heart is so sore, I am shaking,” mentioned Vilma Sugar, 68.

At Poland’s Medyka crossing, some mentioned they’d walked for 15 miles (35 kilometers) to achieve the border.

“They did not have meals, no tea, they had been standing in the course of a discipline, on the highway, children had been freezing,” Iryna Wiklenko mentioned as she waited on the Polish facet for her grandchildren and daughter-in-law to make it throughout.

Officers in Kyiv urged residents to keep away from home windows to keep away from particles or bullets.

Cabinets had been sparsely stocked at grocery shops and pharmacies, and other people nervous how lengthy meals and medication provides would possibly final.

The U.S. and its allies have beefed up forces on NATO’s jap flank however up to now have dominated out deploying troops to battle Russia. As an alternative, the U.S., the European Union and different international locations have slapped wide-ranging sanctions on Russia, freezing the property of companies and people together with Putin and his overseas minister.

Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy head of Russia’s Safety Council, warned that Moscow might react by opting out of the final remaining nuclear arms pact, freezing Western property and chopping diplomatic ties.

“There is no such thing as a specific want in sustaining diplomatic relations,” Medvedev mentioned. “We could take a look at one another in binoculars and gunsights.”

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