‘The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride’: Ukraine’s Zelenskyy rejects evacuation offer


Smoke and flames rise over throughout the shelling close to Kyiv, as Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine on Saturday. (Gleb Garanich, Reuters)

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KYIV, Ukraine — Russian and Ukrainian forces clashed within the Ukrainian capital on Saturday as authorities urged residents to assist defend the town from advancing Russian forces within the worst European safety disaster in a long time.

The Related Press reported that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy rejected a proposal to be evacuated from the U.S. authorities. Zelenskyy’s reply, in accordance with a senior American intelligence official: “The battle is right here; I want ammunition, not a trip.”

However even because the preventing grew extra intense, the Russian and Ukrainian governments signaled an openness to negotiations, providing the primary glimmer of hope for diplomacy since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion on Thursday.

Heavy, frequent artillery hearth and intense gunfire, apparently a long way from the town heart, could possibly be heard, a Reuters witness in Kyiv mentioned. The Ukrainian navy mentioned Russian troops attacked a military base on a foremost avenue however the assault was repelled.

Gunfire was heard after daybreak close to authorities buildings within the metropolis heart, a Reuters witness mentioned.

“The destiny of Ukraine is being determined proper now,” Zelenskyy mentioned on Friday in a video tackle posted to his Telegram channel.

The air drive command reported heavy preventing close to an air base at Vasylkiv southwest of the capital, which it mentioned was underneath assault from Russian paratroopers.

It additionally mentioned considered one of its fighters had shot down a Russian transport aircraft. Reuters couldn’t independently confirm the claims.

Kyiv residents had been advised by the protection ministry to make petrol bombs to repel the invaders.


Tonight, they are going to launch an assault. … The destiny of Ukraine is being determined proper now.

–Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy


Some households cowered in shelters afraid of extra Russian missiles. Tons of of hundreds who’ve left their properties to seek out security, in accordance with the United Nations’ help chief.

As daybreak broke, media reported air raid sirens in a number of cities.

After weeks of warnings from Western leaders, Putin unleashed a three-pronged invasion of Ukraine from the north, east and south on Thursday, in an assault that threatened to upend Europe’s post-Chilly Warfare order.

“I as soon as once more attraction to the navy personnel of the armed forces of Ukraine: don’t permit neo-Nazis and (Ukrainian radical nationalists) to make use of your kids, wives and elders as human shields,” Putin mentioned at a televised assembly with Russia’s Safety Council on Friday. “Take energy into your individual fingers.”

Putin has cited the necessity to “denazify” Ukraine’s management as considered one of his foremost causes for invasion, accusing it of genocide towards Russian-speakers in jap Ukraine. Kyiv and its Western allies dismiss the accusations as baseless propaganda.

Ukrainians voted overwhelmingly for independence on the fall of the Soviet Union and Kyiv hopes to hitch NATO and the E.U. — aspirations that infuriate Moscow.

Putin says Ukraine, a democratic nation of 44 million folks, is an illegitimate state carved out of Russia, a view Ukrainians see as geared toward erasing their greater than thousand-year historical past.

‘Prepared to speak’

Western nations have introduced a barrage of sanctions on Russia, together with blacklisting its banks and banning expertise exports. However they’ve stopped in need of forcing it out of the SWIFT system for worldwide financial institution funds.

The USA imposed sanctions on Putin, Overseas Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of Common Employees Valery Gerasimov. The European Union and Britain earlier froze any belongings Putin and Lavrov held of their territory. Canada took comparable steps.

The invasion triggered a flurry of credit standing strikes on Friday, with S&P reducing Russia’s score to “junk” standing, Moody’s placing it on assessment for a downgrade to junk, and S&P and Fitch swiftly chopping Ukraine on default worries.

Nonetheless, the looming financial prices has not deterred Putin.

People gather in an air raid shelter in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Friday.
Individuals collect in an air raid shelter in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Friday. (Picture: Viacheslav Ratynskyi, Reuters)

Moscow mentioned on Friday it had captured the Hostomel airfield northwest of the capital — a doable staging put up for an assault on Kyiv that has been fought over since Russian paratroopers landed there within the first hours of the struggle.

This might not be confirmed and Ukrainian authorities reported heavy preventing there.

However amid the chaos of struggle got here a ray of hope.

A spokesman for Zelenskyy mentioned Ukraine and Russia would seek the advice of in coming hours on a time and place for talks.

The Kremlin mentioned earlier it provided to satisfy within the Belarusian capital Minsk after Ukraine expressed a willingness to debate declaring itself a impartial nation whereas Ukraine had proposed Warsaw because the venue. That, in accordance with Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov, resulted in a “pause” in contacts.

“Ukraine was and stays prepared to speak a few ceasefire and peace,” Zelenskyy’s spokesman, Sergii Nykyforov, mentioned in a Fb put up. “We agreed to the proposal of the President of the Russian Federation.”

However U.S. State Division spokesman Ned Worth mentioned Russia’s provide was an try to conduct diplomacy “on the barrel of a gun” and that Putin’s navy should cease bombing Ukraine if it was critical about negotiations.

Isolation

On the United Nations, Russia vetoed a draft Safety Council decision that may have deplored its invasion, whereas China abstained, which Western nations took as proof of Russia’s isolation. The United Arab Emirates and India additionally abstained whereas the remaining 11 members voted in favor.

An image of what was occurring on the bottom throughout Ukraine — the biggest nation in Europe after Russia — was sluggish to emerge.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks alongside other Ukrainian officials in the governmental district of Kyiv, confirming that he is still in the capital, in Kyiv, Ukraine on Friday in this screengrab obtained from a handout video.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks alongside different Ukrainian officers within the governmental district of Kyiv, confirming that he’s nonetheless within the capital, in Kyiv, Ukraine on Friday on this screengrab obtained from a handout video. (Picture: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service by way of Reuters)

Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter that there had been heavy preventing with deaths on the entrance to the jap cities of Chernihiv and Melitopol, in addition to at Hostomel.

Witnesses mentioned that they had heard explosions and gunfire close to the airport in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second metropolis. Ukraine’s navy mentioned Russian troops had been stopped with heavy losses close to the northeastern metropolis of Konotop.

There have been even have reviews of preventing close to an air base southwest of Kyiv.

Ukraine mentioned greater than 1,000 Russian troopers had been killed. Russia didn’t launch casualty figures. Zelenskyy mentioned late on Thursday that 137 troopers and civilians had been killed with tons of wounded.

The White Home requested Congress for $6.4 billion in safety and humanitarian help for the disaster, officers mentioned, and Biden instructed the U.S. State Division to launch $350 million in navy help.

Contributing: Aleksandar Vasovi, Alan Charlish, Fedja Grulovic, Natalia Zinets

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