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


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

Estimated learn time: 5-6 minutes

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

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

However even because the combating 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 town middle, might be heard, a Reuters witness in Kyiv stated. The Ukrainian navy stated Russian troops attacked a military base on a primary avenue however the assault was repelled.

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

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

The air power command reported heavy combating close to an air base at Vasylkiv southwest of the capital, which it stated was below assault from Russian paratroopers.

It additionally stated one in every of its fighters had shot down a Russian transport airplane. Reuters couldn’t independently confirm the claims.

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


Tonight, they’ll 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 1000’s who’ve left their houses to seek out security, in response to 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 Conflict order.

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

Putin has cited the necessity to “denazify” Ukraine’s management as one in every of his primary causes for invasion, accusing it of genocide in opposition to Russian-speakers in japanese 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 affix 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 aimed 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 know-how exports. However they’ve stopped in need of forcing it out of the SWIFT system for worldwide financial institution funds.

The US imposed sanctions on Putin, International Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of Basic Workers Valery Gerasimov. The European Union and Britain earlier froze any property 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 decreasing Russia’s ranking to “junk” standing, Moody’s placing it on evaluation for a downgrade to junk, and S&P and Fitch swiftly slicing Ukraine on default worries.

Nevertheless, 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. (Photograph: Viacheslav Ratynskyi, Reuters)

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

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

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

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

The Kremlin stated earlier it supplied to fulfill 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 response to Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov, resulted in a “pause” in contacts.

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

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

Isolation

On the United Nations, Russia vetoed a draft Safety Council decision that will 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 taking place on the bottom throughout Ukraine — the most important 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. (Photograph: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service by way of Reuters)

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

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

There have been even have studies of combating close to an air base southwest of Kyiv.

Ukraine stated greater than 1,000 Russian troopers had been killed. Russia didn’t launch casualty figures. Zelenskyy stated 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 stated, 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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