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


Burnt out army automobiles on a avenue in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022. Russian forces are launching recent 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 automobiles on a avenue in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022. Russian forces are launching recent 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 concentrating on airfields and gasoline services 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 meant to additional isolate Moscow.

Large 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 line 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 fuel pipeline in Kharkiv, the nation’s second-largest metropolis, prompting the federal government to warn folks to guard themselves from the smoke by masking their home windows with damp fabric or gauze.

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

Terrified males, ladies and kids 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 nations, and the United Nations warned the quantity may develop to 4 million if combating escalates.

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

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

The U.S., European Union and United Kingdom agreed to dam “chosen” Russian banks from the SWIFT international 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 probably on account of acute logistical difficulties and powerful 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 items 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 town’s outskirts urged that small Russian items 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 town’s middle 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 battle since World Battle II. It was unclear whether or not these figures included each army and civilian casualties.

A missile struck a high-rise residence 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 1000’s killed.

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

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

The Kremlin confirmed a telephone name between Putin and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev however gave no trace of restarting talks. A day earlier, Zelenskyy supplied 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 meant to take action, all of the whereas increase a drive of just about 200,000 troops alongside the nations’ borders. He claims the West has did not take significantly Russia’s safety considerations about NATO, the Western army alliance that Ukraine aspires to affix. However he has additionally expressed scorn about Ukraine’s proper to exist as an unbiased state.

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

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 automobiles after Ukraine’s one hundred and first brigade reported destroying a column of two gentle automobiles, two vehicles 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 concentrate on 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 may launch an assault from the ocean.

“I do not care anymore who wins and who does not,” mentioned Ruzanna Zubenko, whose massive household was pressured from their residence exterior Mariupol after it was badly broken by shelling. “The one vital factor is for our youngsters 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 scorching water provides to town of about 900,000 had been suspended due to harm to the system by Ukrainian shelling.

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

“We aren’t going to put down weapons. We’ll defend the nation,” he mentioned. “Our weapon is our fact, and our fact is that it is our land, our nation, our youngsters. 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 that they had walked for 15 miles (35 kilometers) to succeed in the border.

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

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

Cabinets had been sparsely stocked at grocery shops and pharmacies, and folks fearful how lengthy meals and medication provides may final.

The U.S. and its allies have beefed up forces on NATO’s jap flank however to this point have dominated out deploying troops to battle Russia. As a substitute, the U.S., the European Union and different nations 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 may react by opting out of the final remaining nuclear arms pact, freezing Western property and chopping diplomatic ties.

“There isn’t a explicit want in sustaining diplomatic relations,” Medvedev mentioned. “We could take a look at one another in binoculars and gunsights.”