Ukraine’s Zelenskyy: A wartime statesman for the social media age | Russia-Ukraine war


Since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Ukraine’s comedian-turned-president Volodymyr Zelenskyy is quick rising – even amongst a few of his harshest critics – as a logo of resistance and unity.

Usually wearing an off-the-cuff inexperienced navy T-shirt, the 44-year-old has addressed the nation in a collection of self-shot movies recorded on his telephone and printed on social media.

In a single such video shot outdoors within the capital, Kyiv, final Friday, he’s surrounded by his key aides and says defiantly: “We’re all right here. Our navy is right here. Residents in society are right here. We’re all right here defending our independence, our nation, and it’ll keep this fashion.”

The video rapidly went viral and was seen as an act of bravery by Ukrainians.

“I don’t suppose our earlier presidents would have stayed in Ukraine; they in all probability would have escaped,” says Elizabeth Tishchenko, a resident of Ukraine’s second-biggest metropolis, Kharkiv.

Zelenskyy’s personable and impassioned speeches urging Ukrainians to take up arms and his refusal to go away Ukraine regardless of warnings from america that he’s the Kremlin’s high goal have received him many plaudits each at dwelling and overseas.

“He’s the literal man on the road,” says David Patrikarakos, a British journalist and creator of Warfare in 140 Characters: How Social Media Is Reshaping Battle within the Twenty-First Century. “He’s saying, ‘I’m your president, I’m not hiding, I’m not going wherever. I’m not behind the desk or carrying a swimsuit. I’m right here with the danger of being killed, like everyone else.’”

His strategy stands in stark distinction to the grand official settings most well-liked by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Guests to the Kremlin are pressured to take a seat on the finish of a specifically designed six-metre-long desk when assembly Putin, leading to a collection of awkward photo-ops. In latest weeks, the Russian president, who normally comes throughout as calm and calculated, has lower a seemingly paranoid determine vulnerable to lengthy, rambling pre-recorded speeches.

“Once you see Zelenskyy operating round on the street, you possibly can’t assist however examine him to Vladimir Putin who seems like a supervillain in his bunker, remoted, sitting at his lengthy desk,” says Patrikarakos.

In this photo dated Feb. 6, 2019, Ukrainian comedian, Volodymyr Zelenskiy seen during the shooting of a popular TV series, where he plays the president during the filming in Kiev,
Volodymyr Zelenskyy was a comic who performed a president in a preferred tv collection earlier than he really grew to become one [Efrem Lukatsky/AP Photo]

‘I want ammunition, not a trip’

Simply three years in the past, Zelenskyy was a widely known comedian actor, finest identified for enjoying a schoolteacher who wakes as much as discover he has been elected head of state after a video of him ranting in opposition to corruption secretly recorded by his pupils goes viral. However in 2019, he ran for the presidency, utilizing a lot of the identical anti-corruption rhetoric as his on-screen character, and stormed to a landslide victory over the incumbent president and oligarch Petro Poroshenko with 73 p.c of the vote.

“I believe folks voted for him as a result of they bought sick of all these oligarchs being in energy. They thought, ‘Let’s have a boxer in Kyiv and a comic as president,’” says Tishchenko, referring to the previous heavyweight boxer, Vitali Klitschko, who’s presently the mayor of Kyiv.

After Zelenskyy got here to energy, the truth of politics set in, and the everyman picture started to put on off as he handled an vitality disaster after which a world pandemic. His recognition waned, hitting 31 p.c in December 2021. Latest polling over the weekend, nonetheless, means that Zelenskyy’s wartime management has earned him an approval score of 91 p.c, thrice what it was earlier than the invasion.

“Nobody thought Zelenskyy may have performed this, however he has morphed from comic and unintended president to wartime statesman. Nobody noticed this coming,” says Patrikarakos.

Igor Novikov, a former adviser to the president between 2019-2020 who oversaw US-Ukrainian relations, informed Al Jazeera that the truth that Zelenskyy’s background shouldn’t be in politics is a key consider his early success as a wartime chief. “President Zelenskyy is simply an strange man from an industrial metropolis in Ukraine; he’s not a seasoned politician. And that’s Ukraine’s blessing: the place others run overseas or cover behind paperwork, he simply does what must be performed.”

Hampus Knutsson, a disaster communication specialist at Wings Public Relations who has labored on political campaigns in Sweden, factors out what Zelenskyy has performed effectively thus far. “Zelenskyy is open, clear and communicates often,” Knutsson says. “He’s on the bottom.”

On February 26, the Ukrainian embassy in the UK introduced on Twitter that Zelenskyy had turned down a suggestion by the US to evacuate Kyiv. “The combat is right here; I want ammunition, not a trip,” they quoted him as saying, earlier than including, “Ukrainians are happy with their President.”

“In a way, in his honest and no-nonsense strategy, he’s the true, undistorted picture of [many of] the Ukrainian folks [fighting] now,” says Novikov, including that “his power, braveness and willpower are what unites everybody.”

Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Ukrainian actor and candidate and his wife Olena Zelenska, react after debates between two candidates in the weekend presidential run-off at the Olympic stadium in Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, April 19, 2019.
Zelenskyy and his spouse Olena Zelenska on the final day of campaigning in April 2019 earlier than Zelenskyy secured a landslide victory to turn into president with 73 p.c of the vote [Vadim Ghirda/AP Photo]

Internal circle

It’s a picture that has been influenced and honed by these in Zelenskyy’s inside circle, based on Novikov.

“He’s surrounded not by politicians however by strange human beings. A few of them come from his manufacturing firm, some come from present enterprise, some come from the authorized occupation, however most of them have by no means had any earlier expertise in politics, and that offers them that willpower and braveness to really deal with the outdated system,” says Novikov, who himself comes from an educational and non-political background.

He describes the ambiance in Zelenskyy’s inside circle throughout peacetime as pleasant and, maybe unsurprisingly, stuffed with jokes. It’s also unusually casual, with Zelenskyy insisting that these he meets consult with him with the casual phrase for “you”, Ty (Ты), versus the formal Vy (Вы).

Based on Novikov, what the world is seeing now’s a wartime chief now not restrained by the extra scripted high-stakes diplomacy that preceded the invasion. “He will get emotional, particularly within the run-up to the invasion, when he knew every part was about to occur,” Novikov says.

“He was really actually aggressive together with his Twitter and his inside circle needed to tone him down and they’d discover a lighter extra political means of placing it, however now, clearly all bets are off.”

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy holds a bullet as he addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy held a bullet when he addressed the 74th session of the United Nations Basic Meeting on September 25, 2019. He spoke in regards to the battle in japanese Ukraine that had been ongoing since 2014 and mentioned that in a globalised world, ‘There isn’t a such factor as another person’s battle’ [Richard Drew/AP Photo]

‘A brand new type of statesmanship’: Grit and authenticity

Novikov says that Zelenskyy has at all times taken a hands-on strategy to social media and is at all times checking his feeds. “He prefers selfie-style movies and chooses to immediately handle his viewers as a lot as doable as a result of it’s him: he’s a human being, not a portrait,” he says.

For Tishchenko, who’s in her early 20s, this communication type is a key consider his present recognition. “His private qualities are actually exhibiting now, his speeches are each critical however digestible; youthful folks actually like this,” she says.

“It’s at all times extra vital what you do than what you say. Zelenskyy does what he says,” says Knutsson, who believes his seen and open presence on-line can be about setting an instance. “He reveals each motion and heroism – the precise form of behaviour he needs from each his inhabitants and from the surface world. It will increase the probabilities of getting simply that.”

Patrikarakos describes Zelenskyy’s social media technique over the previous week as “a brand new idiom of diplomacy” and “a brand new type of statesmanship” the place, on this present social media age, it will be important for politicians to indicate a human facet. “It’s all about being gritty, it’s all about being genuine,” he says. “We’re coping with a unique public sphere [in 2022] with quick consideration spans.”

He says that Zelenskyy’s expertise in tv meant that he rapidly understood that social media may very well be a robust weapon in a battle the place Ukraine is each outnumbered and outgunned. Zelenskyy movies himself on the road and “solely has the rostrum for 30 seconds, however he stays informal and direct; these movies are designed to go viral”, Patrikarakos explains.

You will need to not underestimate the ability of social media, he provides. “Don’t ever overlook that these things adjustments coverage and coverage can get you stingers [air-defence systems] and javelins [anti-tank weapons systems].”

“In the long run is it going to show the tide of battle?” Patrikarakos asks. “In all probability not; in actual fact nearly actually not. However it’s made a distinction. The response has been unprecedented.”

Mykhail Hontarenko, 17, from Odesa, believes that though Zelenskyy’s profession in leisure helps him ship his strains on digicam, he has been displaying real emotion. “I don’t suppose he’s performing now; he’s scared,” he says.

Even those that weren’t beforehand followers of the president are coming round. Artem Skorobagach is a 20-year-old scholar from Kharkiv who’s now serving within the reserve defence forces. He says that previously week he has seen a unique facet to Zelenskyy and that his shows of bravery and resolve have modified his opinion of him.

“Firstly, he [Zelenskyy] seemed like a populist to me. He promised a whole lot of issues [that didn’t depend on him]. For instance, he mentioned the continued battle with Russia might be stopped, we, the Ukrainian military, simply should cease capturing. What nonsense. That was one-sided capturing from Russians from the beginning,” he says.

However Skorobagach believes that the battle and lack of human life have introduced out a extra human and patriotic facet to the president, which is coming throughout in his televised addresses and on social media. This has made him rather more relatable to Ukrainians dealing with the bitter realities of a full-scale invasion, he believes.

For the reason that invasion started one week in the past, at the least a million Ukrainians in a rustic of 44 million have already fled to neighbouring international locations together with Poland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Moldova. Ukraine’s well being ministry mentioned on Sunday that 352 civilians – together with 14 youngsters – have been killed for the reason that invasion started, however it’s troublesome to know the precise loss of life toll. It’s not clear what number of Ukrainian and Russian troopers have died thus far.

“When Russia moved their forces to our border, Zelenskyy and the federal government did every part proper, with out panic. Even now, once they attacked, he’s in Kyiv and appears assured, as a result of he believes in our military and other people,” Skorobagach says. “He conjures up that entire nation, and we consider that he is not going to bend beneath the strain and won’t give up the pursuits of our nation.”

Artem Skorobagach, 20, in his home in Kharkiv on February 27 is now serving in the reserve defence. He was not a fan of Zelenskyy but says since the invasion, he has seen a more human and patriotic side to the leader through his televised addresses and on social media [Courtesy of Artem Skorobagach]
Artem Skorobagach, 20, in his dwelling in Kharkiv on February 27, is now serving within the reserve defence. Beforehand, he was not a fan of Zelenskyy, however he says that for the reason that invasion, he has seen a extra human and patriotic facet to the chief via his televised addresses and on social media [Courtesy of Artem Skorobagach]

Assist from inside

Throughout Ukraine, there are shows of dogged resistance from the territorial forces and numerous civilian campaigns and initiatives designed to help the battle effort. There are queues for blood banks throughout the nation in addition to worldwide help within the type of donations, garments and different necessities pouring in from overseas. Tishchenko feels Zelenskyy is basically answerable for galvanising worldwide efforts. “Many individuals consider in him; thus far he has negotiated with many world leaders, he has secured weapons, meals and gear,” she says.

Even earlier critics of Zelenskyy seem like supportive of the chief. Olga Rudenko, the chief editor of the Kyiv Impartial information web site, tweeted on Friday that “President Volodymyr Zelensky has made many actually dangerous errors, and I’m certain will make many extra, however immediately he’s exhibiting himself worthy of the nation he’s main.”

However it hasn’t all been optimistic. For the reason that invasion, Zelenskyy has signed a decree prohibiting males between the ages of 18 and 60 from leaving the nation in case they’re conscripted. The implementation of this rule has drawn criticism from many households who’ve been forcibly separated from their males on the border as they tried to flee the nation. Olga Balaban, 26, who was separated from her 18-year-old brother on the Polish border, informed Al Jazeera that she discovered the sweeping decree unfair. “I don’t suppose it’s humane to name up all males to combat,” she mentioned. “Perhaps some are sick or have psychological well being points.”

Artem U is a 17-year-old scholar from Kyiv who fled together with his mom and siblings to Poland. He says his household was initially sceptical of Zelenskyy’s governance. “Earlier than the battle, many individuals didn’t like him, however now they’ve modified their thoughts,” he explains.

Based on Artem, his household didn’t approve of the truth that Zelenskyy was a comic. They might have most well-liked an skilled politician or somebody with a enterprise background, however they now worth his management. “He’s a hero for us, we’ll vote for him within the subsequent election,” he says.

Novikov believes the help of Zelenskyy’s household, associates and colleagues has been a vital consider his capacity to carry out beneath such strain in latest days. “Plenty of his power comes from the staff,” he says, highlighting, specifically, Andriy Yermak, a movie producer and lawyer and now Zelenskyy’s chief of workers.

The previous adviser acknowledges that he and others had been initially essential of Yermak, believing he was overprotective of the president, however says, “We had been mistaken, and it reveals now.”

“He’s the partitions and the inspiration that preserve Zelenskyy’s sincerity and braveness going,” Novikov provides.

However there’s a lengthy highway forward for Zelenskyy. Eight days into the invasion, Moscow claims that the Black Sea metropolis of Kherson has fallen, whereas troops shut in on main cities comparable to Mariupol and Kharkiv, the place residents have come beneath heavy bombardment. A 64km-long armoured column is located simply outdoors Kyiv, however the Russian advance has been slowed by mechanical points and decided Ukrainian resistance.

For the president to maintain up his high-energy social media presence and high-level diplomatic relations in opposition to the backdrop of such a large-scale navy invasion and threats to his personal life shall be a monumental job. However, for now, Ukrainians seem united behind their chief.



‘Prove you are with us’, Ukraine’s Zelenskyy tells EU | Russia-Ukraine crisis News


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged the European Union to show that it sides with Ukraine in its struggle with Russia a day after signing an official request to affix the bloc.

“We’re preventing to be equal members of Europe,” Zelenskyy instructed an emergency session of the European Parliament on Tuesday by way of video hyperlink.

“Do show that you’re with us. Do show that you’ll not allow us to go. Do show that you’re certainly Europeans after which life will win over dying and light-weight will win over darkness,” he stated in Ukrainian in a speech translated to English by an interpreter speaking by tears, as emotion gripped the parliament.

Zelenskyy has remained in Kyiv to rally his folks towards the invasion. As he spoke on Tuesday, a Russian armoured column was bearing down on Ukraine’s capital.

EU lawmakers, many carrying #standwithUkraine T-shirts bearing the Ukrainian flag, others with blue-and-yellow scarves or ribbons, gave Zelenskyy a standing ovation.

“The EU can be a lot stronger with us. With out you, Ukraine can be lonesome,” Zelenskyy stated, with Kyiv possible effectively conscious that Ukraine’s membership bid can be lengthy and tough.

Members of European Parliament applaud after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's speechMembers of the European Parliament gave Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy a standing ovation following his speech at a particular session in Brussels, Belgium [Yves Herman/Reuters]

EU legislators are anticipated to name Russia a “rogue state” and urge the 27-nation bloc to agree even harder sanctions, in line with a draft textual content they may vote on in a while Tuesday, Reuters reported.

The EU has taken unprecedented steps, together with financing weapons deliveries to Ukraine, after Russia’s President Vladimir Putin launched a struggle on its neighbour final week.

In line with the draft decision and amendments backed by the meeting’s fundamental events, legislators will name for the scope of sanctions to be broadened and to be “aimed toward strategically weakening the Russian economic system and industrial base, particularly, the military-industrial complicated”.

The European Parliament can even urge EU leaders to be harder on oligarchs and officers near the Russian management, prohibit oil and fuel imports from Russia, ban Russia and its ally Belarus totally from the SWIFT financial institution messaging system, and to shut all EU ports to Russian ships or ships headed to or from Russia.

“The message from Europe is evident. We’ll get up, we won’t look away when these preventing on the street for our values stand down Putin’s struggle machine,” EU Parliament President Roberta Metsola stated, talking in entrance of the EU and Ukrainian flags.

Russia has known as its actions in Ukraine a “particular operation”.

INTERACTIVE Russia-Ukraine map Who controls what in Ukraine DAY 6

‘Symbolic’ software

On Sunday, Zelenskyy formally signed Ukraine’s request to affix the EU.

In an open letter, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Romania expressed help for Ukraine’s swift candidacy.

Chairman of EU leaders Charles Michel stated on Tuesday EU establishments and governments should severely have a look at Ukraine’s request for EU membership and reply to Kyiv’s “reputable” request.

Michel famous nevertheless that whereas Ukraine’s software was “symbolic”, there was no unity on the difficulty of enlargement within the 27-nation bloc.

“It will be tough, we all know there are totally different views in Europe,” Michel instructed the European parliament.

“The council [of EU governments] should severely have a look at the symbolic, political and legit request that has been made and make the suitable alternative in a decided and clear-headed method,” Michel stated.

To this point, no less than 136 civilians, together with 13 youngsters, have been killed and 400 others, together with 26 youngsters, injured in Ukraine, in line with UN figures.

Greater than 660,000 folks have fled Ukraine to neighbouring international locations, the UN Refugee Company stated on Tuesday.

US rules out Ukraine no-fly zone after Zelenskyy appeal | Russia-Ukraine crisis News


After Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s attraction, US says measure can be step in direction of direct battle with Russia.

The US has dominated out implementing a “no-fly zone”  on Russian plane over Ukraine after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged Western nations to contemplate such a measure to cease any additional bombardment by Russia.

In a video deal with, Zelenskyy stated Russia had launched 56 rocket strikes and fired 113 cruise missiles prior to now 5 days for the reason that begin of the conflict on February 24.

Zelenskyy, who didn’t specify how and by whom a no-fly zone can be enforced, accused Russia of committing conflict crimes and stated it ought to be introduced earlier than a world tribunal.

He additionally stated Russia had continued to bombard Ukrainian cities throughout a primary spherical of talks with Ukrainian officers in Belarus on Monday.

“I imagine that Russia is making an attempt to use stress on this unsubtle means. Don’t waste time. We don’t settle for such techniques. Truthful negotiations can happen when one aspect doesn’t hit the opposite aspect with rocket artillery on the very second of negotiations,” he stated.

INTERACTIVE Russia-Ukraine map Who controls what in Ukraine DAY 6

However Washington, which has promised army assist, rejected the decision to determine a no-fly zone, saying it could be a step in direction of a direct battle between the USA and Russia.

“The president has been very clear that he’s not aspiring to ship US troops to combat a conflict with Russia,” White Home spokesperson Jen Psaki stated on Monday.

“And I believe what’s vital to notice right here is that’s primarily what this could be a step towards, as a result of a no-fly zone would require implementation,” she added.

“It could require deploying US army to implement which might be a direct battle, a doubtlessly direct battle, and doubtlessly conflict with Russia, which is one thing we aren’t planning to be part of.”

Greater than 500,000 individuals have fled Ukraine, based on the United Nations, setting off a refugee disaster with hundreds additionally awaiting passage at seven European border crossings.

At the least 102 civilians in Ukraine have been killed for the reason that invasion began, however the true determine might be a lot greater, the UN stated on Monday.

Refugee movement from Ukraine to neighboring countries(Al Jazeera)

Ukraine, Russia agree to talks ‘without preconditions’: Zelenskyy | News


Ukraine proclaims talks ‘with out preconditions’ as its international minister says his nation will ‘not hand over a single inch of territory’.

Ukraine and Russia have agreed to carry talks at a venue close to the Belarusian border, as Ukrainian international minister Dmytro Kuleba stated his nation will “not hand over a single inch of … territory”.

The talks, the primary since Russia unleashed a full-scale invasion of Ukraine final week, could be held with out preconditions and are the results of a telephone name between President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his Belarusian counterpart, the Ukrainian chief stated.

“We agreed that the Ukrainian delegation would meet with the Russian delegation with out preconditions on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, close to the Pripyat River,” he stated in a press release.

Al Jazeera’s Dorsa Jabbari, reporting from Moscow, stated there was “some confusion” about the place the Ukraine-Russia talks will happen.

“The Ukrainians are saying these talks will likely be held close to the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, however in response to the Russians, they consider, nonetheless, that the talks will happen within the southeastern metropolis of Gomel in Belarus,” she stated.

The Ukrainian international minister in a televised speech on Sunday stated his nation will “not hand over a single inch of … territory” after agreeing to talks with Moscow.

“We go there [to the talks] to hearken to what Russia desires to say, we’re going with none … preliminary settlement on what the end result of those talks might be. We’re going there to pay attention and to say what we consider this conflict and Russia’s actions,” Kuleba stated.

“Between now and the second that the talks are wrapped up, [Belarusian President Alexander] Lukashenko assured President Zelenskyy that no Belarusian navy power will likely be used in opposition to Ukraine,” he added.

“We are able to solely hope that Lukashenko will keep on with his phrase. And between now and the second when these talks are wrapped up, we are going to proceed to fiercely defend our nation, to defeat Russian forces in the event that they attempt to proceed their offensive operations.”

Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons, reporting from Lviv in western Ukraine, stated the reportedly agreed talks have been a constructive signal however removed from a breakthrough.

“The Ukrainians appear to be very cautious of the talks agreed on. They are saying they are going to go alongside to hearken to Russia on what it has to supply,” he stated.

He added that the Ukrainian authorities wouldn’t need to hear something associated to surrendering if Moscow is simply ready to make such a suggestion.

Zelenskyy beforehand rejected Belarus, an ally of Moscow which used Belarus as a staging floor for its multipronged invasion, as a location for potential talks.

Talking in Russian in a video message on Sunday, Zelenskyy listed the cities of Warsaw, Bratislava, Istanbul, Budapest or Baku as doable various venues.

Fierce combating continues

In the meantime, Ukrainian forces battled Russian troops pushing into town of Kharkiv on Sunday, on the fourth day of the invasion that has shaken Europe’s longstanding safety structure and pushed Germany to spice up its defence spending.

The invasion of Ukraine from three sides, ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, is the largest assault on a European state since World Conflict II.

The assault, which Russia calls a particular operation, has thus far did not topple the federal government in Kyiv or take main cities, however has pushed tons of of hundreds of refugees, primarily ladies and youngsters, into neighbouring nations.

Russian troopers and armoured autos entered the northeastern metropolis of Kharkiv and firing and explosions might be heard, witnesses stated. A burning tank was seen in a video posted by the federal government.

Ukraine’s fighters repelled the assault, in response to authorities within the metropolis, the nation’s second-largest with a inhabitants of about 1.4 million.

‘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

Photographs

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