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Volodymyr Zelensky warns of assassination plot as Russian forces goal Kyiv


Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that “enemy saboteur teams” have entered Kyiv and Russia is planning to assassinate him as Vladimir Putin’s invading forces intensified their assault on Ukraine’s capital and different cities on Friday.

Kyiv residents woke to loud explosions shortly after 4am on the second day of conflict after Russia launched one in every of Europe’s largest army offensives for the reason that second world conflict.

Air raid sirens sounded within the capital and the town authorities warned individuals to hunt cowl in shelters or subway stations because the army mentioned it had intercepted two Russian projectiles fired on the metropolis.

With Russian troops “shifting at velocity” in the direction of central Kyiv adopted by a column of army vehicles, in accordance with the Ukrainian army, Zelensky mentioned in an early-morning video handle that Moscow already had brokers on the bottom within the capital.

“In accordance with our info, the enemy has recognized me because the number-one goal,” Zelensky mentioned, sporting a military-style inexperienced T-shirt and sweater. “My household is the number-two goal. They need to destroy Ukraine politically by destroying the top of state.”

The Ukrainian president added that he was staying within the authorities quarter “with everybody who is required for the work of the central authorities”.

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky delivering a speech to the nation at the end of the first day of Russia’s attacks
‘In accordance with our info, the enemy has recognized me because the number-one goal,’ Volodymyr Zelensky mentioned on Friday morning in a video handle © Ukrainian President’s Workplace/dpa

Russian tanks and armoured automobiles started rolling into Ukraine on three fronts on Thursday — from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula — with the incursions suggesting Moscow needed to encircle Ukraine’s military within the east whereas concurrently approaching Kyiv.

One senior US defence official mentioned the marketing campaign’s final intention was “decapitating the federal government” within the capital.

The Hostomel airport, a strategic facility about 10km north-west of Kyiv, was the positioning of a fierce in a single day battle between Ukrainian forces and Russian paratroopers and assault helicopters. Ukraine’s ministry of defence launched video footage displaying intense volleys of gunfire, a number of fires and smoke rising from the realm.

The defence ministry mentioned that as of 3am on Friday, its forces had taken down seven Russian plane, six helicopters and greater than 30 tanks for the reason that starting of the invasion, and had killed roughly 800 “enemy” personnel.

Zelensky mentioned that 137 of his countrymen had died. He described them as “Ukrainian heroes”. Ukraine’s claims couldn’t be verified and Russia offered no figures on injury to its army belongings or on casualties it had suffered or inflicted.

Shocked world leaders have condemned what they solid as essentially the most momentous problem to the postwar order in Europe for 80 years. “[Putin] has a lot bigger ambitions than Ukraine,” mentioned Joe Biden, US president, on Thursday. “He needs to, in actual fact, re-establish the previous Soviet Union. That’s what that is about.”

Biden mentioned the US and its allies would impose sanctions in response to Russia’s aggression. “Putin selected this conflict and now he and his nation will bear the implications.”

Zelensky known as on “everybody with battle expertise” to take up arms and resist forces that had invaded “simply as fascist Germany did”. He additionally ordered a full mobilisation of the army.

Putin and Emmanuel Macron, France’s president, mentioned the invasion in a phone name on Thursday, the Kremlin mentioned, the Russian president’s first dialog with a western chief since he recognised separatist states in jap Ukraine and launched a full assault on the nation.

Map showing how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may play out   Initial cruise missile strikes on military sites, airfields and troop depots in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Dnipro. Alongside artillery shelling along line of control in eastern Ukraine  Ground advance (troops and tanks) south from Belarus to encircle Kyiv  Advance north from Crimea and east through Donbas in a bid to encircle bulk of Ukrainian forces in the east and cut them off from Kyiv  Advance from Crimea along Black Sea coast to Odesa. Central column moves west to Dnipro river, ultimate target Kyiv  Ukraine attempts strategic retreat west from current line of control evading Russian pincer movement. At some point, Ukrainian troops will need to hold the line, but unclear when that may be

The leaders had a “critical and frank change of views concerning the Ukraine state of affairs”, the Kremlin mentioned in a readout. A French official mentioned Macron known as Putin simply earlier than an EU summit in Brussels to demand “the instant halt of Russian army operations”.

Zelensky thanked western leaders for his or her help however questioned their willingness to go additional. “Who is able to battle with us? Actually, I don’t see anybody . . . I’m asking them, are you with us?”

On Thursday, Brent crude costs rose to greater than $105 a barrel, the primary time the worldwide oil benchmark has crossed the $100 threshold since 2014. The worth dropped again after the Biden administration introduced a raft of sanctions that targeted on Russia’s monetary sector moderately than its power trade.

However in Asia on Friday morning, oil costs climbed again above $100, with Brent crude up 2.6 per cent to $101.66 a barrel.

Nato will maintain an emergency summit of its members’ 30 leaders on Friday to debate the invasion.

Ukrainian officers described an early encounter at a Black Sea outpost referred to as Serpent Island, or zmiinyi in Russian, that they mentioned was a “image of resistance”.

They performed a recording of a radio dialog between Russian naval vessels and the evenly armed Ukrainian border guards stationed on the island and mentioned the Russian vessels had twice demanded the Ukrainians lay down their weapons and give up or be destroyed.

“The reply was ‘go fuck your self’,” one official mentioned, including that the Russians then obliterated the constructions on the island, killing the 13 guards stationed there.

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