After a series of airstrikes against cities and military bases across the country, Russian forces were approaching Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital on Saturday. Residents were ready for another night of street fighting after officials in the city warned about possible street fighting.
These are some facts to know about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the security situation in Eastern Europe.
WHAT IS GOING ON IN UKRAINE’S CAPITAL?
Russian troops attacked Kyiv, sparking skirmishes on its outskirts Saturday. The leader of Ukraine vowed to fight an invasion that has terrorized men, women, and children looking for safety underground and inside.
Officials from Ukraine reported that they were able to repel Russian attacks, although fighting continued near the capital. Reports of skirmishes at the city’s edge suggested that small Russian units were seeking to block the main forces.
Britain and the United States claimed that the majority of Russian forces were located 19 miles (30 km) away from the center.
Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged Ukrainians to “stand firm” in the face of growing evidence that Russia is trying to overthrow him, his government and his family.
Vitali Klitschko, Kyiv Mayor, extended the curfew of the city from 5 p.m. on Saturday to 8 a.m. on Monday in order to keep people indoors Sunday. He stated that “all civilians found on the streets during the curfew would be considered members the enemy’s reconnaissance and sabotage groups.”
ALLIES STEP UP FOR AID UKRAINE
Russia was under increased pressure from international allies who pledged more aid to Ukraine in the days ahead.
Germany made a major shift Saturday night by announcing it would ship 1,000 anti-tank weaponry and 500 “Stinger,” surface-to-air weapons to Ukraine. This is in addition to the 400 German anti-tank guns that Germany approved to be shipped to Ukraine from the Netherlands.
According to the Biden administration, it would send Ukraine $350 million worth of arms and other supplies from U.S. stockspiles. Additional $250 million worth of defense support was also possible. A plan to send more arms and support to Ukraine was also approved by the Czech Republic.
German officials announced Saturday that Russia is closing its airspace to Russian planes. Czech Republic, Slovenia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, also decided to close their airspace for Russian airlines.
WHERE IS UKRAINE’S PRESIDENT?
Zelenskyy (the president of Ukraine) has been posting videos messages of himself and other leaders in Kyiv ever since the invasion began on Thursday. However, his exact location was not publicized.
According to an American intelligence official, Zelenskyy refused to leave Kyiv on Saturday morning. According to the official, the president said that “the fight was here” and that he needed antitank ammunition but not “not a ride”.
Zelenskyy stated Saturday that Russian attempts at entering Kyiv were defeated and Moscow’s plan for a quick takeover of the capital and to install a puppet government was foiled.
“The real fighting is continuing for Kyiv,” Zelenskyy stated, accusing Russia of attacking infrastructure and civilian targets in a video message. “We will win.”
Zelenskyy posted regular updates to his Twitter account. He spoke Saturday with world leaders, including the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdan and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He also expressed gratitude to Olaf Scholz, German Chancellor, for Germany’s decision not to send weapons to Ukraine.
An influential Swiss newspaper reported that Zelenskyy asked his Swiss counterpart to act as a neutral mediator, helping to reach a ceasefire.
Daily Tages Angeizer reported that the request by Ignazio Cassis, Swiss President, was made in the context the Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva on Monday. On Tuesday, Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister is due to attend. The Swiss Foreign Ministry Cassis also heads did not confirm the report immediately.
RUSSIAN TROOPS MARCH ON in UKRAINE
According to a senior U.S. defense official, more than half of the Russian combat power that is located along Ukraine’s border has been estimated to have entered Ukraine. This is an increase from Friday’s U.S. estimate that only one-third of Russia’s force was committed to fighting.
An official spoke under anonymity to discuss internal U.S. assessments. However, the U.S. had previously estimated that the total Russian force near Ukraine was more than 150,000.
Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, spokesperson for the Russian Defense Ministry, claimed that Russia had attacked 821 Ukrainian military installations and 87 tanks since the attack began.
Konashenkov claimed that the Russian military now controls the entire southern city of Melitopol. This is 35 km (22 miles) inland of the Azov Sea coast. He also stated that Russia-backed separatists had made significant gains within the eastern region.
UKRAINIAN CIVILIANS IN HARMS WAY
Russia claims that its attack on Ukraine is only directed at military targets. However, bridges, schools, and residential areas have been damaged and civilians have been injured and killed in Europe’s largest ground conflict since World War II.
Viktor Lyashko, the Ukrainian Health Minister, stated Saturday that more than 1,000 people had been injured and 198 have been killed in the Russian offensive. It wasn’t clear if the number included civilians and military personnel.
He claimed that 1,115 others, including 33 children were also injured in the Russian invasion.
SOME UKRAINIANS FEAR SAFETY
U.N. officials stated that at most 150,000 people fled Ukraine to Poland, Romania and Hungary. The number was increasing rapidly as Ukrainians tried to flee the Russian invasion. Many fled walking for miles throughout the night, while others fled by bus, train, or car, creating lines at border crossings that stretched miles.
Long lines of vehicles, mostly carrying elderly people, children, and women, clog the border crossings on Saturday. Others arrived by bus or train. The Ukrainians were received by authorities in neighboring countries who provided shelter, food, legal assistance, and lifted COVID-19 restrictions.
“Shabia Mantoo spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commission for Refugees. She said that the situation was “very fluid” and “changing by the hour.”
According to the agency, up to 4,000,000 Ukrainians could flee if their situation gets worse.
PROTESTERS CRITICIZE RUSSIA OVER THE GLOBE.
The protestors have taken to the streets from Taipei to London to Taipei to support Ukraine. Although small-scale street protests were resumed in Moscow, Russia’s capital, which is also the second-largest Russian city after St. Petersburg, and in other cities on Saturday as as more Russians voiced their opposition to the invasion, even though the government’s rhetoric became more harsher.
A crowd of hundreds of Ukrainians in Japan rallied Saturday outside Tokyo’s main train stations, singing “Stop war!” while waving Ukrainian flags.
Protesters in Taiwan chanted “Stand with Ukraine” as well as “Glory To Ukraine” outside of the Russian representative office.
Protesters chanted slogans outside the Russian Embassy in Athens, and displayed posters that included messages such as “Russia go home,” “Putin burns in hell,” and “We need your help, planet!” !”
Protests were also held at Milan, Rome and Belgrade, New York City, London, Paris, and Belgrade.
RUSSIA: TURNING THE SANCTIONS SCREWS
The top diplomat of the European Union said that he called an urgent meeting with all bloc’s foreign ministers to discuss further measures against Russia, as it wage its military campaign in Ukraine.
While the West has ruled out a military option for Ukraine, world leaders, with the exceptions of China and Moscow, are planning measures to harm the Russian economy, its leaders, and even the Russian President Vladimir Putin.
All three countries, Canada, the United States and European allies, announced that they will be adding direct sanctions against Putin and Sergey Lavrov, his foreign minister. EU ministers stated that further sanctions are still possible. This includes the expulsion of Russia from SWIFT, which is the dominant system for global financial transactions.
Russia warned Saturday that it could respond by pulling out of the last nuclear arms pact that remains and cutting diplomatic ties.
Dmitry Medvedev (Deputy Head of Russia’s Security Council) suggested that sanctions could be used by Moscow to justify a review of its relations with the West. He suggested that Russia could even cut off all ties. Dmitry Medvedev suggested that Russia could withdraw from the New START nuclear weapons control treaty, which limits U.S. nuclear arsenals.
He said, “We may glance at each other through binoculars or gunsights.”
SPORTING WORLD RETURNS TO RUSSIA
Roman Abramovich, Chelsea’s owner, suddenly gave the “stewardship” and care of the Premier League club to its trustees on Saturday. This was after a member in Britain asked for the Russian billionaire’s handing over of the club following Russia’s invasion.
Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea since 2003, did not mention war in his statement.
The Polish soccer president stated Saturday that Poland is refusing the World Cup qualifier against Russia next week. Sweden declared that it would not play against Russians.
Additionally, Russia was disqualified from hosting the May 28 Champions League final. UEFA w ith St. Petersburg being replaced by Paris. Formula One also dropped this season’s Russian Grand Prix at Sochi in September.
International Ski Federation has announced that Russia will no longer host its World Cup events in winter. The European curling championships will move to Perm, Russia.
All events in Russia were also cancelled by the International Tennis Federation.
Some bars and liquor shops are removing Russian vodka from their shelves and promoting Ukrainian brands instead.
After Russia’s invasion in Ukraine, Delta Air Lines has suspended its codesharing partnershipwith Russian national airline Aeroflot. Atlanta-based Delta announced Friday that it had stopped the codesharing system, allowing customers of both Aeroflot and Delta to book flights on both airline.