Ukraine’s president says more than 130 people have been killed and that the country had been ‘left alone to defend our state’ as invasion enters day two Ukrainian servicemen are seen next to a destroyed armoured vehicle, which they said belongs to the Russian army, outside Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Thursday. Photograph: Maksim Levin/Reuters
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said 137 people inside Ukraine had died and 316 had been wounded as a result of Russia’s invasion and military attacks. In a video address late on Thursday, the Ukrainian leader said he was disheartened after speaking to the leaders of Nato member states after the invasion began. “We have been left alone to defend our state. Who is ready to fight alongside us? I don’t see anyone,” he said.
Russian troops have entered the country from the north, east and south, seemingly targeting the capital, Kyiv, as well as the cities of Kharkiv and Kherson respectively, in the hours since explosions were first heard at dawn on Thursday. Russian troops have seized the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the north and there were credible reports they were holding staff there hostage, the White House said. Meanwhile, a fierce battle for the strategic airbase close to Kyiv appeared to be continuing late on Thursday. Additionally, every single soldier defending Zmiinyi Island, or Snake Island, in the Black Sea had died, Zelenskiy said.
Ukraine fights for its survival as Putin presses forward Read more Ukraine has decreed a full military mobilisation against the Russian invasion. For the next 90 days, the Ukrainian military will determine how many people are eligible for national service. Ukrainian men aged 18-60 are now forbidden from leaving Ukraine, the State Border Guard service announced. Earlier, Zelenskiy declared martial law and vowed to issue weapons to every citizen willing to defend their country.
Zelenskiy says he will remain in Kyiv, despite claims Russia had marked him as “target #1”. “We are not afraid. We are not afraid of anything,” he said. US secretary of state Antony Blinken said “all evidence suggests that Russia intends to encircle and threaten” the Ukrainian capital.
Thousands attempted to flee Kyiv, leading to large traffic queues. Meanwhile, pictures have emerged of Kyiv residents crowding into underground metro stations where they are taking shelter from further Russian attacks.
Anti-war protests have attracted thousands of Russians in cities across the country, with local authorities swiftly cracking down on the unsanctioned rallies. Police had made at least 1,702 arrests in 53 Russian cities as of Thursday evening, according to the OVD-Info monitor, with most of the arrests made in Moscow and St Petersburg, where the crowds were largest.
Global leaders have decried Russia’s actions, with many announcing fresh sanctions. US president Joe Biden ordered broad new sanctions targeting four Russian banks, oligarchs and high-tech sectors. The US president also said 7,000 additional troops would be deployed to Germany. The UK’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, announced its “largest ever” set of economic sanctions on Russia, including pushing to end Russia’s use of the Swift international payment systems, freezing assets of all major Russian banks, limiting cash held by Russian nationals in UK banks and sanctioning more than 100 individuals and entities.
However Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, has voiced his anger as EU heads of state and government appeared to hold back from imposing the potentially most damaging sanction on Russia. With casualties mounting, Kuleba warned that European and US politicians would have “blood on their hands” if they decided against blocking Russia from an international payments system through which it receives foreign currency.
Source: The Guardian