A huge explosion that looked like a small nuke hit Kyiv in the early hours of the morning as a series of blasts rocked the Ukrainian capital, while terrified residents were urged to go to their nearest shelters.
The quiet was broken first by the blaring of air raid sirens at around 2am local time in multiple districts across the city, before its buildings were lit up by a huge blast from a bomb fired by Vladimir Putin’s invading forces.
According to local media, Kyiv was not the only city to come under fire. The Kyiv Independent reported that air raid alerts were issued in multiple regions included Kyiv Oblast, Lviv, Zhytomyr, Frankivsk, Chernihiv and Odesa.
Footage from the capital, filmed from windows overlooking the city, showed at least one massive explosion that lit up the night sky, and appeared to cause a shock-wave.
In another video, captured by CBS News reporters moments after signing off a report, two bursts of light could be seen over Kyiv. While the explosions were not filmed directly, the intensity of them was enough to shock the reporter and his film crew, who were some distance away from the blasts.
Earlier in the night, a Russian missile struck near Kyiv’s southern main rail station on Wednesday night where thousands of women and children are being evacuated, Ukraine’s state-run railway company Ukrzaliznytsya said in a statement.
The station building suffered minor damage and the number of any casualties was not yet known, it said, adding trains were still operating despite the blast and fears of another night of brutal attacks by Vladimir Putin’s forces.
Ukraine’s interior ministry adviser Anton Herashchenko said the blast was caused by wreckage from a downed Russian cruise missile, not a direct rocket strike. Trains continued to run. Herashchenko added the strike may have cut off central heating supply to parts of the Ukrainian capital amid freezing winter temperatures.
A Reuters witness said the explosion made the earth shake.
In recent days, thousands of civilians have been queuing at railway stations to flee the city, which has come under bombardment from invading Russian forces. Many fear the worst is yet to come.
The office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s reported the powerful explosion was also near the country’s Defence Ministry. Zelenskyy’s office said it was a missile strike and that it wasn’t immediately clear how damaging the strike was or precisely where the missile hit.
Unverified reports said two missiles were launched towards the headquarters of Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence, with one being shot down. The HQ and the railway station sit across a road from one-another in Kiyv.
The Southern Railway station is one of two stations that make up the main passenger rail complex that thousands have used to flee the war over the past week. The two stations are connected by an overhead corridor that crosses over about a dozen tracks.
‘Russian terrorists launched an air strike on the South Railway Station in Kyiv, where thousands of Ukrainian women and children are being evacuated,’ the national railway company said.
The stations are about 3 kilometers (2 miles) from Maidan Nezalezhnosti, the square that was the site of huge protests in 2014 and 2004.
CCTV footage in the area posted to social media appeared to show the strike, with the video’s timestamp saying one of the blasts came at 20:50 local time (18:50GMT).
As Ukraine prepared to mark a week since Putin launched his invasion in the early hours of Thursday morning, a thick fog fell over Kiev – conditions that are challenging when it comes to air defence.
Meanwhile, the command of Ukraine’s Special Operations Forces warned that it would no longer take Russian artillerymen as prisoner of war in response to their ‘brutal shelling’ of cities. ‘Each and every gun crew… will be slaughtered like pigs,’ a statement on Wednesday evening said.
The United Nations Refugee Agency reported Thursday morning that over 1 million refugees have fled Ukraine since the beginning of the war, which has so far claimed thousands of lives in its first week. Pictures and videos from Kyiv have shown thousands crowding railways stations in a desperate bid to get a ride out of the city.
Ukraine’s State Emergency Service said Wednesday more than 2,000 civilians have died, though it was impossible to verify that claim. Ukraine has claimed to have killed almost 9,000 Russian soldiers, although Russia has contested the figures being released by officials in the country, as it tried to control the narrative of its illegal war.
Pictured: Footage from Kiyv overnight showed a huge explosion light up the night sky. Reports said at least two huge blasts were heard in the city air raid sirens warned residents to urgently seek shelter
A Russian air strike hit near Kyiv’s southern rail station on Wednesday where thousands of women and children are being evacuated, Ukraine’s state-run railway company Ukrzaliznytsya said in a statement. Pictured: Footage purportedly showing a blast in Kyiv on Wednesday night near a southern train station and Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence
Ukraine’s interior ministry adviser Anton Herashchenko said the strike may have e cut off central heating supply to parts of the Ukrainian capital amid freezing winter temperatures
A woman cries outside houses damaged by a Russian airstrike, according to locals, in Gorenka, outside the capital Kyiv
A woman says goodbye as a train with evacuees is about to leave Kyiv’s railway station on March 2, 2022
People stay inside Dorohozhychi subway station which is used as a bomb shelter, in Kyiv (Kiev), Ukraine
Civilians are seen at the train station attempting to head west from Kyiv, Ukraine on March 2, 2022 amid Russian attacks
Civilians are seen at the train station attempting to head west from Kyiv, Ukraine on March 2, 2022
A view shows damaged buildings following recent shelling, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, in the settlement of Borodyanka in the Kyiv region, Ukraine March 2, 2022
Paramedics walk at the residential area following recent shelling, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, in the settlement of Borodyanka in the Kyiv region, Ukraine March 2, 2022
On Wednesday morning, the bodies of the five victims of a rocket strike on Kyiv’s television tower were piled into a van and removed from the site by police – as the capital’s mayor Vitali Klitschko warned that Russian forces were ‘getting closer’.
Klitschko also today defiantly vowed ‘we will fight’ to defend the city, amid fears it could soon be battered by artillery fire from a 40-mile long death convoy parked nearby. Along with his brother and fellow former boxer Wladimir, the mayor called for more support from the west in an interview on Wednesday.
Ukrainian police said Wednesday they arrested a man who brought explosives hidden in a children’s toy to one of the Kyiv subway stations where thousands of people have been sheltering. The police also said four other suspected saboteurs were arrested, including two who were carrying weapons.
An opening salvo on Tuesday night struck the Ukrainian capital’s largest TV tower and damaged a nearby Holocaust memorial, killing five bystanders in the process. Hours later, US intelligence said the huge Russian convoy appears to have stalled near Kyiv though it could just be regrouping for a more-determined attack.
Klitschko said that fighting is still ongoing in the cities of Bucha and Hostomel, on the outskirts of Kyiv, where a large number of destroyed Russian vehicles were pictured on Wednesday. He implored people in the city ‘not to lose endurance’, saying all critical infrastructure is still running and humanitarian supplies are being handed out.
‘I ask everyone, for security reasons, not to go outside unnecessarily. At the alarm – go to the shelters,’ he said. ‘The enemy is gathering forces closer to the capital… We are preparing and will defend Kyiv!’
Images showed areas of the city damaged in overnight strikes, as attacks resumed on Ukrainian cities elsewhere in the country – with paratroopers dropping into Kharkiv on Wednesday morning as missiles struck a university in the city having apparently missed a nearby police headquarters.
Police officers prepare to remove the bodies of passersby killed in yesterday’s airstrike that hit Kyiv’s main television tower
Ukrainian police forces remove the bodies of people killed during a Russian rocket attack on Kyiv’s main TV tower on Tuesday, ahead of an expected assault on the capital
Kyiv is preparing to come under fresh bombardment today after Moscow warned civilians to flee or else face being killed (pictured, bodies of people killed in last night’s strike are covered by police)
Five people were killed yesterday in a Russian missile strike which wiped out several TV stations in Kyiv, thought to be preparation for a larger follow-up attack
Smoke and flames rise up the side of Kyiv’s 1,300ft TV tower after Russia bombed it on Tuesday. The tower remained standing but buildings around it were damaged, with some broadcasts knocked off air
Smoke rises around Kyiv’s main television tower after several explosions near the base of it on Tuesday afternoon
‘We need support!’: Ukrainian former heavyweight boxing champions Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko demand more help from allies against Russia
By Pa Sport Staff and Sam Brookes For MailOnline
Kyiv’s mayor Vitali Klitschko and his brother Wladimir – both former world heavyweight boxing champions – have appeared together calling for more support from allies to defend Ukraine against the Russian invasion.
Wladimir said there were ‘never enough’ resources as the country’s infrastructure has been partially crippled by shelling during a ‘terrible advance’ over the past few days.
The mayor and his brother thanked governments which had provided international help but said basic supplies like food and water were needed as well as more weapons.
In a joint interview on BBC News, Wladimir said: ‘It’s never enough. There’s huge demand because infrastructure is partially destroyed by the shelling that is happening all over the country in the different cities.
‘It’s absolutely not enough and we definitely need to support and help – financial support, military equipment support, medical support.’
His brother added: ‘Everyone has to be involved. It’s war not against Ukraine, it’s war against (all) civilians and it’s war against democracy.
‘We need support – support from the whole world.’
Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to rebuild the ‘Soviet or Russian Empire’ but the future of Ukraine should be as a modern democracy within the ‘European family’, Vitali added.
Vitali Klitschko, Kyiv Mayor and former heavyweight champion, right, and his brother Wladimir Klitschko, a Ukrainian former professional boxer look at a smart phone in the City Hall in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022
Ukraine’s second biggest city, Kharkiv, also suffered heavy bombardment on the seventh day of the war but Ukrainians denied Russia’s claim that its forces had taken the Black Sea port of Kherson.
A U.S. official also said control of Kherson remained contested and said Russian forces appeared to be getting more aggressive in targeting infrastructure inside Kyiv as its advances slow in the face of fierce Ukrainian resistance.
The invasion has yet to achieve Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aim of overthrowing Ukraine’s government but it has sent more than 870,000 people fleeing to neighbouring countries and jolted the global economy as governments and companies line up to isolate Moscow.
The United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to deplore the invasion ‘in the strongest terms’. It demanded that Russia withdraw its forces in a resolution backed by 141 of the assembly’s 193 members.
While General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, they carry political weight, with Wednesday’s vote representing a symbolic victory for Ukraine and increasing Moscow’s international isolation.
Before the vote, Ukraine’s ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya said: ‘They have come to deprive Ukraine of the very right to exist. ‘It’s already clear that the goal of Russia is not an occupation only. It is genocide.’
French President Emmanuel Macron hailed the courage of Ukrainians faced with a war he said was Putin’s responsibility alone. ‘The days ahead are likely to be increasingly difficult,’ Macron said in a televised national address.
After failing to swiftly take major cities and to subdue Ukraine’s military, U.S. officials have said for days that they believe Russia will instead seek to encircle cities, cutting off supply and escape routes, then attacking with a combined force of armour, ground troops and engineers.
A top Ukrainian diplomat received a standing ovation from diplomats after a heartfelt speech Wednesday to the U.N.’s top human rights body, calling on the Human Rights Council to help hold Russia’s government accountable by creating a panel of experts to scrutinize the invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking by video from Kyiv, Emine Dzhaparova, Ukraine’s first deputy minister of foreign affairs, described being awoken by the sound of an explosion on Feb. 24 as the invasion began. She said her government was ‘fully operational’ and lashed out at ‘false claims’ by Russian President Vladimir Putin that Ukraine was committing ‘genocide.’
‘Do you know how Russia treats and deals with genocide in Ukraine? By airstrikes using cruise and operational tactical missiles, tanks and artillery, reconnaissance groups and sabotage groups,’ she said. ‘Ukrainian babies are born in the bomb shelters in bunkers . As we speak here today, Russian armed forces keep attacking maternity wards, kindergartens, orphanages, hospitals.’
Dzhaparova noted an ‘urgent debate’ at the council about the situation in Ukraine, calling for countries in the 47-member-state body’s to set up a Commission of Inquiry – the council’s most powerful tool to scrutinize human rights violations and abuses.
US President Joe Biden used his first State of the Union address to highlight the resolve of a reinvigorated Western alliance that has worked to rearm the Ukrainian military and adopt tough sanctions, which he said have left Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘isolated in the world more than he has ever been.’
‘Throughout our history we’ve learned this lesson – when dictators do not pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos,’ Biden said. ‘They keep moving. And the costs and threats to America and the world keep rising.’
As the seventh day of the war dawned Wednesday, Russia found itself increasingly isolated, beset by the sanctions that have thrown its economy into turmoil and left the country practically friendless, apart from a few nations like China, Belarus and North Korea. Leading Russian bank Sberbank announced Wednesday that it is pulling out of European markets amid the tightening Western sanctions.
As fighting raged, the humanitarian situation worsened. Roughly 660,000 people have fled Ukraine, and countless others have taken shelter underground.
The death toll was less clear, with neither Russia nor Ukraine releasing the number of troops lost. The U.N. human rights office said it has recorded 136 civilian deaths, though the actual toll is surely far higher.
One senior Western intelligence official estimated that 5,000 Russian soldiers had been captured or killed in the biggest ground war in Europe since World War II.
Many military experts worry that Russia may be shifting tactics. Moscow’s strategy in Chechnya and Syria was to use artillery and air bombardments to pulverize cities and crush fighters’ resolve.
Soldiers are seen around piles of sand used for blocking a road in Ukrainian capital, Kyiv
A view of smoke from inside a damaged gym following shelling in Kyiv which partially destroyed a gym
A destroyed apartment building in Irpin, a city on the outskirts of Kyiv, was struck by Russian missiles early on Wednesday
Soldiers are seen around piles of sand used for blocking a road in Ukrainian capital, Kyiv
A fighter of the Ukrainian Territorial Defence Forces, the military reserve of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, stands guard at the underground crossing and subway entrance in the center of Kyiv
UK considers seizing property of sanctioned Russian oligarchs
British cabinet minister Michael Gove is drawing up plans to seize property in the United Kingdom owned by Russian oligarchs who have links to President Vladimir Putin without paying them compensation, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.
Gove’s plans would apply to nine oligarchs who have been sanctioned by Britain, including Kirill Shamalov, Russia’s youngest billionaire and Putin’s former son-in-law, it said.
The government has proposed these people will have their UK assets frozen and be unable to travel to Britain, the report added.
However, the proposals are likely to require legislation, and government lawyers have concerns that the plans would face legal challenges, the report said, adding that no final government decision has been reached on whether to proceed.
The United Kingdom’s department of Levelling Up, Housing & Communities did not respond to a Reuters request for comment outside office hours.
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has said she has drawn up a ‘hit list’ of Russian oligarchs, and said the government would impose new sanctions on them every few weeks.
Britain’s Defense Ministry said it had seen an increase in Russian air and artillery strikes on populated urban areas over the past two days. It also said Kharkiv and Mariupol were encircled by Russian forces and that troops had reportedly moved into the center of a third city, Kherson. Russia’s Defense Ministry said it had seized Kherson, though the claim could not be confirmed.
Ukrainian authorities said five people were killed in the attack on the TV tower near central Kyiv. A TV control room and power substation were hit, and at least some Ukrainian channels briefly stopped broadcasting, officials said.
Zelenskyy’s office reported that the site of the Babi Yar Holocaust memorial, which is adjacent to the TV tower, was also hit. A spokesman for the memorial said a Jewish cemetery at the site, where Nazi occupiers killed more than 33,000 Jews over two days in 1941, was damaged, but the extent would not be clear until daylight.
Zelenskyy expressed outrage Wednesday at the attack on Babi Yar and concern that other historically significant and religious sites, such as St. Sophia’s Cathedral, could be targeted.
‘This is beyond humanity. Such missile strike means that for many Russians our Kyiv is absolutely foreign,’ Zelenskyy said in a speech posted on Facebook. ‘They have orders to erase our history, our country and all of us.’
Russia previously told people living near transmission facilities used by Ukraine’s intelligence agency to leave their homes. But Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov claimed Wednesday that the airstrike on the TV tower did not hit any residential buildings. He did not address the reported deaths or the damage to Babi Yar.
At least 25 people have been killed by shelling and air strikes in Kharkiv in the past 24 hours, authorities said.
Pavel Dorogoy, 36, a photographer who lives near the city centre, said Russian forces had targeted the council building, which was empty at the time, a telephone exchange, and a television tower.
‘Most people hid in the basements for most of the day today and last night… The Russians cannot enter the town so they’re just attacking us from afar, they just want to destroy what they can,’ he said.
Moscow denies targeting civilians and says it aims to disarm Ukraine in a ‘special military operation’.
An attack on a square – the nucleus of public life in the city – was seen by many Ukrainians as brazen evidence that the Russian invasion wasn’t just about hitting military targets but also about breaking their spirit.
The gutted remains of Russian military vehicles on a road in the town of Bucha, close to the capital Kyiv
A local resident stands on a destroyed armoured vehicle, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, in the town of Bucha
A destroyed armoured vehicle, with the letter ‘V’ painted on its turret, is seen on a street, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, in the town of Bucha
Police officers stand guard at the site of yesterday’s airstrike that hit Kyiv’s main television tower in Kyiv
The bombardment blew out windows and walls of buildings that ring the square, which was piled high with debris and dust. Inside one building, chunks of plaster were scattered, and doors lay across hallways.
Another Russian airstrike hit a residential area in the city of Zhytomyr. Ukraine’s emergency services said Tuesday’s strike killed at least two people, burned three homes and broke the windows in a nearby hospital.
About 85 miles west of Kyiv, Zhytomyr is the home of the elite 95th Air Assault Brigade, which may have been the intended target. In the southern port city of Mariupol, the mayor said the attacks were relentless.
‘They have been flattening us non-stop for 12 hours now,’ Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying. ‘We cannot even take the wounded from the streets, from houses and apartments today, since the shelling does not stop.’
Boychenko referred to Russia’s actions as a ‘genocide’ – using the same word that Putin has used to justify the invasion.
Zelenskyy has mocked Russia’s claim that it is going after only military targets, noting that 16 children were killed on Monday. ‘Where are the children? What kind of military factories do they work at?’ Zelenskyy said.
Human Rights Watch said it documented a cluster bomb attack outside a hospital in Ukraine’s east in recent days. Residents also reported the use of such weapons in Kharkiv and Kiyanka village. The Kremlin denied using cluster bombs.
An elderly woman comforts a child as they take shelter inside of an underground metro station in Kyiv
A woman gives water to her dog as other people gather in the Kyiv subway, using it as a bomb shelter
A woman holds her dog as other people gather in the Kyiv subway, using it as a bomb shelter
People gather in the Kyiv subway, using it as a bomb shelter in Kyiv as Russian forces escalated their attacks on the city
People line up in front of a pharmacy, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, in central Kyiv
Cluster bombs shoot smaller ‘bomblets’ over a large area, many of which fail to explode until long after they’ve been dropped. If their use is confirmed, that would represent a new level of brutality in the war.
As the fighting raged, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that a Russian would be ready to resume talks Wednesday evening with Ukrainian officials, a day after Zelenskyy said Russia should stop bombing first.
The first talks between Russia and Ukraine since the invasion were held Monday, but ended with only an agreement to talk again.
Moscow made new threats of escalation Tuesday, days after raising the specter of nuclear war. A top Kremlin official warned that the West’s ‘economic war’ against Russia could turn into a ‘real one.’
Inside Russia, a top radio station critical of the Kremlin was taken off the air after authorities threatened to shut it down over its coverage of the invasion. Among other things, the Kremlin is not allowing the fighting to be referred to as an ‘invasion’ or ‘war.’
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said it had evidence that Belarus, a Russian ally, is preparing to send troops into Ukraine. A ministry statement posted early Wednesday on Facebook said the Belarusian troops have been brought into combat readiness and are concentrated close to Ukraine’s northern border. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has said his country has no plans to join the fight.
A senior U.S. defense official said that Russia’s military progress – including by the massive convoy – has slowed, plagued by logistical and supply problems. Some Russian military columns have run out of gas and food, the official said, and morale has suffered as a result.
Overall, the Russian military has been stalled by fierce resistance on the ground and a surprising inability to completely dominate Ukraine’s airspace.
The immense convoy, with vehicles packed together along narrow roads, would seemingly be ‘a big fat target’ for Ukrainian forces, the senior Western intelligence official said on condition of anonymity. But it also showed Russia was comfortable that they wouldn’t come attack by air, rocket or missile, the official said.
People wait at a train station to board trains in an attempt to flee the fighting in Kyiv
Trains have been evacuating people from Kyiv to western Ukraine with many hoping to leave the country, though men are legally forbidden from going so they can stay and fight
A Ukrainian man carries his child into Kyiv’s main station in the hopes of evacuating her from the city
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