Nearly 200 civilians dead in the invasion of Ukraine, fighting in Kiev

Kiev is Saturday under missile fire from Moscow and fighting is taking place in the city, where the Ukrainian president calls on his people to take up arms against the Russian invasion which, according to Ukraine, has killed nearly 200 civilians.

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President Volodymyr Zelensky assured that Western weapons are on the way to support the Ukrainians and vowed that he would stay in the capital.

On the third day of the invasion launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin, fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces takes place on Victory Avenue, one of Kiev’s main arteries, a few hours after a dramatic call for mobilization launched by Volodymyr Zelensky.

At least 198 Ukrainian civilians, including three children, were killed by the “invader”, and 1,115 people injured, according to Ukrainian Health Minister Viktor Lyashko.

Dozens of soldiers also lost their lives, while Russia does not give any information on its toll. Kiev claims to inflict heavy losses on the Russian army.

Mr. Zelensky assured that “weapons and equipment from (his) partners are on their way to Ukraine”, referring to an “anti-war coalition (which) works” after a conversation with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron. “War has returned to Europe” and it “will last”, judged the latter.

The Dutch Ministry of Defense has indicated that it will deliver 200 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine as soon as possible. The Czech Republic has announced that it will donate weapons to Ukraine worth 7.6 million euros.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko stressed in a video that it had been a “difficult” night in the capital where there are Russian “sabotage units” but no regular units yet.

The Russian army is trying to reach the capital from the north and northeast, with troops entering Ukraine from neighboring Belarus. According to Ukraine, violent “fights” are also taking place 30 km southwest of the city, where the Russians are “trying to land paratroopers”, according to the Ukrainian army.

In the northwest of the capital, artillery and missile fire resounds sporadically, according to AFP journalists on the spot. A high residential building was hit by a missile attack, according to the Ukrainian authorities, who did not immediately give an assessment.

The Ukrainian army claimed on Facebook to have destroyed a column of five military vehicles, including a tank, on Victory Avenue in Kiev. Overnight, authorities reported a Russian attack on a power plant in the Troieshchyna district, northeast of Kiev.

The Russian Ministry of Defense for its part did not mention any offensive on Kiev, only reporting the firing of cruise missiles on military infrastructure, advances in the East, where the army supports the separatists of the territories of Donetsk and Lugansk, and in southern Ukraine, where Russian forces entered on Monday from the Crimean peninsula, annexed in 2014.

Russia’s media regulator on Saturday ordered national media to remove from their content any reference to civilians killed by the Russian military in Ukraine as well as the terms “invasion”, “offensive” or “declaration of war”. “.

On the road between Kramatorsk and Dnipro, two cities in eastern Ukraine, AFP journalists noted the presence of a large number of Ukrainian military convoys. Military checkpoints have been established at the entrances and exits of each major city in this area.

The anti-aircraft siren also sounded at dawn in Kharkiv, a large eastern city near the Russian border.

Poland claims that 100,000 Ukrainians have arrived in the country since the Russian attack (official), and many others have been displaced within their country where one flees to other neighbors such as Romania.

Russia blocked a UN Security Council resolution condemning its action.

Vladimir Putin seems determined to continue his offensive, until obtaining a change of regime in Ukraine and dislodging from power in Kiev those whom he describes as “drug addicts” and “neo-Nazis”. He also called on the Ukrainian army for a military coup.

According to Moscow, it is a “special military operation” for “peacekeeping” in order to “demilitarize” and “denazify” a country accused of an alleged genocide of the Russian-speaking populations of the East.

After the exodus of many residents on Thursday, Kiev, where three million inhabitants usually live, looks like a ghost town, under curfew.

Others remained to defend the capital. “They distributed the rifles, loaded them for us and here we are,” says Yuri Korchemniy, who had never held a weapon in his life before joining a battalion of civilians ready to defend Kiev step by step against the enemy. Russian.

NATO, whose leaders met by videoconference on Friday, has repeated in recent days that it will not send troops to this country, but the member countries have decided to deploy additional troops in Europe, in particular in the countries from the east.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kouleba called on the West to “completely isolate Russia” and “destroy its economy”, in particular with an embargo on hydrocarbons.

The Western camp is focused on toughening sanctions on Russia after it restricted its access to financial markets and technology.

The Westerners, Washington in the lead, took a new step on Friday by imposing – a rare and symbolic fact – sanctions on Vladimir Putin himself and on his Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

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