Home Main Stories Russian Forces Pound for Third Day, Kyiv Still in Ukrainian Hands: Reuters

Russian Forces Pound for Third Day, Kyiv Still in Ukrainian Hands: Reuters

Russian Forces Pound for Third Day, Kyiv Still in Ukrainian Hands: Reuters

KYIV, Feb 26 (Reuters) – Russian forces pounded Ukrainian cities with artillery and cruise missiles on Saturday for a third day running but a defiant President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the capital Kyiv remained in Ukrainian hands.

As hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians fled westwards towards the European Union, top Russian security official and ex-president Dmitry Medvedev said Moscow’s military operations would be waged relentlessly until their goals were achieved.

Ignoring weeks of Western warnings, President Vladimir Putin launched a three-pronged invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, saying the “neo-Nazis” in power in Kyiv threatened Russia’s security. The assault threatens to upend Europe’s post-Cold War order.

In a significant ratcheting up of Russia’s rhetoric, Medvedev said new Western sanctions were a sign of the West’s impotence in the standoff and hinted at a severing of diplomatic ties, saying it was time to “padlock the embassies”.

After a night of airstrikes, there were some signs of panic in Kyiv. Reuters reporters saw Ukrainian soldiers and a group of women running along the street. Nearby, Ukrainian soldiers forced a man in civilian clothes to lie down on the pavement.

Kyiv’s mayor Vitali Klitschko said there was currently no major Russian military presence in Kyiv, but added that saboteur groups were active. The metro system is now serving only as a shelter for citizens and trains have stopped running, he said.

Klitschko said 35 people, including two children, had been wounded overnight. He later announced the extension of a night-time curfew, which will now run from 5 pm until 8 am.

At least 198 Ukrainians, including three children, have been killed and 1,115 people wounded so far in Russia’s invasion, Interfax quoted Ukraine’s Health Ministry as saying. It was unclear whether the numbers comprised only civilian casualties.

“We have withstood and are successfully repelling enemy attacks. The fighting goes on,” Zelenskiy said in a video message posted on his social media. “We have the courage to defend our homeland, to defend Europe.”

Britain said the bulk of Russian forces were now 30 km (19 miles) from the centre of Kyiv and said Russia had yet to gain control of Ukraine’s airspace.

The Kremlin said Putin had ordered troops to stop advancing on Friday but that they were moving forwards on Saturday after Kyiv refused to negotiate. Both Moscow and Kyiv had previously raised the possibility of peace talks but they came to nothing.

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