Fighting reaches outskirts of Kyiv

The Russian and Ukrainian governments on Friday signalled an openness to negotiations even as authorities in Kyiv urged citizens to help defend the capital from advancing Russian forces in the worst European security crisis in decades.
Ukraine and Russia will consult in coming hours on a time and place for talks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s spokesman Sergii Nykyforov said on social media, offering the first glimmer of hope for diplomacy since the invasion began, Reuters reported.
The Kremlin said earlier it offered to meet in the Belarusian capital Minsk after Ukraine expressed a willingness to discuss declaring itself a neutral country, but that Ukraine had proposed Warsaw as the venue. That, according to Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov, resulted in a “pause” in contacts.
“Ukraine was and remains ready to talk about a ceasefire and peace,” Nykyforov said in a post on Facebook. “We agreed to the proposal of the President of the Russian Federation.”
But U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said Russia’s offer was an attempt to conduct diplomacy “at the barrel of a gun”, and that President Vladimir Putin’s military must stop bombing Ukraine if it was serious about negotiations.
The diplomatic overtures stood in stark contrast to events unfolding on the ground and Putin’s harsh rhetoric against Ukrainian leaders, including a call for a coup by the country’s military.
Kyiv residents were told by the defence ministry to make petrol bombs to repel the invaders, and on Friday evening witnesses reported hearing artillery rounds and intense gunfire from the western part of the city. The sound of frequent artillery fire, apparently some distance from the city center, continued in the early hours of Saturday.
Zelenskiy filmed himself with aides on the streets of the capital, vowing to defend Ukraine’s independence.
“Tonight, they will launch an assault. All of us must understand what awaits us. We must withstand this night,” he said in a video address posted to his Telegram channel, Reuters reported. “The fate of Ukraine is being decided right now.”
Some families cowered in shelters after Kyiv was pounded on Thursday night by Russian missiles. Others tried desperately to get on packed trains headed west, some of the hundreds of thousands who have left their homes to find safety, according to the United Nations’ aid chief.
After weeks of warnings from Western leaders, Putin unleashed a three-pronged invasion of Ukraine from the north, east and south on Thursday, in an attack
that threatened to upend Europe’s post-reported heavy fighting there.
Amid the chaos of war, a picture of what was happening on the ground across Ukraine – the second largest country in Europe after Russia itself – was slow to emerge.
Zelenskiy wrote on Twitter that there had been heavy fighting with deaths at the entrance to the eastern cities of Chernihiv and Melitopol, as well as at Hostomel.
“Glory to our defenders, both male and female, glory to Ukraine,” he said, flanked by the prime minister and advisors in a video posted to confirm he was in the capital.
Witnesses said they had heard explosions and gunfire near the airport in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city, close to Russia’s border.
Ukraine’s military said Russian troops had been stopped with heavy losses near the northeastern city of Konotop, Reuters reported.
Britain’s defence ministry said Russian armoured forces had opened a new route of advance towards the capital after failing to take Chernihiv.
Ukraine said more than 1,000 Russian soldiers had been killed so far. Russia did not release casualty figures.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to his Ukrainian counterpart and condemned reported civilian deaths, including those of Ukrainian children.The post Fighting reaches outskirts of Kyiv first appeared on Ariana News.

Source: Ariana News

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