Ukraine's fierce defiance amid battle for Kiev against Russia: 10 updates
Russia-Ukraine Crisis: More than 150,000 people are believed to have fled the Ukraine war since Moscow's full-scale invasion started Thursday.
Fresh explosions shook Ukrainian capital Kyiv and lit up the pre-dawn sky, reports said, as Moscow's offensive enters Day 4 with the European Union aiming to cripple Russian President Vladimir Putin's “war machine”. "We will fight for as long as needed to liberate our country,” Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy - Kyiv's face of resistance who was more popular as a comic before he was elected three years ago - pledged. Russia's advances have been slowed, the Pentagon and the UK Defence Ministry have higlighted, amid fierce resistance. Civilians too have become a part of this war and visuals of people using Molotov cocktails against Russian forces have been widely shared on social media.
Here are ten points on Russia-Ukraine crisis:
1. More than 150,000 people are believed to have fled the Ukraine war since Moscow's full-scale invasion started Thursday. Kyiv saw another night of violence and chaos with massive explosions reported; air raid sirens were heard. On Saturday, missile strikes, attack on residential buildings despite the Kremlin's assurances to keep civilians out of harm's way kept the city on edge.
2. In another big punitive measure against Moscow, the US, the EU and the UK blocked Russian banks from the SWIFT global financial messaging system. "Restrictive measures" are a part of the latest step on the Russian central bank. "We have taken decisive action tonight with our international partners to shut Russia out of the global financial system, including the important first step of ejecting Russian banks from SWIFT," UK PM Boris Johnson said on Twitter.]
3. After a spate of global financial sanctions, Ukraine is finally getting military support from France and Germany. The United States has also announced a USD 350 million aid.
4. A major natural gas pipeline was blown up in Ukraine's largest city Kharviv by the Russian forces, Kyiv said.
5. The Russian Army on Saturday broadened its offensive "in all directions". “After the Ukrainian side rejected the negotiation process, today all units were given orders to develop the advance from all directions in accordance with the operation’s plans,” Russian army spokesman Igor Konashenkov was quoted as saying in reports. As ties with the West plunge to a new low, Russia has closed its airspace to planes from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Slovenia. The measure, Russia’s state aviation agency, Rosaviatsiya said, was taken in retaliation for the four nations closing their airspace for Russian planes.
6. Social media restrictions in Russia have been reported. "We're aware that Twitter is being restricted for some people in Russia and are working to keep our service safe and accessible," the microblogging giant wrote in a post. Kremlin's official website was also reportedly down. Reports said Moscow is trying to block access to information.
7. The world is witnessing massive protests as Russia's Vladimir Putin turns a deaf ear to global appeals to call back troops. People have taken to streets in France, the United Kingdom, the United States and other countries with Europe witnessing one of the worst conflic since the World War -2.
8. It's not yet clear if and when Russia and Ukraine will hold talks. "In connection with the expected negotiations, the Russian president yesterday afternoon ordered the suspension of the advance of the main forces of the Russian Federation," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Pesko was quoted as saying by news agency AFP on Sarturday. Kyiv, however, had earlier appealed for negotiations.
9. 198 people, including children, have died in Ukraine have died so far, officials said Saturday. The Russian side has also faced 1,000 casulaties, Kyiv had earlier claimed.
10. The UNSC resolution to stop the Ukraine war was met with failure with Russia's veto. The Kremlin can't escape accountablity, the US had said in sharp remarks.
(With inputs from AFP, AP, Reuters)