As the Russian invasion of Ukraine entered day three with heightened military aggression, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said weapons from partners are on the way. He tweeted, “A new day on the diplomatic frontline began with a conversation with Emmanuel Macron. Weapons and equipment from our partners are on the way to Ukraine. The anti-war coalition is working!” Earlier, Zelensky released a self-shot video from central Kyiv vowing alongside key aides to stay and defend the capital against the Russian invasion. “We’re all here. Our military is here. Citizens in society are here. We’re all here defending our independence, our country, and it will stay this way,” Zelensky said standing outside the presidency building.
More than 3,500 Russian soldiers killed
The Ukrainian military has published what they claim is a breakdown of Russia’s losses. According to a post on its Facebook page, more than 3,500 Russian soldiers involved in the invasion have been killed and almost 200 taken prisoner. They add that Russia has also lost 14 aircraft, 8 helicopters, and 102 tanks so far. The media is unable to independently verify any of these claims. Russia has so far not acknowledged any casualties.
Street fighting breaks out in Kyiv
Russian troops pressed toward Ukraine’s capital Saturday after a night of explosions and street fighting sent Kyiv residents seeking shelter underground. It was not immediately clear how far Russian troops had advanced. Ukrainian officials reported some success in fending off assaults, but fighting persisted near the capital. Skirmishes reported on the edge of the city suggested that small Russian units were trying to clear a path for the main forces.
Russia captures Ukraine’s Melitopol
Russian troops have captured the city of Melitopol in Ukraine’s southeastern Zaporizhzhya region, Russia’s defence ministry said today, the first significant population centre to be taken over since Moscow launched an invasion. Reuters quotes the ministry also saying Russia had used air and ship-based cruise missiles to carry out overnight strikes on military targets in Ukraine. It said Russian troops had hit hundreds of military infrastructure targets and destroyed several aircraft and dozens of tanks and armoured and artillery vehicles.
Fighting under way near Kherson, Mykolaiv, Odessa
Fighting was under way today near the southern Ukrainian cities of Mariupol, Kherson, Mykolaiv, and Odessa, an adviser to the Ukrainian president’s office said. “Heavy fighting is taking place near Mariupol,” Mykhailo Podolyak, the adviser, told a briefing. “But there is no chance that Mariupol will surrender or be captured.”
Apartment building struck
A residential building was hit by a missile or rocket early Saturday as many in the city slept, with images and video showing extensive damage to apartments some tens floors up, with outer walls torn away completely. The cause of the strike and extent of casualties is not yet known.
Fighting on the streets
Early Saturday, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry warned on Facebook that “active fighting is taking place on the streets of the city”. It urged residents to stay calm, hide indoors, take cover – and head to the nearest shelter immediately if they hear air raid sirens.
Explosions in and around the capital were seen and heard from 2 to 4am, with a brief lull before gunshots were heard before dawn. It’s the first time blasts have been reported inside the city proper, after days of heavy fighting on the outskirts. The Ukrainian military attributed some of the early morning explosions to to the destruction of a Russian tank.
Residents take up arms
Ukrainians have been preparing to defend their capital in recent days, with officials arming reservists and Ukrainian TV broadcasting instructions for making Molotov cocktails. Even members of parliament said they had picked up guns and learned to shoot in preparation of battle.
Cargo ship seized: Russia seeks explanation from France
The Russian embassy in France is seeking explanations from the French authorities over the seizure of a Russian cargo ship in the English channel, Russia’s RIA news agency quoted the embassy as saying on Saturday. The French navy said earlier it had intercepted a cargo ship in the English channel bound for the Russian city of St Petersburg. French officials told the BBC that the ship was intercepted in line with new EU sanctions and say it has been redirected to the northern port of Boulogne-Sur-Mer.
Two commercial ships hit by Russian missiles
Ukraine said Russian warships shelled a Moldovan-flagged chemical tanker and a Panamanian-flagged cargo ship due to load grain near Odessa port in the Black Sea on Friday, a day after Russia began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. A total of three non-military vessels have now been hit since the start of the invasion.
Poland boycotts World Cup match against Russia
Poland will not play its soccer World Cup qualifier against Russia next month following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the president of Poland’s Football Association, Cezary Kulesza, and players including captain Robert Lewandowski said on Saturday. “This is the only right decision,”. Kulesza said on Twitter, adding that his association was in talks with its Swedish and Czech counterparts regarding playoff matches set for March to fill a slot for the World Cup. Russia is scheduled to host Poland in the semi-finals of its strand of the World Cup playoffs on March 24 and, if its team advances, is scheduled to host either Sweden or the Czech Republic on March 29 in the Path B final.