KYIV, Ukraine – Ukraine’s defense forces, heavily armed and numbered, waged a fierce resistance against the Russian invasion on Saturday, fighting to keep control of the capital Kyiv and other cities around the country.
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine posted a video on Twitter, telling the public not to believe false reports.
He’s still alive. Kyiv did not fall. Mr. Zelensky said that any reports of Ukraine laying down arms are lies.
“I am here,” he said. “We didn’t drop any arms. We will defend our country, because our weapon is our truth. The truth is this is our land, our country, our children, and we will protect them all.”
“That’s it. That’s what I want to tell you. Pride for Ukraine.”
His comments, made before 9 a.m., came as fighting intensified in Kyiv. What until three days ago was a prosperous European metropolis has been converted into a battle zone. Russian troops closed in from all directions.
There was intense street fighting, and gunshots and explosions could be heard throughout the city, including at its center, Maidan square, where in 2014 Ukrainian protests led to the overthrow of the pro-Moscow government.
The Russian military has a decisive advantage in cyber warfare, tanks, heavy weapons, missiles, fighters and ships. In absolute numbers, the country’s military is inferior to Ukraine.
Russia has established offensive lines into three cities – Kyiv to the north, Kharkiv to the northeast and Kherson to the south – and Ukrainian troops are fighting to hold all three cities. The Pentagon reported late Friday that the Russians did not appear to control a single major population center. A senior US defense official said Ukraine’s command and control remained intact.
The Ukrainian government reported that hundreds of Russian soldiers were killed in the fighting, along with many of their own, while the Russian Defense Ministry released a statement on Saturday morning that did not mention any casualties or anything about the fight for Kyiv.
The Russian invasion began with targeted air strikes before dawn on Thursday, but on the third day of the war, bloody battles were often waged at close intervals. Ukrainska Pravda, a Ukrainian news site, quoted witnesses as saying the battle was 400 meters from Maidan Square in central Kyiv.
All Ukrainians who are fighting are being drafted into the army and tens of thousands are signing up. Ukrainians are asked to make Molotov cocktails. And there have been tearful scenes at airports in western Ukraine as wives kiss their husbands goodbye before they turn themselves in.
The nation rallied around its president, Mr. Zelensky, a former comedian.
For him and other officials, the goal of Russia’s invasion of a neighboring country with no military threat is to overthrow the government.
Mr. Zelensky has said that he is “no target. first. “
As battles raged around the city on Saturday morning, there were reports of clashes near the city’s train station and along the central road, Bohdan Khmelnitsky Street, leading from Victory Square to downtown, according to eyewitness accounts. Along that street, closer to the city center, multiple gunshots could be heard throughout the night.
Secretary of the Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Oleksy Danilov, said at around 7 a.m. “The situation is under the control of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the people of Kyiv.”
In dozens of interviews in the tense hours before the invasion and in the days following, Ukrainians struggled to understand how a peaceful country suddenly fell into a state of war. For many Ukrainians, the answer is found in the President of Russia, Vladimir V. Putin.
This is Putin’s war. But what scares people as much as the missile and bomb threat is that they don’t know what he wants.
The fear was evident during the drive from Kyiv to a small village outside the city. Military convoys have replaced families to go on vacation and visit friends. Where Kyiv was once known as a city where the music got too loud in its cafes, the incessant screams of air raid sirens drowned out all the fun.
Fear was evident on the faces of people looking for safety in western Ukraine, after they emerged after a 20-hour train ride in sealed carriages kept pitch-black to avoid being caught. Russian missile targeting.
From Lviv in the west to Odessa in the south and Kharkiv and nearly all points in between, people gathered in air raid shelters and lined up, storing machinery and stocking up on essentials. set.
While the Russians, at the moment, do not control any cities, it is only the early stages of a conflict that could last for weeks or longer.
https://www.nytimes.com/live/2022/02/26/world/ukraine-russia-war Ukraine vs Russia War, Kyiv News: Live Updates