Russian forces launched coordinated missile and artillery attacks on Ukrainian cities on Saturday, including the capital, Kiev, where a curfew came into force at 5 p.m. local time. After Ukrainian forces said they had repulsed an attack on the capital overnight, President Volodymyr Zelensky recorded a selfie-like video in the city center, promising to stay and fight on. Follow our live blog for the latest developments.
- The mayor of Kiev imposed a curfew starts on Saturday at 17.00 local time (GMT + 2) which will last until Monday morning. The mayor’s office said in a statement that the curfew was needed to clean up the damage caused by shelling and gunfire from “enemy sabotage and reconnaissance”.
- The Russian army has been ordered to broaden its offensive in Ukraine “from all sides” after Kiev refused to hold talks in Belarus, the Moscow Defense Ministry said in a statement on Saturday. In a video message hours later, Zelenskyy said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev had both offered to help organize peace talks, saying, “We can only welcome that.”
- Germany approved the delivery of 400 anti-tank missile launchers to Ukraine in a complete reversal from its long-standing policy of banning arms exports to conflict areas, partly rooted in its own history of warfare on the European continent. The Elysee Palace announced it late on Saturday France would tighten economic sanctions against Russia and send military equipment to Ukraine.
- Ukrainian soldiers repulsed a Russian attack on the capital during the night but fighting on the outskirts of the city indicated that Russian units were trying to clear a road into Kiev, Reuters reported on Saturday night. British and American sources said that most of the Russian forces were located 30 kilometers (19 miles) from the center.
- When Russian troops closed in on the capital on Friday, Zelensky released a defiant video proverb he was in Kiev and was not about to leave. The civilian population of Kiev took up arms and the government sends instructions on how to make gasoline bombs.
- As expected, Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolution on Friday condemned the country’s invasion of Ukraine and demanded that it immediately withdraw its troops. Eleven of the council’s 15 members voted in favor of the motion; China, India and the United Arab Emirates abstained.
- The The EU, US and UK froze Russian President Vladimir Putin’s foreign assets and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Germany said on Saturday that it worked to exclude Russia from SWIFT banking system, which enables banks to carry out international transactions quickly and securely. Cutting off Russia would paralyze its trade with most of the world. The move signals something of a turnaround, as Germany had initially been cautious about excluding Russia from the SWIFT program.
- Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya’s leader and a close ally of Putin, confirmed this on Saturday. Chechen warriors had been deployed in Ukraine and urged Ukrainians to overthrow their government.
- More than 50,000 Ukrainians have fledmostly to Poland and Moldova, according to the UN.
- The the international sports world has also responded to the invasion of Ukraine, where UEFA released Russia as hosts of the Champions League final on May 28, which has been moved from St. Petersburg. Petersburg to Paris. Formula 1 released this season’s Russian Grand Prix in Sochi in September. Poland refuses to play its World Cup qualifier on March 24 against Russia next month and Sweden will not play against Russia in the World Cup finals. The International Ski Federation announced that Russia will not host more of its World Cup competitions this winter and the International Tennis Federation has canceled all events in Russia indefinitely.
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(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AFP and AP)
Originally published on France24
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