Kyiv: Russian troops on Friday entered the northern districts of the Ukrainian capital in a desperate bid to capture Kyiv as the besieged government of Ukraine urged citizens to make Molotov cocktails and defend the city. Fortifications were frantically dug in Kyiv to block the Ukraine invasion, the BBC reported. Meanwhile, a special train with 7,000 people left Kyiv to the country’s western cities to be away from the heavy fighting.
Russian troops are in the north of Kyiv, Ukraine authorities said, with videos showing a steady advance of armoured vehicles. At least 25 civilians have been killed and 102 injured in airstrikes across country, the United Nations said. Images showed a missile fired by Russia hitting a residential area in Bucha in the northwest of Kyiv.
Amid conflicting claims by Ukraine that its forces were battling the Russians, British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said that Moscow had lost 450 military personnel.
Earlier, the Ukrainian Defence Force called for civilian recruits regardless of age. Defence Minister Alexey Reznikov said: “I decided, in agreement with the Commander of the troops of the armed forces of Ukraine…to involve (those) over 60 years old, who are morally and physically ready to resist and defeat the enemy.”
Go f**k yourself, Russian warship
In another widely reported incident, all Ukrainian soldiers who were defending Snake Island (an island belonging to Ukraine located in the Black Sea near the Danube Delta) were killed, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. “All border guards died heroically but did not give up. They will be awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine posthumously,” Zelenskyy said, reported CNN.
An audio shared by Ukrayinska Pravda said when the Russian cruiser ordered the Ukrainian soldiers to surrender, or else be fired upon, the soldiers responded: “Go f**k yourself, Russian warship.”
At 10.00 pm India time, the State Border Guard Service announced that Russian forces had captured the island following a naval and air bombardment that destroyed all infrastructure on the island. At least 13 border guards were killed during the battle after refusing to surrender.
On Thursday, Russia’s Defence Ministry said its first day of the Ukraine invasion was “successful” hours after announcing it had destroyed 74 above-ground military infrastructure facilities, including 11 aerodromes. Ukrainian police said Russia had carried out 203 attacks since the beginning of the day.
India sends MEA teams for evacuation of citizens
Meanwhile, the Indian government on Thursday said the country’s topmost priority right now is the safety and evacuation of Indian nationals stranded in Ukraine. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stated that the topmost priority of the government is the safety and security of Indian nationals including students in Ukraine,” Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla said during a media briefing.
To assist in the evacuation of Indian nationals from Ukraine, India has sent Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) teams to the land borders with Ukraine in Hungary, Poland, Slovak Republic and Romania. Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will also speak to the foreign ministers of Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary over the evacuation issue.
Shringla announced that 4,000 Indian nationals have already left Ukraine in the past few days. “The MEA control room in Delhi has got 980 calls and 850 emails,” he said. “We started the registration of Indian nationals in Ukraine about a month ago. Based on online registration, we found that around 20,000 Indian nationals were there,” he said.
“The situation on the ground is difficult and is rapidly evolving. One important step we have taken is to pursue all universities in Ukraine to conduct online classes. PM Modi has specifically stated that the MEA should do everything possible for our citizens in Ukraine,” Shringla said.
Agencies & Indiablooms News Service