Ukraine's leader is determined as Kyiv resists Russian attacks

President Volodymyr Zilenskyy said that "we won't put our guns down," in a video message he sent to his people from the streets of Moscow posted Saturday morning.

Ukraine's leader is determined as Kyiv resists Russian attacks

There was fighting on the streets of the Ukrainian capital city Kyiv and in other big cites across the country Saturday, but a United States defense official and others watching the unfolding tragedy said the massive Russian assault appeared to be stymied by the stiffer-than-expected resistance.

After an evening of explosions, the Ukrainian government in Kyiv directed the counter-attack against Russians.

The U.S., France, Germany and Italy announced Saturday that certain Russian banks would be removed form the SWIFT messaging network.

Although the option was on the table, some European allies with economies closer to Russia's were reluctant to include SWIFT in sanctions due to the potential impact it could have.

The U.S., along with other allies such as Germany, were speeding up supplies and weaponry to the outgunned Ukrainians who refused to surrender.

Moscow-watchers were also surprised when the ex Soviet republic of Kazakhstan, one of Russia's closest allies announced that it would not grant Putin's request to send Kazakh troops to subjugate Ukraine.

Kazakhstan said that it will not join Putin in recognizing the pro-Russian Luhanskregions of eastern Ukraine.

In a speech to his countrymen Saturday morning, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zilenskyy stated that "We have withstood enemy attacks" "The fighting continues to rage in many districts and cities of our state. But, we know we are protecting the country, land, and future of our children."

Zelenskyy also requested United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres that Russia be stripped of its vote on Security Council.

Russia was the only nation to veto U.N. Resolution Friday demanding that Moscow cease its attack on Ukraine. Russia is a permanent member the Security Council and has the right to veto any resolutions adopted by that international body.

According to the U.S. official, Russian forces were located less than 20 miles from Kyiv, but they were struggling to penetrate the outer ring of Kyiv's defenses as Zelenskyy rallied his fellow countrymen.

According to the official, some of the most intense fighting was reported in and around Kharkiv. Despite being bombarded with 250 short-range missiles, the Ukrainian Air Force continued to challenge the Russians from the skies.

Zelenskyy has refused to leave the capital with his government, even though the Ukrainian president claims he believes that he is the Russian number-one target. Instead, he is posting videos on the streets and urging his followers to stand with him.

A U.S. defense official refused to comment on reports Zelenskyy rejected a U.S. offer of evacuation.

Zelenskyy was also a presidential predecessor who was in Kyiv to defend the homeland.

Sky News : "Today in Kyiv (Russian President Vladimir Putin) Putin will meet hell. The Russian people and the Russian troops who came here to kill Ukrainians are going to pay the big price," ex-president Petro Poroshenko said.

Nevertheless, Moscow's unprovoked attack against its democratic neighbor has been widely condemned and made Putin an international pariah.

Tens of thousands have fled Ukraine after the Russian advance, most often to Romania and Poland.

Those who stayed endured an assault by Ukraine and international watchdogs that was increasingly targeting civilians.

The West's security sense has been shaken by the Russian attack, particularly in NATO's eastern flank countries that have a long history fighting Moscow.

NATO has taken steps to strengthen its eastern flank, and U.S. Secretary Antony Blinken Saturday approved an additional $350million in military assistance for Ukraine.

"Today, Ukraine fights with courage, pride, and against Russia's brutal, unprovoked attack, I have authorized, pursuant a delegation of the President, an unprecedented Third Presidential Drawdown of up $350 Million for immediate support to Ukraine’s defense," Blinken stated in a statement.

Germany, which has been criticised for not being quick to condemn the Russian invasion, and being reluctant to impose any sanctions on Moscow, announced Saturday it would send the Ukrainians 500 ground to air "Stinger" missiles, and 1,000 tank defense weapons.

In a statement, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stated that "The Russian attack on Ukraine marks the turning point." It threatens our entire postwar order. It is our duty in this situation to support Ukraine."

Experts in military affairs said Russia still holds the dominant advantage. However, it isn't clear if Russia has sufficient advantage to overtake a country the size of Texas with 43 million inhabitants. Russia has already discovered the weaknesses in the Russian offensive.

On MSNBC, retired Gen. Ben Hodges said that "I don't believe they have the ability, especially as they move from Russian sovereign territory or from Belarus that they will be capable to maintain this," and was a former commander general of the United States Army Europe and Pershing chair in Strategic Studies at The Center for European Policy Analysis.

"And I believe these convoys, for example, of large fuel trucks that must follow the tanks -- these are very vulnerable and I think there will be more reports about these convoys being struck."

Many Kyiv residents spent the night in underground shelters and subway stations, while officials enforced a curfew to expel the "enemy". Ukranian civilians helped to strengthen their army's desperate, but effective, resistance to Putin’s invasion .

Zelenskyy stated that Russia was looking to take over the city and create its own "puppets," to lead Ukraine. Western officials have echoed his warnings, claiming that Putin plans to decapitate Ukraine’s pro-western government and replace it with a Moscow friendly one.

In a YouTube video, Zelenskyy stands on a Kyiv street rejecting what he called Russian disinformation. He said that he had been told by his forces to surrender.

Zelenskyy stated that "we won't put our weapons down." "We will defend our country because our weapon represents our truth, it is our country, it is our children, and we will defend it all," Zelenskyy said.

Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, claimed that Russian forces halted their advance Friday in order to offer negotiations with Ukraine. Putin called Ukraine's government a "gang drug addicts and neo Nazis," repeating the propaganda Russia uses as a justification for its actions.

Peskov stated that Kyiv rejected the offer and so the Russian attack was resumed Saturday afternoon.

Zelenskyy's adviser Mykhailo Podolyak rejected this suggestion, saying that Ukraine had not refused negotiations but would not negotiate under unacceptable conditions.

Zelenskyy warned of a "full-scale storm" that night. As Saturday dawned, Vitali Klitschko reported that the "aggressor" had been neutralized and that there were no regular Russian troops in Kyiv.

Klitschko, an ex-world heavyweight boxing champion and video messager online, stated that "The enemy is trying t break into the city."

He also extended a curfew from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. local, warning that anyone found on the streets during this time would be considered enemy combatant due to Russian reconnaissance and sabotage teams.

The health ministry reported that 198 people were killed and more than 1000 injured in the country. NBC News later confirmed that the number was only civilians.

Russia has not yet reported any deaths. However, Oksana Marova, the Ukrainian ambassador in the U.S. insists that "more than 3500 Russian men won't be returning home."

NBC News could not verify these numbers.

Maj. Gen. Borys Kramenetskyi the defense attache at Embassy of Ukraine said that their forces had captured at most 200 Russian soldiers.

The major general stated that many of the teenagers are "very poorly equipped" and were 19 years old. "We allowed some of them call their parents, and they were very surprised."

The British defense ministry stated that its intelligence had shown that Russia's casualties were likely to be heavier than expected and more severe than the Kremlin acknowledged. It stated that Russia's "staunch resistance", which meant Ukraine was unable to control its airspace, meant Russia's advance continued with the bulk a little over 20 miles from Kyiv.

Even though Russian forces were prevented from entering the capital, it was still felt in the city home to 3 million people.

After the missile struck, a large hole was cut through the side of an apartment block. Although there were no reports of any injuries, the state emergency service in Ukraine stated that two people had been injured and 20 were evacuated.

Dmytro Kuleba was Ukraine's minister of foreign affairs. NBC News could not verify this claim. Russia denies targeting civilians.



 

As a result, the Russian attack on Kyiv was met with a global backlash against the unprovoked attack upon a European democracy.

The United States and the European Union made the rare move of imposing sanctions against a head of state on Friday. They targeted Putin as well as Sergey Lavrov, his Foreign Minister, and other members Russia's Security Council.

The U.S. announced Saturday that it would send an additional $350million of military aid to Ukraine. This includes anti-armor and small arms, as well as other equipment.

According to NBC News, a Russian cargo ship carrying cars bound for St. Petersburg was seized by France off the coast overnight. This was in compliance with new European Union sanctions.

A resolution of the United Nations Security Council condemning Russia's military aggression, was vetoed by Russia. The resolution was approved by the council 11-1. Russia was the only vote against, while the other three countries abstained.

According to the U.N. refugee agency, more than 120,000 Ukrainians fled Ukraine since Russia's attack.

Artillery and cruise missiles were used to bombard cities in Ukraine. Russian troops and armored vehicles have also flooded the border. Officials from the United States and Britain said that their advance was halted after they encountered more resistance from Ukraine than expected.

Russia's defense ministry claimed that it had captured Melitopol in the south. A video was posted to social media and showed a Russian flag flying over a Melitopol police station. The British government claimed it failed to capture Melitopol, a city of 150,000, or achieve any major goals within the first few days of the conflict.

James Heappey, British armed forces minister, stated to the BBC that he couldn't find any evidence to support the claim that Melitopol was lost and that it appeared to still be in Ukrainian hands.

He stated that "the reality is that the armored column that was coming down from Belarus and North that were going to encircle Kyiv were still some distance north because they have been held up in this incredible Ukrainian resistance."

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