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`Invading Russian forces have closed in on Ukraine’s capital in an apparent encircling movement after a barrage of air attacks on cities and military bases around the country.

Frequent artillery blasts could be heard in Kyiv in the early hours of Saturday, coming from an unspecified location some distance from the city centre, according to the Reuters news agency.

The invasion of Ukraine began early on Thursday with missile attacks on cities and military bases, followed by a multipronged ground assault that rolled troops in from separatist-held areas in the east; from the southern region of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014; and from Belarus to the north.

The assault, anticipated for weeks by the West, amounts to Europe’s most significant ground conflict since World War II. It is unclear how much or little Russian forces have seized or the extent of the casualties.

Here is what we know about the conflict so far:

‘This night they will storm’

With growing signs that Russia aims to overthrow him, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told European Union leaders in a video link-up from his bunker late on Thursday that it might be the last time they saw him alive.

But on Friday, Zelenskyy released a video of himself and his senior aides outside the presidential office in Kyiv to reassure Ukrainians that he and other top officials would stay in the capital.

He later appealed for a ceasefire and warned in a bleak statement of an impending Russian assault in Kyiv and other cities across the country.

“This night they will storm,” he said. “We must withstand tonight.”

Why has Putin attacked Ukraine?

“We are fighting on the defensive against an offensive from Russia for our right to exist and to live.”

“Ukraine is an independent country; Ukraine is not Russia,” says Ukrainian Member of Parliament, Lesia Vasylenko, speaking to Marc Lamont Hill from the capital, Kyiv.

As Russia’s onslaught on Ukraine continues and Russian troops push on with their advance on Kyiv, Vasylenko says she, like most Ukrainians, is preparing for the worst.

“I have learned in these eight years to hope for the best and prepare for the worst, as did many other Ukrainians. But to be honest, nothing can prepare you for full-on war with the biggest military power in Europe, the third-biggest military power in the world.”

Vasylenko says, in her view, it is obvious that Russian President Vladimir Putin does not want an independent Ukraine. “Putin wants Ukraine inside of Russia,” she says, adding that the Russian leader’s “master plan is to eradicate an independent Ukraine from the face of the earth”.

On UpFront, Marc Lamont Hill speaks with Ukrainian MP Lesia Vasylenko and asks why she believes President Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and whether the international community is doing enough to support Ukraine.

Published On 25 Feb 202225 Feb 2022

At least 21 killed, 112 wounded in shelling of Kharkiv: Ukrainian official

At least 21 people have been killed and 112 wounded in shelling in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv in the last 24 hours, regional governor Oleg Synegubov has said.

The authorities said Russian missile attacks hit the centre of Ukraine’s second-largest city, including residential areas and the regional administration building.

Here is what we know about the conflict so far:



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