Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has remained defiant as his forces still control Kiev over past multiple hours of explosions and fighting on the outskirts of the capital city.
“The fate of Ukraine is being decided now,” he had said in a prior social media address. “Special attention is on Kyiv — we should not lose the capital. The enemy will use all the possible forces they have to break our resistance. They will be mean and hard. Tonight they will begin a full scale storm.”
“I’m here,” he later said in a Saturday morning post standing near the presidential office in Kiev. Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko also on Saturday said that while the “night was difficult” it remains “there are no Russian troops in the capital” – though many parts are now looking like a war zone. Zelensky followed up by saying that Ukraine has “derailed” Russia’s attack plan.
#Kiev: Literally a war zone. pic.twitter.com/HgFU3zwpjc
— Ragıp Soylu (@ragipsoylu) February 26, 2022
“The enemy is trying to break into the city,” Klitschko said, after local officials confirmed at least 35 injured as of 6am local time. And Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba referenced “horrific Russian rocket strikes” while explaining in a social media statement that the “Last time our capital experienced anything like this was in 1941 when it was attacked by Nazi Germany. Ukraine defeated that evil and will defeat this one. Stop Putin. Isolate Russia. Severe all ties. Kick Russia out of everywhere.”
The Pentagon has said that Russia now has mechanized forces which were sent via Belarus within 20 miles of Kiev, according to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin who earlier briefed lawmakers. The US has continued vowing to send more weapons in support of Ukraine national forces.
Russia’s Defense Ministry is currently disputing that it targeted a residential building in Kiev. The attack on the apartment building has been widely reported within the last hours also as shocking video and photographs emerge showing a chunk of multiple floors having been blown out.
A residential building has been hit in Kiev. Looks bad pic.twitter.com/KNOm8TfK40
— Ragıp Soylu (@ragipsoylu) February 26, 2022
According to Fox News:
The Russian Ministry of Defense has denied reports that one of its missiles struck a residential building in Kyiv, claiming the damage was caused by a Ukrainian anti-aircraft projectile, Russian state news agencies reported on Saturday, citing a source at the ministry.
“The information disseminated on social networks about a Russian missile attack on a residential building on Lobanovsky Avenue in Kyiv is not true,” the defense ministry source said, according to TASS and RIA Novosti. “The nature of the damage to the house indicates that an anti-aircraft missile hit it. This is clearly visible on the video.”
On Friday there was a showdown in the United Nations Security Council. Russia of course vetoed a formal denunciation of the invasion of Ukraine. The real surprise, however, came when the countries of China, India, and the United Arab Emirates abstained from the vote, with the remaining 11 council members voting in favor.
#Sumy: I think this is the first documented use of Molotov cocktail used on Russian equipment in #Ukraine.pic.twitter.com/bkeEpgWmu5
— marqs (@MarQs__) February 26, 2022
Though details or confirmation have remained unclear in the ongoing ‘fog of war’ which makes verification difficult, on Friday Ukrainian forces said they downed a Russian transport plane carrying paratroopers…
??⚡️?? General Staff of #Ukraine army said they downed a Russian Il-76 transport plane with paratroopers in the Vasilkov area pic.twitter.com/2W7cch3yF6
— Ali Özkök (@Ozkok_A) February 25, 2022
China, India, and UAE represent an outsized chunk of the global economy and their abstention strongly suggests that it won’t be so easy to gain global adherence to a strong Washington and EU-led sanctions regimen.
“The world is united against Russia!” Media barely notice that the two most populous nations on earth–India and China–both abstained in the UN Security Council vote condemning Russia.
— George Szamuely (@GeorgeSzamuely) February 26, 2022
Meanwhile, the Friday assault on Kiev may have been even more severe, but it’s since emerged that Putin ordered a pause on the Russian military advance pending negotiations. Moscow then said it resumed the assault as “Kiev refused the talks” – a narrative which is being disputed by Kiev.
Civilians in the capital, Kiev, take up arms to defend their country#Ukraine #UkraineUnderAttack #Russia #UkraineRussiaWar pic.twitter.com/LegDKRWziz
— UKRAINIAN WAR (@ukrainainwar) February 26, 2022
Kremlin spokesman Peskov said, “Yesterday, in the light of pending talks with the Ukrainian leadership, the commander-in-chief, the president of Russia, ordered a suspension of the advance of the main group of Russian armed forces in Ukraine.”