New Delhi/Kyiv: Russia’s advance party in invasion force left a trail of damage as clashes erupted inside Ukraine’s capital Kyiv for the first time, amid rising fears the city is about to be stormed or come under siege.
Pedestrians were seen running for safety as small arms fire and explosions erupted in the Obolonsky district in Kyiv’s north. Larger blasts could be witnessed in the city centre, where residents endured a first tense night under curfew and the bombing sounds, news agency AFP reported.
According to the Ukrainian ministry of defence, the clash had been provoked by “an enemy sabotage and reconnaissance group”. Russian forces initially arrived on the outskirts of Kyiv on Thursday when waves of helicopter-borne troops assaulted the Gostomel airfield just outside the city, close to Obolonsky.
However, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed to remain in Kyiv as his troops battled Russian invaders in the biggest attack on a European state since World War Two. “(The) enemy has marked me down as the number one target,” Zelensky warned via a video message.
“My family is the number two target. I will stay in the capital. My family is also in Ukraine,” he was quoted as saying by various agencies.
“Russian President Vladimir Putin is prepared to send a delegation of high-ranking officials to Minsk to hold talks with Kiev- Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov,” Russian Embassy in India was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Meanwhile, the first batch of Indian students have left Chernivtsi for the Ukraine-Romania border. A group of around 40 Indian medical students of Daynlo Halytsky Medical University, Lviv walk towards the Ukraine-Poland border for evacuation. They were dropped around 8 kms from the border point by a college bus.
European Union agreed to freeze European assets linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov over Ukraine invasion, reported AFP.