Russian troops entered Ukraine’s second-largest city of Kharkiv and fighting is underway in the streets, according to the Associated Press.
Videos posted on Ukrainian media and social networks showed Russian vehicles moving across Kharkiv and a light vehicle burning on the street. Residents were urged to stay inside.
The troops in Kharkiv arrived hours after Russia unleashed a wave of attacks on Ukraine targeting airfields and fuel facilities.
Two large explosions rocked an area south of the capital just before 1 am local time. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office said one of the blasts was near the Zhuliany airport and the other blast hit an oil depot about 25 miles south of the capital, according to the mayor of Vasylkiv via the AP. Russian forces also blew up a gas pipeline in Kharkivthe country’s second-largest city, according to the Ukrainian president’s office.
The United Nations says it has confirmed at least 240 civilian casualties, including at least 64 people killed in the fighting in Ukraine that erupted since Russia’s invasion on Thursday, according to the AP. Though, the UN believes the “real figures are considerably higher” because many reports of casualties remain to be confirmed.
Meanwhile, the United States and its European allies agreed to remove “selected” Russian banks from the international SWIFT messaging system, which allows for the movement of financial transactions.
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WHY IS RUSSIA INVADING UKRAINE?: Could this be the start of WWIII? We explain.
BACK IN THE STATES: What is the draft? And can it ever be reinstated here?
BANNED FROM SWIFT?: How banning Russia from the world banking system could impact the country
Russia unleashed a wave of attacks on Ukraine targeting airfields and fuel facilities in what appeared to be the next phase of an invasion that has been slowed by fierce resistance. The US and EU responded with weapons and ammunition for the outnumbered Ukrainians and powerful sanctions intended to further isolate Moscow.
Huge explosions lit up the sky early Sunday south of the capital, Kyiv, where people hunkered down in homes, underground garages and subway stations in anticipation of a full-scale assault by Russian forces.
‘You cannot defeat a whole nation’
On Sunday morning, Ukranian writer Illarion Pavliuk plans to set out on a dangerous journey to help his countrymen as explosions rock Kyiv, and outgunned Ukrainian forces continue to maintain control of their capital.
Pavliuk is not a solider, but he does have a military background. In 2015, he was an intelligence volunteer in the war in Eastern Ukraine. And yet, this is what Ukraine has become – a country where internationally acclaimed artists are forced to kiss their children goodnight before they go off to defend their homeland from the occupying force. “We will never give up and we are going to win this war. You cannot defeat the whole nation. And Ukrainians are absolutely united as a nation now.”
His words are haunting and powerful, with his children in the background.
“What can I tell you about this war? It is difficult to say a couple of words,” he says. “I would never ever imagine my four children dropping their toys and running to sit in the thickest doorway in the house because of cruise missiles above our city; ballistic missiles.
“And I would never imagine this and I will never forgive Russia.”
– Carli Pierson, USA TODAY
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism