WAR IN UKRAINE: LAST
- Russia says it is not ready to negotiate with the Ukrainian government until the military operation is over
- Came after Zelenskiy called for a meeting with Putin to end hostilities
- Putin said he was ready to send a team of negotiators to meet with Zelensky – in Belarus, which is helping with the invasion
- Then the President of Russia called on the Ukrainian military to overthrow the “regime” in Kyiv
- Chinese President Xi spoke with Putin by phone and called for a diplomatic solution to the conflict
- Ukraine said that over the past 24 hours, Russia has bombed 33 civilian targets in Kyiv.
- It is reported that two children were killed in an explosion in Kyiv overnight.
- Ukraine has banned men between the ages of 18 and 60 from leaving the country to be drafted into the armed forces.
- Zelensky allowed anyone of any age to join the military and encouraged Europeans from other countries to come and join the fight.
- Russia is moving paratroopers to Chernobyl after its capture yesterday, Moscow said.
- Ukraine has reported “abnormal” levels of radiation at the nuclear power plant amid fears that the nuclear storage facility had been breached during the fighting, but Moscow said the readings were normal.
- Russia claims to have destroyed 118 Ukrainian military facilities in 30 hours of fighting
- Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised that additional support would be provided to Ukraine in the coming days.
- Johnson shared a phone conversation with Zelensky on Friday morning
The Ukrainian president has warned that the Russians intend to take Kyiv overnight and urged his compatriots to resist the expected onslaught as Western officials say the city is surrounded.
Volodymyr Zelensky, addressing the nation from a secret location in the capital, on Friday night issued a dire warning to his militant and recalcitrant people.
“Russia will try with all its might to break our resistance,” he said in a video posted on social media.
“Tonight the enemy will begin to storm us. We must resist them!
Zelensky said that Chernihiv, Symy, Kharkiv, Donbass and the south could also be hit.
Vitali Klitschko, a former world heavyweight boxing champion and current mayor of Kyiv, said his city is in for a “tough night”.
The UK Ministry of Defense said they believe Kyiv, home to 1.4 million people, is close to encirclement as the Russians advance from all sides.
Friday night in New York, a UN resolution calling on Moscow to end its attack on Ukraine and withdraw its troops was vetoed by Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council.
Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin on Friday urged Ukrainian troops to overthrow their own government and start negotiations with the Kremlin.
“It looks like it will be easier for us to negotiate with you than with this gang of drug addicts and neo-Nazis,” he said.
There was little sign that the Ukrainian generals were tempted, and Russia appears to have been somewhat taken aback by the extent of Ukrainian resistance and their ability to defend their country.
However, there was no doubt that Russia’s overwhelming military superiority would soon come to fruition.
With 900,000 troops, Russia has the world’s fourth largest armed force, and more than a decade of reforms and procurement have made it a dangerous adversary.
Ukraine has just 361,000 troops, even though Zelenskiy on Thursday ordered a full mobilization of troops and banned men aged 18-60 from leaving the country in preparation for a nationwide effort.
The highly motivated Ukrainian infantry has modern weapons and protective equipment, including N-LAW and Javelin anti-tank missiles provided by the UK and the US.
With Russia’s advance slower than expected, fears surfaced Friday night that Putin might resort to powerful thermobaric weapons, dubbed the “father of all bombs,” as brave Ukrainians resist his attempts to take control of Kyiv.
There are also fears that units that are behind schedule as they face stiff resistance may resort to indiscriminate shelling as a weapon of terror.
Thermobaric weapons, also known as vacuum bombs, are powerful explosives that use the atmosphere itself as part of the explosion. They are among the most powerful non-nuclear weapons ever created.
Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine, addresses the nation on Friday evening.
Thanks to all members of the UN Security Council 🇦🇱 🇧🇷 🇫🇷 🇬🇦 🇬🇭 🇮🇪 🇰🇪 🇳🇴 🇳🇴 🇬🇧 🇬🇦 🇬🇭 🇬🇧 🇳🇴 🇬🇧 🇬🇧 🇬🇧 🇬🇧 🇬🇧 🇬🇧 🇬🇧 🇬🇧 🇬🇧 🇬🇧 🇬🇧 🇬🇧 🇬🇧 🇬🇧 who voted to stop 🇬🇺 the treacherous attack on 🇺🇦 & 🇺🇳 Charter. A veto 🇬🇧 is a bloodstain on his sign in the Security Council, a map of Europe and 🌎. The anti-war coalition must act immediately!
— Vladimir Zelensky (@ZelenskyyUa) February 25, 2022
Russian armor is now advancing on Kyiv from the north and east, and US intelligence says the plan is to lay siege to the city, capture the airport, and land paratroopers who will then attack the capital. The goal would be to take over the government and force it to sign a peace treaty returning control of the country to Russia or a Russian puppet.
Ukrainian soldiers line up across a highway in Kyiv, preparing to defend the city from Russian attackers, as gunfire and explosions are heard in the center of the capital.
Soldiers tasked with defending Kyiv from advancing Russian troops take up position under a highway leading into the city.
A thermobaric bomb dropped by the US on the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2017 weighed 21,600 pounds and left a crater more than 1,000 feet wide after detonating six feet above the ground.
Thermobaric weapons were developed by both the US and the Soviet Union in the 1960s. In September 2007, Russia detonated the most powerful thermobaric munition ever created, which produced an explosion equivalent to 39.9 tons.
The American version of the weapon is reportedly worth over $16 million each.
“I fear that if they fail to meet their deadlines and goals, they will use violence indiscriminately,” the Western official said.
“They do not adhere to the same principles of necessity, proportionality and the rule of law as Western powers.”
The bomb works by using oxygen from the surrounding air to create a high-temperature explosion, making it far more lethal than conventional weapons.
While Russian special forces have reached the suburbs of Kyiv, it is believed that the bulk of Russian heavy equipment is still more than 30 miles from the capital.