After a night of street fighting, gunfire, and explosions, Kyiv awakens

After a night of street fighting, gunfire, and explosions, Kyiv awakens

Gunfire and explosions rocked Kyiv overnight Saturday, as Russian forces advanced further toward the capital and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that the fate of the nation was “being decided right now.” Municipal authorities said fighting was taking place in the streets and told residents to find shelter.

At least four dozen explosions were heard early Saturday morning local time, followed shortly after by loud bursts of gunfire. Some clashes appeared to take place near the seat of government and videos verified by The Washington Post depicted fires and billowing smoke, as well as the sound of live rounds, on a major road some seven miles west of the legislature. Later, the Ukrainian military said they had destroyed combat vehicles in the area’s vicinity.

Zelensky continued to present a grim but defiant face as the Kremlin assault on his country enters a third day. As daylight broke, an unshaven Zelensky posted a video of himself apparently in the capital’s streets, as proof he was still there. The United States, which fears the city will soon fall, has offered to help him leave Kyiv. But he has pledged to remain in his post as head of state.

Here’s what to know

  • President Biden has authorized the Pentagon to send up to $350 million of security assistance to Ukraine. The package will include “defense articles” as well as military education and training for Ukrainian forces. Earlier in the day, the White House asked Congress to approve $6.4 billion in new emergency aid to assist Ukraine.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin called on Ukraine’s armed forces to “take power” from Zelensky and a group in Kyiv that the Russian president described as “neo-Nazis.”
  • The United Nations failed to adopt a U.S.-backed resolution condemning the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine after Russia vetoed the measure. Beijing’s decision to abstain was seen as an achievement for the U.S.
  • NATO will deploy troops from an alliance response force for the first time, as the Western military bloc seeks to respond with strength to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The alliance said “thousands of troops” would be deployed to countries as part of the activation.

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