A Ukrainian woman reacts next to her house following a rocket attack in the city of Kyiv. AP
Russian missiles have hit the Ukrainian town of Vasylkiv southwest of the capital, Kyiv, setting an oil terminal ablaze, the town's mayor said on Sunday.
"The enemy wants to destroy everything around," Natalia Balasinovich said in a video posted online.
Western allies are preparing sweeping new sanctions against Russia, including banishing its key banks from the main global payments system, drawing thanks from Ukraine on Sunday as its forces battled advancing Russian troops.
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.
Flames billowed into the sky before dawn from an oil depot near an air base in Vasylkiv, where there has been intense fighting, according to the town’s mayor. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office said another explosion was at the civilian Zhuliany airport.
Ukrainian soldiers walk past debris of a burning military truck in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday. AP
Photographs and video posted online showed large flames rising under the night sky. The authorities warned residents to be on alert for toxic fumes.
Ukraine’s president says his country is ready for peace talks with Russia but not in Belarus, which was a staging ground for Moscow’s 3-day-old invasion.
Speaking in a video message Sunday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy named Warsaw, Bratislava, Istanbul, Budapest or Baku as alternative venues. He said other locations are also possible but made clear that Ukraine doesn’t accept Russia’s selection of Belarus.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks during a press conference. File photo
The Kremlin said Sunday that a Russian delegation had arrived in the Belarusian city of Homel for talks with Ukrainian officials. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the delegation includes military officials and diplomats.
"The Russian delegation is ready for talks, and we are now waiting for the Ukrainians,” Peskov said.
Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday, with troops moving from Moscow’s ally Belarus in the north, and also from the east and south.
Also on Sunday morning, Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine's Luhansk province said an oil terminal was blown up by a Ukrainian missile in the town of Rovenky.
There were reports of heavy fighting near the northeastern city of Kharkiv, where Russian troops blew up a natural gas pipeline, a Ukrainian state communications agency said.
"The enemy wants to destroy everything," said the mayor of Vasylkiv, Natalia Balasinovich.
The mangled remains of a charred military truck on a street in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday. AP
Zelenskyy’s office also said Russian forces blew up a gas pipeline in Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city, prompting the government to warn people to protect themselves from the smoke by covering their windows with damp cloth or gauze.
"We will fight for as long as needed to liberate our country,” Zelenskyy vowed.
Terrified men, women and children sought safety inside and underground, and the government maintained a 39-hour curfew to keep people off the streets. More than 150,000 Ukrainians fled for Poland, Moldova and other neighboring countries, and the United Nations warned the number could grow to 4 million if fighting escalates.
President Vladimir Putin hasn’t disclosed his ultimate plans, but Western officials believe he is determined to overthrow Ukraine’s government and replace it with a regime of his own, redrawing the map of Europe and reviving Moscow’s Cold War-era influence.
To aid Ukraine's ability to hold out, the US pledged an additional $350 million in military assistance to Ukraine, including anti-tank weapons, body armor and small arms. Germany said it would send missiles and anti-tank weapons to the besieged country and that it would close its airspace to Russian planes.
Smoke and flames rise during the shelling near Kyiv. Reuters
The US, European Union and United Kingdom agreed to block "selected” Russian banks from the SWIFT global financial messaging system, which moves money around more than 11,000 banks and other financial institutions worldwide, part of a new round of sanctions aiming to impose a severe cost on Moscow for the invasion. They also agreed to impose ”restrictive measures” on Russia's central bank.
It was unclear how much territory Russian forces had seized or to what extent their advance had been stalled. Britain’s Ministry of Defense said "the speed of the Russian advance has temporarily slowed likely as a result of acute logistical difficulties and strong Ukrainian resistance.”
Germany and France joined Britain, the Nordics and Baltic states in announcing bans on Russian use of their airspace, a major escalation in a tactic by mostly Nato allies to wage economic war against Putin in retaliation for the invasion.
Russian president orders the Russian defence minister and the chief of the military’s General Staff to put the nuclear deterrent forces in a "special regime of combat duty.”
President Vladimir Putin put Russia's nuclear deterrent on high alert on Sunday in the face of a barrage of Western-led reprisals for his war on Ukraine, which said it had repelled Russian ground forces' attempts to capture urban centres.
In a statement on Saturday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) expressed particular alarm at the consequences for civilians present in Ukraine, as well as for the region, and for the international community.
The Authority said via X platform, “In recent hours, attempts to steal people's WhatsApp accounts have drastically increased, whereby fraudsters send messages through WhatsApp from names of people known to the recipient asking him/her to click on a link to join a group
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The conference is expected to strengthen the UAE’s global leadership position in climate action and sustainable development, in line with the vision and directives of its wise leadership.
The Mamiraua Institute, a research group of Brazil’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, said two more dead dolphins were found Monday in the region around Tefe Lake, which is key for mammals and fish in the area.