Timeline: 'Threatening' situation for Kyiv as Russian missiles hit city

ukraine
Timeline: 'Threatening' Situation For Kyiv As Russian Missiles Hit City Timeline: 'Threatening' Situation For Kyiv As Russian Missiles Hit City
A man clears debris at a damaged residential building at Koshytsa Street, a suburb of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, where a military shell allegedly hit, on February 25th, 2022. Getty Images
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Missiles pounded the Ukrainian capital on Friday as Russian forces pressed their advance and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy pleaded with the international community to do more, saying sanctions announced so far were not enough.

Here is a timeline of the day's developments:


10.30pm: The Russian and Ukrainian governments on Friday signalled an openness to negotiations even as authorities in Kyiv urged citizens to help defend the capital from advancing Russian forces in the worst European security crisis in decades.

Ukraine and Russia are discussing a place and time for talks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's spokesman Sergii Nykyforov said on social media.

The Kremlin said earlier on Friday it had offered to meet with Ukrainian officials in the Belarusian capital Minsk, but that Ukraine had instead proposed Warsaw as a venue, resulting in a "pause" in contacts.


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10:05pm: Russian missiles rained down on Kyiv on Friday as Russian forces advanced on the Ukrainian capital.

Artillery rounds were heard in Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv on Friday evening, a Reuters witness said. Another witness said that there was intense gunfire in western part of Kyiv.

The mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitchko said five blasts were heard in a close interval of three to five minutes near a power station in the north of the city and Russian troops were nearing.

“The emergency services are underway. We’re finding out the details,” he said. He added that bridges in the city had been taken under protection and special control, while checkpoints are being installed near strategic city objects.

“The situation now - without exaggeration - is threatening for Kyiv,” he said. “The night, close to the morning, will be very difficult”.


9.30pm: Russian President Vladimir Putin urged Ukraine's military on Friday to overthrow their political leaders and negotiate peace, while authorities in Kyiv urged citizens to help defend the capital as Russian forces advanced.


9pm: The Biden administration has announced that it will move to freeze the assets of President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, following the European Union and the United Kingdom in directly sanctioning top Russian leadership.


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8.30pm: The Tánaiste has branded Vladimir Putin the “Hitler of the 21st century”.

Leo Varadkar said the invasion of Ukraine is an “atrocity” and made it clear Ireland is not politically neutral on the issue.


8pm: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke on Friday with his Ukrainian counterpart and condemned reports of mounting civilian deaths, including those of Ukrainian children, due to attacks around Kyiv, a State Department spokesperson said.

"The Secretary expressed his outrage at the Kremlin's brutal tactics and underscored continued US support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity," spokesperson Ned Price said.

"The Secretary also emphasized to (Ukraine) Foreign Minister Kuleba that the United States would continue to provide support to Ukraine to help it defend itself against Russian aggression," Price added.


7.45pm: A BBC journalist has revealed the apartment building in Ukraine where her family lived was partially destroyed in Russian air strikes.

During a live broadcast discussing the situation in the country, Olga Malchevska confirmed the multi-storey block hit by a Russian rocket in the early hours of Friday morning was her family home in the capital Kyiv.


7pm: Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that US President Joe Biden and his counterparts have agreed to send parts of the organisation’s response force to help protect allies in the east following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.


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6pm: Russia will no longer participate in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest following the invasion of Ukraine, the competition’s producer has announced.


5.25pm: Mary Lou McDonald has said the Russian ambassador to the country should be expelled.

Alongside calling for the expulsion of Yury Filatov, the Sinn Féin leader also said that tougher sanctions needed to be levied on Russia, as the invasion of Ukraine continues.


5.15pm: A large crowd of Irish-Ukrainians gathered outside the gates of the Russian Embassy in Dublin to denounce the invasion of Ukraine.


4.50pm: Russian troops are bearing down on Ukraine’s capital, with gunfire and explosions resonating ever closer to the government quarter, in an invasion of a democratic country that has fuelled fears of wider war in Europe.


4.20pm: Ireland backs EU plans to freeze the assets of Vladimir Putin and his foreign minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said.


4pm: Thousands of Ukrainians are fleeing war at home by crossing the borders into countries to the west in search of safety as Russia pounded their capital and other cities with air strikes for a second day.


3.50pm: Pope Francis has visited the Russian embassy to personally “express his concern about the war” in Ukraine, in an extraordinary, hands-on papal gesture that has no recent precedent.


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3.05pm: US President Joe Biden and his Nato counterparts are seeking to reassure member countries on the alliance’s eastern flank that their security is guaranteed as Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine closes in on the capital Kyiv.

With Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appealing for help, Nato members ranging from Russia’s neighbour Estonia in the north down around the west of Ukraine to Bulgaria on the Black Sea coast triggered urgent consultations about their security. Only Hungary refrained.

The leaders, meeting by video call, are taking stock of Nato’s own military build-up.


2.45pm: "Last time our capital experienced anything like this was in 1941 when it was attacked by Nazi Germany," Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter.


2.40pm: The EU is close to agreement on sanctioning Putin and his Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Luxembourg said.


2.30pm: Kyiv residents are hiding in underground metro stations, in other cities residents, including tens of thousands of foreign students, crammed into bunkers and basements to shelter from a barrage of shelling.


1.55pm: Ukrainian cybersecurity officials say a hacking campaign is targeting the private email addresses of Ukrainian military personnel "and related individuals".

In an announcement posted on Facebook, Ukraine's Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) said the hackers were using password-stealing emails to break into Ukrainian soldiers' email accounts and using the compromised address books to send further malicious messages.


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1.40pm: Ukraine's defence ministry said that more than 1,000 Russian servicemen had been killed so far in the Ukrainian conflict.

"Russia has not suffered so many casualties during the fighting in any of its armed conflicts since its inception," the ministry said.


1.30pm: Switzerland will act in solidarity with the West to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine while maintaining its traditional neutrality potentially to mediate in the dispute.

While stopping short of adopting EU sanctions against Russia, Switzerland will adopt measures against targeted individuals, businesses and organisations so that they cannot use Switzerland to skirt the EU crackdown, officials told a news conference in Bern.


1.20pm: A Moldovan-flagged chemical tanker was hit by a missile near Ukraine's port of Odessa, injuring two crew members seriously, an official at Moldova's naval agency said.

"We just heard 10 minutes ago that all the crew were saved, but two were seriously injured and are on the way to hospital," Vadim Pavalachi, deputy director at the naval agency, told Reuters.


1.15pm: Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki said his government would prepare a resolution which will result in closing Poland's airspace for Russian airlines, a day after Russia attacked Ukraine.

"I have ordered the preparation of a resolution of the council of ministers which will lead to the closure of the airspace over Poland to Russian airlines," Morawiecki wrote on Twitter.


1.10pm: The European Union is planning a third round of sanctions against Moscow, an EU official said on Friday, minutes after Ukraine's president pleaded with the bloc for faster and more forceful steps to punish Russia for its invasion of his country.

The official said that ambassadors of the EU's 27 member states agreed - even before the next wave of sanctions are approved - on Friday to freeze the European assets of Russian president Vladimir Putin and foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.


12.55pm: Kyiv's mayor Vitali Klitschko said the Ukrainian capital "has entered into a defensive phase" as Russian troops brought the sounds of war to the city.


12.50pm: Russia's defence ministry said its forces had captured the strategic Hostomel aerodrome outside the Ukrainian capital Kyiv and landed paratroopers in the area.

It said the Russian military had blocked access to Kyiv from the west, and separatist forces in eastern Ukraine had attacked Ukrainian army positions with Russian army support.


12.35pm: Former German chancellor Angela Merkel said Russia's invasion of Ukraine marked a "deep rupture in Europe's history following the end of the Cold War" even as her own legacy comes under fresh scrutiny in light of the assault.

Merkel, who led Germany for 16 years until last December and was long seen as the West's key interlocutor with Russian president Vladimir Putin, said she was following the unfolding events with "great worry and sympathy".


12.20pm: Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad has called his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and supported his position regarding Ukraine, the Syrian presidency said in a statement on Friday amid the ongoing Russian invasion.


12.15pm: Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that reaction from Nato and Western countries to Russia's assault on Ukraine had not been decisive, adding he hoped a Nato summit on Friday would lead to a more determined approach from the alliance.

Nato member Turkey borders Ukraine and Russia in the Black Sea and has good ties with both. It has called on Russia to end its attack and voiced support for Ukraine's territorial integrity.


12.00pm: Pope Francis went to the Russian embassy to the Holy See on Friday and relayed his concern over Russia's invasion of Ukraine to Moscow's ambassador, the Vatican said.

It was believed to be the first time a pope has gone to an embassy during a conflict. Usually ambassadors are convoked by the secretariat of state.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said the pope spent about 30 minutes at the embassy. Bruni would not comment on a report that the pope, 85, had offered the Vatican's mediation.


11.50: The European Commission has warned Moscow that the European Union could impose more sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, a day after EU leaders agreed on a robust package of measures.

"When it comes to the sequencing of packages we have always said we have a massive package prepared, and we will be applying this package in a progressive way, responding to concrete actions by Russia, and we are not at the end," Commission spokesman Peter Stano told a daily news conference.


11.40: Coordination among European Union leaders on another sanctions package against Russia is in the early stages, a German government spokesperson said.

It comes after Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy pleaded with the international community to do more, saying sanctions announced so far were not enough.

German government spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit said that the notion of Zelenskiy seeking political asylum in Germany was not an issue at the moment and said the government would address it if it did arise.


11.30: Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has told the countries armed forces "you are all we have".


11.25: Russian tech giant Yandex YNDX.O has started warning Russian users looking for news about Ukraine on its search engine of unreliable information on the internet, after Moscow threatened Russian media over what they publish.


11.15: The range of sanctions agreed by EU leaders will “hit hard” at Russia and its economy, but will not stop the attack against Ukraine, the Taoiseach has said.

Micheál Martin said the package of measures agreed to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine is “comprehensive” and will attack the country’s finance, industry, trade, energy and transport sectors.

Mr Martin admitted that there will be “a price to pay” for European countries as a consequence of the sanctions.

He also defended the decision not to remove Russia from the Swift network, an international financial system.


11.00: The Kremlin has noted Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy's willingness to discuss a possible neutrality pledge by Ukraine, but said it could not say anything about possible talks between the two countries' leaders.

"This is a new statement. We have taken note of it. It looks like a positive development," a spokesperson said, referring to comments made by Zelenskiy in the early hours of Thursday.


10.50: Clients of Russian banks that were included on a new sanctions list will not be able to use their cards abroad or pay online in stores registered in countries that supported the sanctions, Russia's central bank said.

The cards will keep working in Russia without restrictions, it said in a statement.


10.45: The European Union is ready to bear the economic pain of imposing sanctions on Russia, which is likely to come mainly from higher energy prices, top EU finance officials said


10.40: Russia will impose retaliatory sanctions on Western nations on the basis of reciprocity, the Kremlin said on Friday.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said sanctions would cause problems for Russia, but they would be solvable, as it had reduced its dependence on foreign imports.

He declined to comment on how long Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which prompted the sanctions, would last and said questions about Ukrainian civilian deaths should be referred to the military.


10.30: The Russian foreign minister has said it does not want "neo-nazis" to rule Ukraine. He said Russia has no plans to attack the Ukrainian people.


10.25: Turkey cannot stop Russian warships accessing the Black Sea via its straits, as Ukraine has requested, due to a clause in an international pact that allows vessels to return to their home base, the Turkish foreign minister said on Friday.

Ukraine has appealed to Turkey to block Russian warships from passing through the Dardanelles and Bosphorus straits which lead to the Black Sea, after Moscow on Thursday launched a full-blown assault on Ukraine from land, air and sea


10.20: The Russian foreign minister has said Russia does not see how it could recognise the current Ukrainian government as democratic.


10.15: Russia's economy ministry said it was working on measures to minimise the effect of Western sanctions imposed after Russia's invasion of Ukraine and would be stepping up trade and economic ties with Asian countries.

"We understand that the sanctions pressure we have faced since 2014 will now intensify," the ministry said.

"The rhetoric of some of our foreign colleagues was such that we have been ready for potential new sanctions for a long time."


10.10: Virgin Atlantic said on Friday it would avoid Russian airspace, meaning flights between Britain, India and Pakistan would take slightly longer.

"We apologise for any inconvenience caused to customers by slightly longer flight times," a spokesperson said.


10.05: People fleeing war in Ukraine have poured into Poland, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia. It has been mostly women and children crossing, after Ukraine restricted passage for men between 18 and 60 years old.

Local media in Poland said some had waited 16-18 hours to cross into Medyka in southern Poland in freezing temperatures.


10.00: Russia denied carrying out missile strikes on the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on Friday, Russian news agencies cited a defence ministry source as saying, after Ukraine accused Moscow of attacking residential areas.

The same source told Russian media that the aircraft downed over Kyiv on Friday morning was a Ukrainian fighter jet hit by friendly fire.


9.55: Russian-backed separatist leaders expect their troops to move outwards to the borders of Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions very soon, Russian news agencies quoted separatist leaders as saying.

The separatists - whose independence Moscow recognised this week before launching a full-scale invasion of Ukraine - currently control only parts of those provinces.


9.45: Western partners were still discussing whether to stop Russia's access to the SWIFT international payment system, Lithuanian prime minister Ingrida Simonyte said.

"It's a question of further negotiations, convincing and evaluating the situation. The question is not closed," said Simonyte, who was wearing a sports jersey in the colours of the Ukrainian flag.


9.35: Loud blasts were heard in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on Friday, a witness told Reuters, as missile strikes and air raid alerts were reported in a number of cities in Ukraine.


9.30: Russia's upper house speaker said Moscow has prepared retaliatory sanctions against the West and know's weaknesses to target.


9.25: The governor of Russia's southern Belgorod province said on Friday that seven residential buildings in the region had been damaged by shelling from Ukraine, Russia's RIA news agency reported.


9.15: Ukraine's nuclear agency said on Friday it was recording increased radiation levels from the site of the defunct Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

Experts at the agency did not provide exact radiation levels but said the change was due to the movement of heavy military equipment in the area lifting radioactive dust into the air.


9.10: Gunfire has been reported near the government district in the Ukraine capital of Kyiv.


9.00: Ukraine's chief of staff has said Russia are using Gomel Airfield in Belarus for Kyiv assault.


8.55: European bank shares rebounded early Friday from steep falls a day earlier, even as bankers wrestle with the impact of a slew of sanctions following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.


8.45: Russia has banned British airlines from landing at its airports or crossing its airspace, its state civil aviation regulator said on Friday. The move follows London's ban on the flights of Russian flag carrier Aeroflot imposed in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.


8.35: Russian forces have captured Zmiinyi Island in the Black Sea, where 82 Ukrainian soldiers surrendered to them, Russia's defence ministry said. Ukrainian officials have said that all 13 border guards deployed on the island south of the port city of Odessa were killed by arms fire from a Russian warship.


8.30: Ukrainian presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak has said that Russs's aim is to take Kyiv and kill Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Podolyak said Zelenskiy is currently still in Kyiv. The country is experiencing fuel shortages.


8:20: Russia bombed 33 civilian sites in its assault on Ukraine in the last 24 hours, Kyiv's interior ministry said, according to Interfax news agency.


Air raid sirens wailed over Kyiv amid unconfirmed reports that a Russian plane had been shot down and crashed into a building a day after Russian president Vladimir Putin launched an invasion that has shocked the world.

A senior Ukrainian official said Russian forces would enter areas just outside the capital, Kyiv, later on Friday and that Ukrainian troops were defending positions on four fronts despite being outnumbered.

An estimated 100,000 people fled as explosions and gunfire rocked major cities. Dozens have been reported killed. Russian troops seized the Chernobyl former nuclear power plant north of Kyiv as they advanced on the city from Belarus.

US and Ukrainian officials say Russia aims to capture Kyiv and topple the government, which Putin regards as a puppet of the United States.

Zelenskiy said he understood Russian troops were coming for him but vowed to stay in Kyiv.

"(The) enemy has marked me down as the number one target," Zelenskiy said in a video message.

"My family is the number two target. They want to destroy Ukraine politically by destroying the head of state."

"I will stay in the capital. My family is also in Ukraine."

War in Europe

Russia launched its invasion by land, air and sea on Thursday following a declaration of war by Putin, in the biggest attack on a European state since World War Two.

Putin says Russia is carrying out "a special military operation" to stop the Ukrainian government from committing genocide against its own people - an accusation the West calls baseless. He also says Ukraine is an illegitimate state whose lands historically belong to Russia.

Ukrainian forces downed an enemy aircraft over Kyiv early on Friday, which then crashed into a residential building and set it ablaze, said Anton Herashchenko, an adviser to the interior minister.

It was unclear whether the aircraft was manned or whether it could be a missile. Kyiv municipal authorities said at least eight people were injured when the object crashed into an apartment block.

"Horrific Russian rocket strikes on Kyiv," foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter. "Last time our capital experienced anything like this was in 1941 when it was attacked by Nazi Germany."

Authorities said intense fighting was under way in the city of Sumy in the northeast.

A border post in the southeastern Zaporizhzhya region had been hit by missiles, causing deaths and injuries among border guards, and air raid sirens sounded over the city of Lviv in the west of the country.

Asked if he was worried about Zelenskiy's safety, US secretary of state Antony Blinken told CBS: "To the best of my knowledge, President Zelenskiy remains in Ukraine at his post, and of course we're concerned for the safety of all of our friends in Ukraine - government officials and others."

Sanctions build

A democratic nation of 44 million people, Ukraine voted for independence at the fall of the Soviet Union and has recently stepped up efforts to join the Nato military alliance and the European Union, aspirations that infuriate Moscow.

The United States, Britain, Japan, Canada, Australia and the EU unveiled more sanctions on Moscow on top of penalties earlier this week, including a move by Germany to halt an $11 billion (€9.8 billion)gas pipeline from Russia.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell described the bloc's measures as "the harshest package of sanctions we have ever implemented".

China came under pressure over its refusal to call Russia's assault an invasion.

US President Joe Biden, speaking to reporters at the White House, said: "Any nation that countenances Russia's naked aggression against Ukraine will be stained by association." He declined to comment directly on China's position.

The UN Security Council will vote on Friday on a draft resolution that would condemn Russia's invasion and require Moscow's immediate withdrawal. However, Moscow can veto the measure, and it was unclear how China would vote.

Russia is one of the world's biggest energy producers, and both it and Ukraine are among the top exporters of grain. War and sanctions will disrupt economies around the world.

Oil prices soared as much as $2 per barrel on Friday as markets brace for the impact of trade sanctions on major crude exporter Russia.

US wheat futures hit their highest in nearly 14 years, corn hovered near an eight-month peak and soybeans rebounded on fears of grain supply disruptions from the key Black Sea region.

Airlines were also facing disruptions, with Japan Airlines cancelling its Thursday evening flight to Moscow and Britain closing its airspace to Russian carriers. - Reuters

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