Ukrainian forces fought off Russian troops in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv on Friday on the second day of a conflict that has claimed dozens of lives, as Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the Ukrainian army to remove the country’s leadership, foreign media reported.
The sound of gunfire has echoed through Ukraine’s capital Kyiv as Russian tanks were filmed entering the city for the first time.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence called on those living in the northern outskirts, where the tanks were seen, to make firebombs “to neutralise the enemy”.
The European Union has announced new sanctions to freeze Vladimir Putin’s personal assets in Europe.
The Kremlin, meanwhile, says that Russia is ready for talks with Ukraine.
Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said talks would have to be about Ukraine declaring a “neutral status” – which would include “demilitarisation”. Russia wants Ukraine to rule out ever joining Nato.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly called for talks with Mr Putin, but has given no sign that he would agree to talks on the basis of “demilitarisation”.
Overnight, Kyiv was hit by blasts, with at least one block of flats damaged and several civilians injured.
Russia has denied carrying out strikes.
An unnamed source at Russia’s defence ministry also said a plane shot down over Kyiv was Ukrainian, Reuters news agency reports. Ukraine has said the jet was Russian.
As the second day of fighting began, Moscow – which is attacking from the east, north and south – appeared to have Kyiv firmly in its sights. Mayor Vitali Klitschko said “the enemy” was trying to put Kyiv “on its knees”.
On Friday afternoon, Russia’s defence ministry announced it had captured the Antonov airport, using 200 helicopters and a landing force in order to take the base to the north of Kyiv from Ukraine. Western intelligence officials warned earlier that Russia was building an “overwhelming force” to take control of the city.
Citizens in the northern Obolon district have been told to stay at home to avoid “active military operations” by city officials, Reuters adds. Obolon is the same area where it appeared tanks were filmed earlier in the day.
The Ministry of Defence had already appealed to the district’s residents on its Facebook page to “inform us of troop movements, to make Molotov cocktails [firebombs] and neutralise the enemy”.
Overnight, families took shelter in Kyiv’s metro stations as aerial attacks struck the city, including the densely populated Pozniake area, injuring at least eight.
“Putin, we want to see you slaughtered like an animal,” one Kyiv resident told the BBC’s Nick Beake.
“How we can live through it in our time?” Oxana Gulenko asked Reuters as she cleaned up broken glass from one blast. “What should we think. Putin should be burnt in hell along with his whole family.”