Russian attacks hit Ukraine’s fuel supply and airfields | News, Sports, Jobs
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia has 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 arms and ammunition for the outnumbered Ukrainians and powerful sanctions designed 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 metro stations ahead of a full-scale assault by Russian forces.
Flames rose into the pre-dawn sky from an oil depot near an airbase in Vasylkiv, where there was heavy fighting, according to the town’s mayor. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office said another explosion occurred at Zhuliany civilian airport.
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 a damp cloth or the gauze.
“We will fight as long as it takes to liberate our country,” Zelensky swore.
Terrified men, women and children sought safety indoors and underground, and the government maintained a 39-hour curfew to keep people out of the streets. More than 150,000 Ukrainians have fled to Poland, Moldova and other neighboring countries, and the United Nations has warned the number could rise to 4 million if fighting escalates.
President Vladimir Putin has not disclosed his ultimate plans, but Western officials believe he is determined to overthrow the Ukrainian government and replace it with his own regime, redraw the map of Europe and revive the influence of Moscow during the Cold War era.
To help Ukraine hold its ground, the United States pledged an additional $350 million in military aid to Ukraine, including anti-tank weapons, body armor and small arms. Germany said it would send anti-tank missiles and weapons to the beleaguered country and close its airspace to Russian planes.
The United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom have agreed to block “selected” Russian banks in the global financial messaging system SWIFT, which transfers money to more than 11,000 banks and other financial institutions around the world, in a new round of sanctions aimed at imposing a steep cost on Moscow for the invasion. They also agreed to impose “restrictive measures” on the Central Bank of Russia.
Responding to a request from Ukraine’s digital transformation minister, tech billionaire Elon Musk said on Twitter that his Starlink satellite internet system was now active in Ukraine and there were “more terminals along the way.”
It was unclear how much territory the Russian forces had seized or how much of their advance had been blocked. The UK Ministry of Defense said “The speed of the Russian advance temporarily slowed, probably due to acute logistical difficulties and strong Ukrainian resistance.”
A senior US defense official said that more than half of the Russian combat power that was massed along Ukraine’s borders had entered the country and that Moscow had to commit more fuel supplies and weapons. other support units inside Ukraine than originally planned. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the US internal assessments.
The curfew forcing everyone in Kyiv indoors was due to last until Monday morning. The relative calm of the capital was sporadically disturbed by gunfire.
The fighting on the outskirts of the city suggested that small Russian units were trying to clear a path for the main forces. Small groups of Russian troops were reported inside Kiev, but Britain and the United States said the bulk of forces were 30 kilometers from the city center on Saturday afternoon.
Russia says its assault on Ukraine from the north, east and south is aimed only at military targets, but bridges, schools and residential neighborhoods have been hit.