Kyiv remains under Ukrainian control as Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy refuses to leave his country on the third day of Russia’s invasion.
Russia started its advance into the capital city Friday night but appeared to make limited progress until early Saturday morning local time when gunfire could be heard in the city center. Government officials urged people to seek shelter and avoid going near windows or out onto balconies.
A British intelligence report Saturday claimed the bulk of Russian forces are now 18.5 miles (30 kilometers) from the capital city and that Russia has failed to gain control of the airspace over Ukraine, greatly reducing the Russian Air Force’s impact and potentially leveling the fight.
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“Russian casualties are likely to be heavy and greater than anticipated or acknowledged by the Kremlin,” the report from the British Ministry of Defense said.
Zelenskyy continues to provide video updates to show that he has remained in Kyiv and will continue to lead his people even as the Russians advance toward the city center.
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“Do not believe in fake information,” Zelenskyy posted on social media after the sun came up in Kyiv on Saturday morning. “I am here. We will be defending our country because our strength is in our truth.”
Russian forces struck an apartment building with a missile in a clear violation of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s claim at the start of the invasion that “no strikes are being made on civilian infrastructure.” Around 80 residents were evacuated from the building, and at least six civilians were injured in the attack, according to a rescue worker.
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Poland’s government said Saturday morning that more than 100,000 Ukrainians had crossed the Polish-Ukrainian border in the past 48 hours. The U.N. refugee agency said Saturday that nearly 120,000 people have so far fled Ukraine into neighboring countries.
And Russian President Vladimir Putin faces opposition both domestically and internationally: Protests continue in Moscow and St. Petersburg, as well as other Russian cities, despite continued efforts to crack down on them. Over 2,300 people have been arrested at protests in Russian cities over the past two days, according to OVD info, an independent organization monitoring political persecutions.
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European officials approved sanctions on Putin and Lavrov themselves but continue to weigh the most severe sanction against Russia, which would remove it from the SWIFT bank network and effectively cut it off economically from the West.
Germany, Italy, Hungary and Cyprus resisted such an extreme measure, but Zelenskyy and Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dymtro Kuleba said Saturday that Italy and Cyprus appear to have changed their minds and support the measure.
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Zelenskyy called on European allies to decide “once and for all” on Ukraine’s membership to the European Union, saying it is a “crucial” moment.
WHD News’ Andrew Mark Miller, Brie Stimson and the contributed to this report.