Feb. 25 (UPI) — Ukrainian officials said Friday that Russia has attacked civilian targets including Kyiv as its invasion enters its second day and troops advance on the populated capital city.
President Volodymyr Zelensky told his people in an early morning address that Russia resumed launching missiles at about 4 a.m. and has been targeting civilian areas despite the Kremlin’s claims to the contrary.
“They say that civilian objects are not a target for them. This is a lie. In fact, they do not distinguish in which areas to operate,” he said. “The military and civilians are equally under Russian attack.”
He said the explosions over Kyiv are reminiscent of attacks on the capital during World War II.
Ukraine’s air defense forces were protecting their skies, he said, as “enemy aircraft operate treacherously over residential areas.”
Hanna Malyar, Ukraine’s deputy minister of defense, posted a video of a residential building on fire in Kyiv, stating missile strikes are occurring across the city.
“The first days are the hardest because right now the enemy will either feel the advantage or be broken physically and mentally,” she said. “Russian military have already felt the power of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. But it’s important that the resistance is done by all.”
The Ministry of Defense on social medial informed residents of Kyiv’s Obolon district where the military is fighting Russian troops to prepare Molotov cocktails and not leave their homes.
Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s minister of foreign affairs, confirmed that rocket strikes have hit the capital.
“Last time our capital experienced anything like this was in 1941 when it was attacked by Nazi Germany,” he tweeted. “Ukraine defeated that evil and will defeat this one.”
The president said at least one building was hit in Kyiv, where there is a 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew.
The city’s major, Vitali Klitschko, said a residential building was under threat of collapse after it was hit by rocket fragments.
Ukraine’s State Emergency Service said at least eight people were injured, 20 rescued and 150 people were evacuated from the building.
The president’s address followed one he gave only hours earlier in which he said saboteurs had entered they city and that he was Russia’s “number one target.”
Zelensky said at the end of the first day of fighting that 137 Ukrainians were killed and 316 were wounded.
Malyar said that as of 3 a.m. Friday, her forces have killed 800 Russian soldiers and destroyed more than 30 tanks, seven airplanes and six helicopters.
Russia launched an attack on Ukraine early Thursday following weeks of warnings from the United States and Western partners/
President Vladimir Putin described the attack as a “special operation,” which followed the Kremlin stating breakaway eastern Ukrainian regions that Putin had declared independent days earlier had asked for military assistance.