Street fighting intensifies in Kyiv in resistance to Russian invasion

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Feb. 26 (UPI) — Street fighting intensified Saturday as Ukrainian defense forces resisted the Russian invasion and battled to keep control of the capital, Kyiv.

Bursts of gunfire and explosions could be heard in the heart of the city, Maidan Nezalezhnosti, The New York Times reported. The location, also known as Independence Square, was also the site of 2014 Ukrainian protests that led to the toppling of a pro-Moscow government.

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Fighting raged early Saturday morning in Victory Square, a little over a mile from the city center Maidan square, around the city’s train station and along a central thoroughfare, Bohdan Khmelnitsy Street, Ukrayinska Pravda reported.

As fighting continued to slow the Russian advance, a bridge was blown up on the Kyiv-Zhytomyr highway, killing one child and injuring four people, the Ukrainian news outlet reported.

Altogether, 35 people, including two children, were injured by enemy combat operations in Kyiv as of Saturday morning, amid several fights, according to Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko.

At least six people were injured when Russian rocket fire struck a high-rise apartment building in Kyiv, the Ukrainian government’s emergency services said in an update with images and video showing extensive damage to the building, including outer walls torn away completely.

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Ukrainian troops were fighting to hold onto Kyiv after Russia established attack lines, along with the two other cities, including Kharkiv in the northeast and Kherson in the south.

Since the Russian forces invaded Ukraine late Thursday, 198 civilians have been killed, including three children, and another 1,115 civilians have been injured, including 33 children, Ukraine’s health minister said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address Saturday morning he has no plans on the army backing down despite “fake information online.”

“”There’s a lot of fake information online that I call on our army to lay down arms, and that there’s an evacuation,” he said. “I’m here. We won’t lay down our arms. We will defend our state, our territory, our Ukraine, our children.”