137 killed and 316 injured as Russian forces advance to Kyiv

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KYIV, 25 Feb: On Thursday night, Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, said a total of 137 people were killed and another 316 wounded in yesterday’s fighting as Russian forces are slowly advancing into Kyiv.

According to Reuters, the total figures included the Ukrainian armed forces personnel and civilians who were in the midst of fighting and bombings.

The figures are expected to increase in the coming days as civilian evacuations and prolonged fighting continue within the region.

Following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s declaration of war on live television yesterday, it was reported by the Ukrainian presidential office that the Chernobyl power plant was the first location to fall to the Russian army as Moscow mounted an assault via land, sea and air.

Amongst the other areas undergoing fierce fighting included Hostomel Airport, which has since been recaptured by the Ukrainian armed forces, while other regions such as Sumy and Kharkiv in the northeast are experiencing heavy shelling by the Russians.

Ukraine’s military said it had destroyed four Russian tanks on a road near the eastern city of Kharkiv, killed 50 troops near a town in the Luhansk region, and downed six Russian warplanes elsewhere in the east.

Since then, Putin has denied all allegations of planned military occupation, to which he has told the Russian media that his actions were needed to disarm Ukrainian nationalists.

An estimated 100,000 Ukrainians have fled their homes to cross into neighbouring countries, including Romania, Poland, Moldova and Hungary.

Civilians were seen flocking to the borders to escape the fighting which was brewing closer to Kyiv.

President Joe Biden of the United States (US) has ruled out the deployment of US troops to Ukrainian soil but has reinforced its NATO allies in the region with extra troops and planes.

Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has said that the US and its Western allies understood the probability of Russia mechanising nuclear weapons, and has made it clear to Putin that he should also understand that NATO was a nuclear alliance.

Protests were held in Russia as police detained more than 1,600 protesters taking part in anti-war rallies in 53 cities, and authorities threatened to block media reports carrying “false information”. 

Among the Russian population who have dissented on Russia’s actions include prominent figures such as Russia’s former No. 1 tennis player Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Nobel laureate and chief editor of the Novaya Gazeta newspaper, Dmitry Muratov, and Fedor Smolov of Russia’s national soccer team. – TVS

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