December 5, 2022

Russian troops close in on Kyiv as President Zelenskyy accuses NATO nations of “being afraid” and “watching from afar”

Ukrainians and Ukrainian-Americans protest at the White House in Washington DC on Thursday, February 23, 2022. Photo: Simon Ateba, Today News Africa
Ukrainians and Ukrainian-Americans protest at the White House in Washington DC on Thursday, February 23, 2022. Photo: Simon Ateba, Today News Africa

Russian troops were said to be closing in on Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, on Friday morning, Ukrainian and American officials said, a day after President Vladimir Putin ordered what he described as “a special military operation” in Ukraine to counter threats.

Ukraine’s defense ministry reported that Russian troops have entered the Obolon district of Kyiv, and the official Twitter account for the cabinet ministers of Ukraine warned that Russian troops were trying to break into Kyiv, and that they had seized two Ukrainian military vehicles, changed into Ukrainian military uniforms and drove to the center of Kyiv.

Ukraine also lost control of the Chernobyl nuclear site on Thursday following a fierce battle with Russian troops, a Ukrainian presidential adviser, Myhailo Podolyak said.

Podolyak added that Ukrainian authorities did not know the current conditions of the facilities at Chernobyl, the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

In Washington DC, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was reported to have told American lawmakers that Russian troops were only 20 miles away from Kyiv as of Thursday evening.

With Kyiv under siege, Ukrainian Defense Ministry asked citizens to “make Molotov cocktails” and “neutralize the occupier.”

Thousands of Ukrainian citizens were also said to have been handed weapons to fight Russian troops, but observers have warned that they may not stand any chance in the short term.

Ukrainian authorities announced on Thursday that at least 137 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed by Russian forces. That number may be much higher as Ukrainians continue to put up a resistance, reportedly destroying Russian assets, including planes.

Anti-war protesters detained in Russia.

Police arrest Russian anti-war demonstrator in Moscow, Russia. Photo: Reuters

More than 1300 anti-war demonstrators were detained in at least 50 Russian cities on Thursday, including over 660 detentions in Moscow, the capital of Russia, according to OVD-Info, an independent human rights group in Russia.

OVD-Info said arrests were made in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and other cities.

Anti-war rallies broke out after a military operation targeting Ukraine was announced by President Vladimir Putin.

During a televised address, Putin announced that he was launching a “special” military operation in eastern Ukraine in response to what he termed Ukrainian threats.

The Russian leaders also warned other countries who may be tempted to intervene that they will face consequences they “have never seen.”

Just hours after, Russian troops invaded Ukraine from many directions, and air strikes began to target military installations across the country.

With the invasion of Ukraine, NATO announced that it was bolstering its military presence to defend allies countries in Eastern Europe if necessary.

In Washington DC, President Joseph R. Biden Jr. announced more sanctions against Russia and close associates of Putin. He also vowed that America will be involved in the war should NATO countries come under attack from Russia.

Demonstrations by thousands of Russians against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is another indication that not all Russians are on board with President Vladimir Putin’s move.

Ukrainian-Americans protest at the White House in Washington DC

Ukrainians and Ukrainian-Americans protest at the White House in Washington DC on Thursday, February 23, 2022. Photo: Simon Ateba, Today News Africa

Hundreds of Ukrainian-Americans gathered at the White House on Thursday evening to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Raising Ukrainian flags and chanting, the protesters called on President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to “stand with Ukrainians” and to “take action against Russia now.”

The U.S. Secret Service closed areas surrounding the White House and an increased police presence could be seen in Washington D.C.

Ukrainians and Ukrainian-Americans protest at the White House in Washington DC on Thursday, February 23, 2022. Photo: Simon Ateba, Today News Africa

Russia and UK airspace closed

Russia closed its airspace to British planes on Friday, according to Dutch news agency BNO, and the U.K. also close its airspace to Russian planes. British Airways had earlier said that it was avoiding flying over Russian airspace.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accuses NATO leaders of being afraid and watching from afar

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday morning accused NATO leaders of being afraid to declare publicly whether Ukraine could join NATO.”

“We are not afraid, we are not afraid of anything,” President Zelenskyy said in an early morning video message, adding that he is Vladimir Putin’s “target number one” but will remain in the capital city of Kyiv even if Russian troops close in.

Russia has called that a red line and warned that it will not tolerate having western troops along its borders into Ukraine.

“Today, I have asked 27 European leaders whether Ukraine will be in NATO,” he said. “I have asked directly – everyone is afraid, no one answers. But we are not afraid, we are not afraid of anything. We are not afraid to defend our country, we are not afraid of Russia, we are not afraid to talk to Russia, we are not afraid to talk about anything, about security guarantees for our country, we are not afraid of talking about neutrality, we are not NATO members at the moment. But what guarantees will we get? And most importantly which countries will give us those guarantees?”

On Thursday, Zelenskyy called for an “effective international assistance” and an “anti-war coalition.”

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine|Ukrainian new President Volodymyr Zelenskyy holds the Ukrainian symbols of power during his inauguration ceremony in Kiev

“We defend our freedom, our land. We need effective international assistance. Discussed this with @AndrzejDuda (Polish President Andrzej Duda). Appealed to the Bucharest Nine for defense aid, sanctions, pressure on the aggressor. Together we have to put at the negotiating table. We need anti-war coalition,” he tweeted.

Zelenskyy accused NATO leaders of “watching from afar” as Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine.

“This morning we are defending our state alone. Like yesterday, the world’s most powerful forces are watching from afar,” Zelenskyy said according to reporting from Kyiv Independent. “Did yesterday’s sanctions convince #Russia? We hear in our sky and see on our earth that this was not enough.”

Zelenskyy added that “Russia will have to talk to us sooner or later about how to end hostilities and stop this invasion.”

“The sooner the conversation begins, the smaller Russia’s losses will be,” he said.

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