Ukrainians are being urged to resist as Russian tanks close in on Kyiv, in a day which could become the hardest day in the war, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister has said. Explosions and gunfire have been heard in the Obolonskyi area, a northern district of Kyiv, as invading Russian forces approached.
Anton Herashchenko said the city’s defenders were waiting with anti-tank missiles as reports came in that tanks were advancing on the city of almost 3 million from all sides. The Ministry of Defence’s Facebook page urged civilians to resist, saying: “We urge citizens to inform us of troop movements, to make Molotov cocktails, and neutralise the enemy.”
Preparation for the attack comes as Kyiv residents were woken by the sound of explosions as reports circulated that Russia had launched a series of missile strikes on the city.
What we know so far
The UN refugee agency has predicted that 4 million people may flee Ukraine “if the situation escalates further”.
The death toll in Ukraine has risen to 137 people while 316 had been wounded by Russia’s invasion and attacks, the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said in an address late on Thursday.
All men aged 18-60 have been forbidden from leaving Ukraine as the military mobilises, with Zelenskiy declaring martial law.
Russian forces have taken the city of Sumy in north-eastern Ukraine. The city is about 200km west of the Russian border.
Kyiv was shaken by explosions in the early hours of Friday, with Ukraine claiming it had shot down a Russian military aircraft over the city. The interior ministry said a residential tower block had been set alight by the falling debris.
Cars queued for up to 15 hours as thousands attempted to flee Ukraine into Hungary and Poland. Fuel is in short supply, with a 20-litre fuel restriction imposed at six petrol stations and huge queues. Internal flights have been suspended.