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A solider stands in front of a burning wreck
A Ukrainian service member seen at the site of a clash with Russian troops in KyivImage: Sergei Supinsky/AFP
ConflictsUkraine

Germany decides to send weapons to Ukraine — as it happened

February 26, 2022

Russian forces are bearing down on Ukraine's capital after attacks on cities and military bases around the country. Meanwhile, Germany made the historic decision to send weapons to Ukraine. Follow DW for the latest.

https://p.dw.com/p/47dK2
  • Artillery blasts reported in Kyiv
  • Ukrainian President Zelenskyy claims Russian attack 'derailed' 
  • Over 100,000 Ukrainian refugees have entered Poland
  • Russia vetoes UN Security Council resolution on Ukraine
  • Germany has reversed its stance on selling weapons to Ukraine
  • Germany is also working on limiting Russia's access to SWIFT

We are now closing these live updates. Please head to our new article for all the latest developments.

Western allies to remove some Russian banks from SWIFT

The EU, US and UK agreed Saturday to cut "selected" Russian banks out of the SWIFT global payment system.

The move is part of a new round of sanctions targeting Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. 

The Western allies also agreed to impose ''restrictive measures'' on Russia's Central Bank. 

The measures were announced jointly and mark a major escalation of sanctions against Moscow.

"This will ensure that these banks are disconnected from the international financial system and harm their ability to operate globally," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said after a videoconference with the leaders of the US, Germany, France, Italy and Canada.

"All of these measures will significantly harm [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's ability to finance his war and they will have a severely eroding impact on his economy," she said.

Germany to close airspace to Russian planes

German Transport Minister Volker Wissing is preparing a closure of German airspace to Russian planes, his ministry said in a statement.

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have also said they would shortly close their airspace to Russian jets.

"No flights for aggressor planes in the freedom sky," Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte tweeted after a government meeting.

On Friday, Poland, the UK, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic announced similar measures.

Meanwhile, German carrier Lufthansa said it was halting flights to Russia and will stop overflying the country for the next week.

"Lufthansa will no longer use Russian airspace in the next seven days due to the current and emerging regulatory situation. Flights to Russia will be suspended during this period," said the company in a statement.

KLM, the Dutch arm of Air France KLM, announced a similar move earlier in the day.

UN Security Council to meet for 4th emergency session

The United Nations Security Council will meet Sunday for a fourth time in a week over Russia's war on Ukraine.

The council is to vote on whether to refer a US resolution opposed to Moscow's incursion, blocked by Russia on Friday, to the UN General Assembly.

This would be a procedural vote, meaning 9 of the 15 members must agree. With no vetoes, it is considered certain.

The text of the resolution, seen by news agencies, condemns Russia's aggression "in the strongest terms" and reaffirms the sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as the independence and unity of Ukraine.

It demands Russia's immediate withdrawal and a return to the Minsk Agreement.

Anti-war protests around the world

EU to discuss further aid to Ukraine  

EU foreign ministers will convene a virtual gathering on Sunday to discuss further assistance for Ukraine and punitive measures towards Russia. 

"I will propose a package of emergency assistance for the Ukrainian armed forces, to support them in their heroic fight," top EU diplomat Josep Borrell tweeted. 

The gathering is the third time the ministers have convened within a week. 

Ukrainian journalist to DW: People are 'fighting for their very existence'

As Ukraine braces itself for yet another night of uncertainty, a picture of resistance is beginning to emerge on the part of Ukrainians.

Igor Kossov, an investigative journalist in Ukraine, told DW that while many people have fled the cities, others have remained behind and are both calm and determined.

'Fighting for their very existence'

"Many people who have families have fled the city and moved west. Some have stayed behind, many have joined territorial defense units. Everyone's calm and determined, if nervous. And people are just bracing for the worst and hoping for the best," he said. 

Kossov said he could see Kyiv withstanding the Russian attack despite the odds being stacked against Ukraine, because they are in a battle with people "fighting for their very existence."

"The past few days have shown that the Russians have not been as effective… as many experts could have predicted. They've made blunders. Ukraine… has managed to inflict surprisingly heavy losses on them, and obviously the Ukrainians have much higher morale because they're fighting for their very existence. Whereas the Russians seem to be mostly very young people who were born after Putin came into power," Kossov told DW.

UN chief promises more aid for Ukraine

The United Nations is determined to increase humanitarian assistance to Ukraine in the wake of the Russian invasion, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. 

Guterres told Zelenskyy the UN would launch on Tuesday an appeal to fund its aid operations in Ukraine.

Major cities under assault by Russia, including the capital Kyiv, are at risk of being cut off from vital supplies.

Poland says 100,000 refugees have crossed its border from Ukraine since Russia invaded on Thursday, with the UN estimating a similar number are internally displaced.

Some 50,000 have also poured into Hungary and Romania, with thousands more crossing into Moldova.

Zelenskyy said he asked the UN chief to strip Russia of its vote at the UN Security Council as punishment for the invasion.

Abramovich gives trustees stewardship of Chelsea FC

The Russian owner of Chelsea FC, Roman Abramovich, said he is handing over the club to the trustees of its charitable foundation.

Abramovich, who bought the English Premier League club in 2003, said the foundation was in the "best position to look after the interests" of the club. 

"I have always viewed my role as a custodian of the club, whose job it is ensuring that we are as successful as we can be today, as well as build for the future, while also playing a positive role in our communities," The Russian billionaire said in a statement.

"I have always taken decisions with the club's best interest at heart. I remain committed to these values."

Neither Abramovich nor the club revealed why he was giving the foundation stewardship.

However, several Russian individuals and entities have been put under sanctions by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson after Moscow launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine by land, air and sea this week.

Abramovich has not faced any sanctions yet.

However, a member of the British parliament called for the businessman to hand over the club in the wake of the invasion.

Zelenskyy thanks Germany for weapons decision

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised Germany's decision to send weapons, in a major reversal of policy for Berlin.  

"Keep it up, Chancellor Olaf Scholz! Anti-war coalition in action!" Zelenskyy tweeted. 

Zelenskyy also welcomed efforts to broker talks to end the invasion. 

In a video message Saturday, he said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev offered to help organize talks and that "we can only welcome that."

The Ukrainian leader had offered Friday to negotiate a key Russian demand: that Ukraine declare itself neutral and abandon its ambition of joining NATO. But movement to actually advance any diplomacy has appeared to sputter.

"The real fighting for Kyiv is ongoing,'' Zelenskyy said, with the Ukrainian leader accusing Russia of hitting infrastructure and civilian targets. "We will win."  

Germany decides to send weapons from its military to Ukraine

The German military will send 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 "Stinger" class surface-to-air missiles to Ukraine amid the ongoing Russian invasion, the government announced.  

Government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said the weapons would be delivered as soon as possible to support the Ukrainian military. Chancellor Olaf Scholz said it was Germany's "duty to support Ukraine to the best of its ability in defending itself against the invading army of Vladimir Putin."

Earlier Saturday Berlin authorized NATO partners the Netherlands and Estonia to make arms deliveries to Ukraine. For the Netherlands, 400 German-made anti-tank weapons are involved, while Estonia was granted approval to sent artillery from old GDR (East German) stocks. 

The move marks a major change of course for Germany, which had until now refused the delivery of lethal weapons to Ukraine due to its policy of not sending weapons to a conflict zone.

The Netherlands also said it would sent anti-tank weapons to Ukraine, according to the Dutch defense ministry. 

Germany will send weapons to Ukraine

Bomb threats made to Moscow rail stations, airports: report

Russia has received anonymous bomb threats against Moscow railway stations and airports, the RIA news agency reported.

The agency cited a spokesperson for the emergency services as saying the stations and Moscow's Vnukovo and Sheremetyevo international airports were being checked.

In addition, the Russian embassy in London said it was in contact with the UK police after receiving threats in connection with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Germany working on limiting Russia's access to SWIFT

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Economy Minister Robert Habeck said in a joint statement that they are trying to exclude Russia from the SWIFT payment system in a "targeted and functional way." 

"We are urgently working on how to limit the collateral damage of decoupling from SWIFT in such a way that it affects the right people. What we need is a targeted and functional restriction of SWIFT," the ministers said.  

The ministers also confirmed reports that Germany has reversed its position on weapons sales.

The two top Green politicians said Berlin was "ready to release urgently needed material for the defense of Ukraine in view of Russia's war of aggression on Ukraine."

To this end, the government had agreed to the delivery of 400 anti-tank guns — originally produced in Germany — by the Netherlands. The procedure was agreed between the chancellor's office, the Foreign Ministry, the Economics Ministry and the Defense Ministry.

"In addition, the export of 14 armored vehicles for Ukraine were also approved today. The vehicles will be used for personal protection, possibly also for evacuation purposes," the statement said

"Also, up to 10,000 tons of fuel will be delivered to Ukraine via Poland. Other support services are currently being under consideration."

German government sources told news agency dpa that Berlin has also greenlit the delivery of old East German artillery to Ukraine. DW also learned from officials that at least 9 howitzers would be given to Estonia. 

War in Ukraine: Wladimir Klitschko urges world to 'act now'

Germany reverses ban on weapons sales to Ukraine: reports

Berlin has reportedly given the go ahead for the Netherlands to sell 400 German-made rocket-propelled grenade launchers to Ukraine, EU officials told Politico. German government officials also confirmed the delivery to dpa and Reuters news agencies. 

"The approval has been confirmed by the chancellery," a German Defense Ministry spokesperson told Reuters.  

The move marks a U-turn on Germany's weekslong refusal to sell weapons to Ukraine due to the government's line against selling weapons to conflict zones.

Germany also has the power to block any weapon with parts produced in Germany, something which it has been doing much to the anger of the Ukrainians.

DW Political Correspondent Thomas Sparrow said the policy change, if confirmed, would be a historic move by Berlin:

"This reported change, using a third country (The Netherlands) to allow Ukraine to receive weapons from Germany would certainly mark a change of direction in that very important policy [of not supplying weapons to conflict zones]," said Sparrow.

He added Germany had, until now, believed that sending weapons to Ukraine would make a diplomatic solution more difficult.

So far, Berlin had only offered some 5,000 military helmets and a field hospital to help Ukraine fend off the Russian invasion, an offer that has been mocked by some of Germany's frustrated partners.

Several NATO countries have pledged to give or sell weapons to Ukraine following the Russian invasion, including $350 million (€310 million) in military aid from the US.

US: Half of Russian troops at border have entered Ukraine

The United States estimates that more than 50% of Russian combat power assembled along Ukraine's borders has entered Ukraine, the Associated Press reported, citing a senior US defense official.

The figure is up from a US estimate Friday that one-third of the Russian force had been committed to the fight.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, would not say how many Russian troops that amounts to inside Ukraine, but Washington had estimated the total Russian force near Ukraine at more than 150,000.

The official said advancing Russian forces were roughly 30 kilometers (19 miles) outside Kiev as of Saturday, and that an unspecified number of Russian military “reconnaissance elements” had entered the capital.

The update corresponds with reports Saturday that Russia ordered its troops to proceed through Ukraine "from all directions," saying it was stepping up its advance after Kyiv rejected peace talks.

Meanwhile, Britain's Defense Ministry said the speed of the Russian advance had temporarily slowed "likely as a result of acute logistical difficulties and strong Ukrainian resistance." 

Giving an intelligence update on Twitter, the ministry added that: "Russian forces are bypassing major Ukrainian population centers while leaving forces to encircle and isolate them."

"Overnight clashes in Kyiv are likely to have involved limited numbers of pre-positioned Russian groups. The capture of Kyiv remains Russia's primary military objective." Russia claims its assault is aimed only at military targets, but bridges, schools and residential neighborhoods have been hit since the invasion began Thursday.

Moscow threatens to pull out of nuclear arms deal over sanctions

Moscow may opt out of the last nuclear arms deal with the US in retaliation for Western sanctions, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said.

In sarcastic comments posted on a Russian social platform, Medvedev dismissed the new curbs as a show of Western “political impotence” that will only strengthen the Russian leadership.

The former Russian leader signed the treaty in 2010 with then-US President Barack Obama, to limit each country to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers.

Medvedev threatened that Russia would freeze Western assets and cut diplomatic ties. He also warned that Moscow could restore the death penalty after Russia was expelled from the Council of Europe — the continent's top human rights group. The Kremlin placed a moratorium on executions in 1996.

Western countries have placed new tight restrictions on Russian financial operations, imposed a ban on technology exports to Russia and froze the assets of Putin and his foreign minister.

Support is also building for Russia to be kicked out of SWIFT, the dominant system for global financial transactions.

Ukraine: Heavy fighting in Kyiv outskirts

Tsikhanouskaya declares herself leader of Belarus in exile

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the leader of the opposition against Belarusian dictator and Putin ally Alexander Lukashenko, has declared herself the national leader. 

She said her move was sparked by the decision in Minsk to allow Moscow to use Belarusian territory to launch its invasion of Ukraine.

"Belarus became and aggressor, and we are ashamed of this," she said in a video shared on social media.

"So I announced that I am taking on the responsibility as the national leader of Belarus and will create a transitional cabinet," she said.

Tsikhanouskaya had to flee her country following a crackdown by the Lukashenko regime against pro-democracy protesters. She had stood against the strongman leader in 2020 elections that have been widely condemned as fraudulent.

UN: Over 150,000 refugees thus far out of Ukraine

Filippo Grandi, the UN's High Commissioner for Refugees, said on Twitter that the number of Ukrainians who have already fled to neighboring countries has now surpassed 150,000. 

"Displacement in Ukraine is also growing but the military situation makes it difficult to estimate numbers and provide aid," he added.

Thousands of people have made their way into Poland, Hungary, Romania and Moldova in the past two days. Ukraine has since barred men aged 18 to 60 from leaving the country so that they can join the armed fight against the Russian military.

Polish PM calls out German 'egoism' over SWIFT

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called on Berlin to put aside its objections to proposals to kick Russia out of the SWIFT international banking network, which he described as "selfishness" and "egoism."

"Nothing is going to stop Putin if we are not decisive enough,'' Morawiecki said in Berlin ahead of his meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda. "This is a very historic moment, we have no time to lose.''

The Polish prime minister also criticized Germany's supply of military helmets to Ukraine which follows weeks of refusals from Berlin to sell the country weapons.

"What kind of help was delivered to Ukraine? 5,000 helmets? This must be a joke," he said.

Zelenskyy claims Turkey banning passage of warships in Black Sea

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday after the two spoke over the phone. 

"The ban on the passage of Russian warships to the Black Sea and significant military and humanitarian support for Ukraine are extremely important today," Zelenskyy said in a tweet.

"The people of Ukraine will never forget that!" he added.

However, a Turkish official said Ankara has not yet made a decision to block warships from the Black Sea. 

Erdogan also reportedly told his Ukrainian counterpart that he was making efforts to bring about an immediate cease-fire. He also gave his condolences for the Ukrainians who have fallen while defending their country.

Turkey is a member of NATO, but has had a complicated relationship with Russia. The two have competed for domination in Syria, but have also engaged in weapons deals with each other, attracting the ire of other NATO member states.

Russian offensive resumes after alleged pause

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that the Russian military's offensive push had recommenced on Saturday after claiming that Russian President Vladimir Putin had suspended the forward movement of troops to hold peace negotiations.

"In connection with the expected negotiations, the Russian president yesterday afternoon ordered the suspension of the advance of the main forces of the Russian Federation," Peskov told reporters during a conference call.

"Since the Ukrainian side refused to negotiate, the advance of the Russian forces resumed this afternoon," he added.

Despite the claims of a pause in the Russian advances, several Ukrainian cities were hit by Russian missiles overnight. There were also reports of fighting in the capital Kyiv and other major cities.

Ukrainian officials denied that their country had rejected an offer of peace talks from Russia. Mykhailo Podolyak, a presidential advisor, told Reuters that Russia had put ultimatums and unacceptable conditions on the table.

"It was yesterday that the aggressive actions of the armed forces of the Russian Federation escalated, up to evening and night mass air and missile strikes on Ukrainian cities," he said.

"We consider such actions only an attempt to break Ukraine and force it to accept categorically unacceptable conditions."

DW's Fanny Facsar on people fleeing Kyiv

Pressure grows to cut Russia off from SWIFT

More voices have been raised within the EU in favor of blocking Russia from the international banking communications network SWIFT.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who served as served as president of the European Central Bank (ECB) ) from 2011 to 2019, called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday to confirm Italy's support of the move.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki also issued a tweet after a call with his Hungarian counterpart, Viktor Orban, suggesting that Hungary, which has so far resisted the move, might come round.

"Today I spoke again with the Prime Minister of Hungary. And he once again assured me of his support for far-reaching sanctions against Russia. Including about blocking the SWIFT system," Morawiecki wrote.

Zelenskyy on Saturday renewed his calls for Russia to be blocked from SWIFT, urging Germany and Hungary in particular to join the majority of EU countries that support the measure.

Some experts say that denying Russia access to the global payment system might be more effective than many other sanctions that have so far shown little effect on Russia's behavior.

Zelenskyy claims Russian push on Kyiv 'derailed'

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Saturday that his country's armed forces had stopped a Russian advance on the capital, Kyiv.

"We've derailed their plan," he said in a video address, one of several he has made during the invasion. Zelenskyy said the Ukrainian army retains control both of Kyiv and main cities around it.

Zelenskyy said Russian forces deployed "missiles, fighters, drones, artillery, armored vehicles, saboteurs, and airborne forces" against Ukraine and have hit "residential areas."

Meanwhile, Kyiv's Mayor Vitaly Klitschko announced the enforcement of a stricter curfew in the city that will extend from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. He added that anyone caught outside during the hours of the curfew will be considered members of "Russian saboteur or reconnaissance groups."

A Ukrainian solider gestures
Ukrainian and Russian forces continue to fight in KievImage: Emilio Morenatti/AP Photo/picture alliance

France seizes Russian cargo ship in English Channel

A Russian-flagged ship carrying cars and headed for the Russian port city of Saint Petersburg from the French port of Rouen has been intercepted by French naval forces in the English Channel, DW has confirmed. 

The 127-meter (417-foot) vessel is "strongly suspected of being linked to Russian interests targeted by sanctions," local French official Veronique Magnin said.

The ship was then escorted by French boats into the nearby port of Boulogne-sur-Mer. French authorities suspect that its is connected to Russian companies that have been targeted by EU sanctions in the wake of the Russian invasion.

Russian news agencies reported that the Russian embassy in France has contacted French authorities to ask for an explanation of the incident.

Poland has taken in over 100,000 Ukrainian refugees

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has so far caused more than 100,000 people there to flee into neighboring Poland, the Polish deputy interior minister said Saturday. 

Pawel Szefernaker told a news conference around 9 a.m. that 9,000 people had entered so far on Saturday morning alone. Poland already has one of Eastern Europe's largest Ukrainian expat communities, with around 1 million people.

Szefernaker estimated that 90% of the refugees have specific places they can go in Poland, such as the homes of friends or family. The remainder are seeking help at nine reception centers set up along the border.

Szefernaker said that most of the refugees are women and children, but there were also men outside the 18-to-60 age range, he said in separate remarks on Friday evening. Men aged 18 to 60 face conscription in Ukraine.

The UN refugee agency says at least 116,000 Ukrainian refugees have left the country since Russia began its attack on Thursday.

Joung-ah Ghedini-Williams, the communications head for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, told DW that the UN is planning for up to "4 million refugees in the region" and praised the willingness of people in countries bordering Ukraine to help them.

"We've seen across the board incredible hospitality and solidarity, not just by the governments, but by the local communities, people literally opening their homes, sharing food, providing whatever lifesaving supplies, water, medical attention," the UN official said.

Most are heading to Poland and Moldova, but also to Romania, Slovakia and Hungary.

Women and children cross the border into Poland
People fleeing Ukraine cross the Polish border, assisted by a Polish guardImage: Czarek Sokolowski/AP Photo/picture alliance

Poland withdraws from World Cup qualifier in protest

The Polish Football Association has said the Polish national team is pulling out of its World Cup qualifying match against Russia in protest against the invasion of Ukraine.

''No more words, time to act!'' said association president Cezary Kulesza on Twitter, saying the move was prompted by the ''escalation of the aggression.''

The match was meant to take place on March 24.

Several EU member states pledge arms to Ukraine

A number of EU countries have said they will give military equipment to Ukraine as the Russian invasion continues into its third day.

The Czech Republic's defense minister, Jana Cernochova, said her country would send machine guns, automatic and sniper rifles, pistols, and ammunition valued at €7.6 million ($8.6 million).

"The government on Saturday approved further help to Ukraine, which is facing a Russian attack," Minister Jana Cernochova said in a tweet.

Prague had already donated 4,000 artillery shells worth €1.5 million to Ukraine in January.

The Netherlands has said it will send 200 anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine at Kyiv's request. It already agreed last week to deliver other military equipment to Ukraine, including sniper rifles, radar devices and land mine detectors. Some of this shipment was sent off on Saturday, with the rest to follow as soon as possible, the government said.

A French army spokesman said Paris has decided to send ­defensive military equipment, adding that the delivery of offensive weapons was under consideration.

Zelenskyy denies claims that he has left Ukraine

Ukraine's Moscow embassy staff moving to Latvia

The Latvian Foreign Ministry has said the Ukrainian Embassy in Moscow is evacuating its staff to Latvia.

"It was their plea, we readily agreed. We are assisting them in the process and help with settling down," Latvian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Janis Bekeris said Saturday. 

He did not specify whether the staff had already arrived in Latvia, citing security concerns.

Zelenskyy vows to keep up resistance

As Russian troops advance on Kyiv, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said he will remain in the city and would not surrender.

"We will not put down weapons; we will defend our state," he said in a video filmed outside his office Saturday morning.

Zelenskyy had earlier rejected an offer from the US to take him to safety. "The fight is here,'' he said. The Ukrainian leader has described himself as a "main target" for Russia. 

Away from the capital, Ukrainian officials said Russian cruise missiles fired from the Black Sea had struck the northeastern cities of Sumy, Poltava, and the southern port city of Mariupol, where heavy fighting was reported in its outskirts.

"Heavy fighting is taking place near Mariupol," Mykhailo Podolyak, Zelenskyy's adviser, told a briefing Saturday morning, adding that Russia considers it a priority to seize the south.

Podolyak said as of Saturday morning that fighting is underway in Kherson, a city located to the north of the Russia-annexed peninsula Crimea, and in the Black Sea ports of Mykolaiv and Odesa.

Soliders clear debris from the street
Ukrainian soldiers clear unexploded shells from a street in Kyiv Image: Sergei Supinsky/AFP

The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that Russian armed forces had targeted Ukraine's military infrastructure with air- and sea-based cruise missiles.

Kyiv residents warned that street fighting has started in capital

Officials in Kyiv have said that street fighting against Russian forces is underway and urged residents to protect their own safety.

People were advised in a statement to remain in shelters, stay away from windows and balconies and to protect themselves against flying debris or bullets.

Reuters news agency reported witness accounts of shelling in central Kyiv and gunfire close to the government headquarters.

Kyiv: Seeking shelter in subway stations

Officials said a high-rise apartment block in the city was hit by a projectile overnight. According to an adviser to the interior minister, no one was killed in the strike.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said that though Russian troops were trying to advance into the Ukrainian capital, the Ukraine government was still in charge of the city, and its infrastructure was intact.

"Last night was difficult, but there are no Russian troops in the city," Klitschko said in a video published on the Telegram news channel on Saturday morning.

He said 35 people had been injured, including two children, as of 5 a.m. (0400 UTC) as Russian armed forces shelled the city.

The Ukrainian military has also said fighting was taking place near a military unit to the west of the city center.

An apartment block with a hole in the side
An apartment building in Kyiv was damaged by shelling on SaturdayImage: Gleb Garanich/REUTERS

Facebook bars Kremlin-backed media ads, monetization

Facebook has stopped Russian state-owned news organizations from running ads or making money on its platform worldwide.

"We also continue to apply labels to additional Russian state media," Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of security policy, wrote on Twitter.

Gleicher's announcement comes after communications regulator Roskomnadzor on Friday said it would partly restrict Facebook in Russia. 

In an official statement, it described its actions as "measures to protect Russian media."

Earlier in the week, the social media giant said it refused to "stop the independent fact-checking and labeling of content posted on Facebook by four Russian state-owned media organizations."

Smoke and flames rise over the buildings as shelling hits near Kyiv
Smoke and flames rise over the outskirts of Kyiv as Russian forces bear down on the capitalImage: Gleb Garanich/REUTERS

Russian attack on Kyiv army base repelled, says Ukraine

Russian troops attacked an army base in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv but the assault was repelled, the Ukrainian military said.

The battle is said to have taken place on Peremohy (Victory) Avenue just to the west of the city center.

"Military criminals of Russia attacked one of the military units in Kyiv on Victory Avenue. The attack has been fought back," the armed forces of Ukraine said in a post on Facebook.

Russian forces are inside the city limits, according to Ukrainian officials.

People sleep in metro stations
Many Ukrainians spent the night in subway stations as parts of Kyiv came under attackImage: Emilio Morenatti/AP/dpa/picture alliance

Russia's invasion explained through graphics

Since the first tanks crossed into Ukraine, attacks from Russia have intensified and hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing.

Here are five graphics that explain the history of the region and current conflict.

Russian and Ukrainian forces clash in Kyiv

Fighting intensified in Ukraine's capital of Kyiv overnight.

Witnesses and journalists reported hearing loud artillery rounds and intense gunfire in parts of the city.

One witness told the Reuters news agency artillery strikes on Kyiv could be heard some distance away from the city center.

Heavy fighting was also reported in the eastern suburb of Troieschyna. The State Service of Special Communications wrote on Facebook that Ukranian forces were trying to repel a Russian attack there. 

The Kyiv Independent reported heavy gunfire near Beresteiska metro station.

Thousands of Kyiv residents spent the night in bomb shelters and metro stations.

Kyiv under attack as Russian troops advance

Twitter pauses ads in Ukraine, Russia

Twitter has temporarily paused advertisements on its platform in Ukraine and Russia to "ensure critical public safety information is elevated and ads don't detract from it," the company announced in a tweet.

Twitter said it was seeking to ensure reliable and trustworthy information reached Ukrainians and Russians in real-time. The company laid out a number of measures it was implementing to keep disinformation at bay, including pausing tweet recommendations from people users didn't follow on their own to reduce "the spread of abusive content."

Guterres says soldiers must 'return to their barracks' 

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres showed his frustration with the Security Council on Saturday.

"The United Nations was born out of war to end war; today that objective was not achieved," Guterres said.

He was reacting to Russia's veto of a resolution demanding that Moscow stop its attack on Ukraine and withdraw all troops.

Antonio Guterres
Antonio Guterres urged leaders to restart diplomatic talks and 'give peace a chance'Image: John Minchillo/AP Photo/picture alliance

After the vote, Guterres said, "Soldiers need to return to their barracks" and "leaders need to turn to the path of dialogue and peace."  

Speaking just outside the Security Council chambers, he said, "Especially in a moment like this, it is important to remember that the UN is not just the chamber behind me." 

He appointed Sudan's Amin Awad as the UN crisis coordinator on Ukraine.

"The humanitarian needs are multiplying and spreading by the hour. Civilians are dying, at least 100,000 Ukrainians have already fled their homes," Guterres said. 

Ukraine says it has shot down a Russian military plane 

Ukraine's military says it has shot down a Russian Ilyushin Il-76 transport plane with paratroopers aboard.

The country's military chief, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, wrote on Facebook the plane came down near Vasylkiv, close to Kyiv. The claim could not be independently verified. 

A Ukrainian statement called it "revenge"  for a plane with Ukrainian paratroopers that was shot down at Luhansk airport in 2014.

IL-76 planes are among the biggest aircraft in the world. 

The Russian military has not commented on the incident.

White House asks US Congress for $6.4 billion to aid Ukraine

US President Joe Biden's administration asked Congress to provide $6.4 billion (€5.67 billion) in funding to assist Ukraine in the wake of the Russian invasion.

"In a recent conversation with lawmakers, the administration identified the need for additional US humanitarian, security, and economic assistance to Ukraine and Central European partners due to Russia's unprovoked and unjustified invasion," an official from the White House Office of Management and Budget said.

It includes $2.9 billion in security and humanitarian assistance and $3.5 billion for the US Department of Defense's response to the crisis.

The official said the conversation around funding needs would change as the situation on the ground evolves.

Russia blocks Security Council resolution condemning invasion

The UN Security Council failed to adopt a draft resolution condemning Russia and calling for its unconditional withdrawal from Ukraine.

Russia, one of the five permanent Security Council members, used its veto to block the resolution. 

China, the United Arab Emirates and India abstained from the vote on the US-drafted text. The remaining 11 council members voted in favor.

The US and other supporters knew the resolution wouldn't pass but argued it would highlight Russia's international isolation.

Friday's vote mirrored what happened in 2014 after Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea region.

The Security Council voted on a US-drafted resolution opposing a referendum on the status of Crimea and urging countries not to recognize it. It received 13 votes in favor, China abstained, and Russia cast a veto.

Russia's Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia votes
Russia's Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia casts his voteImage: Carlo Allegri/REUTERS

Summary of events in Ukraine-Russia crisis on Friday

The United States and Britain followed the EU in announcing the sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's assets. The move suggests that Western powers are acting in concert to try to force Putin to stop the invasion of Ukraine.

The NATO Response Force has been activated as a defensive measure for the first time in the alliance's history. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg told an emergency summit of the military alliance that Russia has "shattered peace on the European continent" by invading Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenkskyy released a defiant video showing him and his political colleagues outside the president's office in Kyiv, saying he was among those continuing to defend the capital.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the Ukrainian military to seize power in their country from the current leadership, which he described as "terrorists."

UEFA stripped Russia's Saint Petersburg of hosting the Champions League final, saying it would move to Paris. Formula 1 has canceled this season's Russian Grand Prix, and Russia has been kicked out of the 2022 Eurovision song contest.

Civilians flee Kyiv: DW's Nick Connolly reports from Ukraine

ab,tj,lo/wmr (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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