Rockets struck Kyiv early Friday morning, according to several Ukrainian officials, as the United States warned that Russian forces were encroaching on the capital and cautioned that the city could soon fall.
An air raid siren went off about 7 a.m. local time, and at least one residential building in the capital caught fire after being hit by rocket debris, Kyiv’s mayor said. Explosions were heard earlier in the day. Sirens were also heard in Lviv, in Ukraine’s far west and near NATO’s eastern flank.
A senior Ukrainian defense official said Russian forces were near the town of Vorzel, some 20 miles to Kyiv’s northwest. Ukraine’s Defense Ministry also reported Russian sabotage groups in Obolon, several miles north of the capital’s center.
Biden administration officials told lawmakers late Thursday that they feared the capital would soon fall, with Russian mechanized forces — which had crossed over from Belarus — on its outskirts. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday that he remained in Kyiv, though enemy “sabotage groups” were in the capital.
Here’s what to know
- Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday evening that the Kremlin is targeting Kyiv and that he is “convinced” Russian President Vladimir Putin aims to overthrow the Ukrainian government.
- Zelensky — who announced late Thursday that at least 137 Ukrainians had been killed — said in a Friday morning speech that Russia was striking civilian and military targets. He also expressed his gratitude to Russians who demonstrated against the invasion of Ukraine.
- Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered about 7,000 service members to deploy to Germany in the coming days to help buttress NATO, according to a senior defense official. NATO announced that it will bolster its eastern flank and host an emergency summit.
- The U.S. will seek a condemnation of Russia at the United Nations Security Council on Friday, setting the stage for a Russian veto. The European Union approved a second round of sanctions on Russia on Friday.
UNDERSTANDING THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE CONFLICT