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City under siege: Photos from inside Kyiv show bombed out schools, decimated homes in the capital

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Harrowing images from inside Kyiv have emerged showing terrified citizens gathering in underground shelters after residential buildings were bombed out in shelling as Russian forces pressed their advance and authorities said they were girding for an assault aimed at overthrowing the government.

Ukrainian forces were pictured taking up defensive positions across key streets in Kyiv as they prepared to to battle Russian troops for control of the capital of three million people even as air raid sirens wailed over the city. 

A senior official troops were defending positions on four fronts despite being outnumbered after residents scrambled to take cover in basements, metro stations and bomb shelters across the capital following a televised warning of air strikes. 

Meanwhile residents were pictured surveying the damage to their home, near Kyiv’s main airport, after the 10-storey apartment block’s windows were blasted out and a two-metre crater filled with rubble formed, showing where the shell had struck before dawn.  

Corpses of two Russian servicemen who had dressed in military fatigues in an apparent bid to sneak into the Ukrainian capital were pictured strewn next to an unmarked armoured vehicle after they were killed in a skirmish with Kyiv’s forces early this morning. 

Ukrainian officials said a Russian aircraft had been shot down and crashed into a building in Kyiv overnight, setting it ablaze and injuring eight people. 

The Kyiv city council warned residents of the city’s Obolon district, near Gostomel, to stay indoors because of ‘the approach of active hostilities’ after gunfire was heard in the suburb, as well as the districts of Vorzel, Bucha and Irpen, this morning as Putin’s men advanced from Chernobyl, less than 60 miles outside the capital. 

Ukraine’s ministry of defence today took to social media to urge residents in Kyiv to make Molotov cocktails to ‘repel the occupiers’ and for citizens in Obolon to share information with Ukrainian military about the movement of Russian vehicles and troops.      

Harrowing images from inside Kyiv have emerged showing citizens, including a child enjoying a moment on a swing, outside their homes in a 10-storey building after the apartment block's windows were blasted out and a two-metre crater filled with rubble formed after a missile strike on Friday morning

Harrowing images from inside Kyiv have emerged showing citizens, including a child enjoying a moment on a swing, outside their homes in a 10-storey building after the apartment block’s windows were blasted out and a two-metre crater filled with rubble formed after a missile strike on Friday morning

Natali Sevriukova breaks down in tears as she stands in front of the ruins of her Kyiv apartment following a rocket attack on the city in the early hours of Friday

Natali Sevriukova breaks down in tears as she stands in front of the ruins of her Kyiv apartment following a rocket attack on the city in the early hours of Friday

Hundreds of residents from an apartment block in Kyiv that was damaged by a missile strike early on Friday morning gather in a bomb shelter in the basement of a school

Hundreds of residents from an apartment block in Kyiv that was damaged by a missile strike early on Friday morning gather in a bomb shelter in the basement of a school

An Ukrainian military medic approaches the bodies of Russian servicemen wearing a Ukrainian army uniforms lying beside and inside a vehicle after they were shot during a skirmish in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv

An Ukrainian military medic approaches the bodies of Russian servicemen wearing a Ukrainian army uniforms lying beside and inside a vehicle after they were shot during a skirmish in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv

Firemen extinguish a fire inside a residential building in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv after it was hit by a missile strike early on Friday morning

Firemen extinguish a fire inside a residential building in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv after it was hit by a missile strike early on Friday morning

Ukrainian soldiers take up positions in downtown Kyiv as the prepare to defend the capital from Russian attackers

Ukrainian soldiers take up positions in downtown Kyiv as the prepare to defend the capital from Russian attackers

A Ukrainian soldier sits injured after crossing fire inside the capital on Friday morning as troops prepare to battle Russian men advancing from Chernobyl, less than 60 miles north of the city, from control of Kyiv

A Ukrainian soldier sits injured after crossing fire inside the capital on Friday morning as troops prepare to battle Russian men advancing from Chernobyl, less than 60 miles north of the city, from control of Kyiv

Ukrainian soldiers are pictured forming up across a highway in Kyiv as they prepare to defend the city from Russian attackers, with gunfire and explosions heard in the centre of the capital

Ukrainian soldiers are pictured forming up across a highway in Kyiv as they prepare to defend the city from Russian attackers, with gunfire and explosions heard in the centre of the capital

Russian armour is now advancing on Kyiv from the north and east, with US intelligence saying the plan is to besiege the city, capture an airport, and fly in paratroopers who would then attack the capital. The aim would be to capture the government and force them to sign a peace treaty handing control of the country back to Russia or a Russian puppet

Russian armour is now advancing on Kyiv from the north and east, with US intelligence saying the plan is to besiege the city, capture an airport, and fly in paratroopers who would then attack the capital. The aim would be to capture the government and force them to sign a peace treaty handing control of the country back to Russia or a Russian puppet

A child sits on a swing in front of a damaged residential building in the Ukrainian capital hours after it was hit in a Russian missile strike early on Friday as Putin's men advanced on Kyiv from the north

A child sits on a swing in front of a damaged residential building in the Ukrainian capital hours after it was hit in a Russian missile strike early on Friday as Putin’s men advanced on Kyiv from the north

A resident checks on a damaged room of her apartment in a residential block after the building was hit by a Russian missile strike early morning on Friday, a day after Putin ordered his troops into Ukraine in a statement tantamount to a declaration of war

A resident checks on a damaged room of her apartment in a residential block after the building was hit by a Russian missile strike early morning on Friday, a day after Putin ordered his troops into Ukraine in a statement tantamount to a declaration of war

Residents collect belongings in an apartment in Kyiv after it was damaged by a Russian missile strike early on Friday morning

Residents collect belongings in an apartment in Kyiv after it was damaged by a Russian missile strike early on Friday morning

Hundreds of residents from an apartment block in Kyiv that was damaged by a missile strike early on Friday morning gather in a bomb shelter in the basement of a school

Hundreds of residents from an apartment block in Kyiv that was damaged by a missile strike early on Friday morning gather in a bomb shelter in the basement of a school 

Ukrainian soldiers take position next to a highway a bridge during an exchange of gunfire inside the city of Kyiv

Ukrainian soldiers take position next to a highway a bridge during an exchange of gunfire inside the city of Kyiv

Hundreds of people were crowded into a cramped bomb shelter beneath a building in central Kyiv early Friday afternoon after a televised warning of air strikes.

‘We don’t know how long we have to stay here. Good we have chairs at least,’ said Viktoria, 35, while her kids of 5 and 7 slept without taking off their winter coats. ‘We’re shocked… How can you wage a war against peaceful people?’

Alla, 40 said: ‘The kids were scared, they were crying and asking ‘Mom, will we all die?”  

Ukrainian police officers outside a residential building that was damaged in a Russian missile strike early on Friday morning

Ukrainian police officers outside a residential building that was damaged in a Russian missile strike early on Friday morning 

Ukrainian troops took up defence positions in the capital on Friday morning as the country's ministry of defence urged residents in Kyiv to make Molotov cocktails to'repel the occupiers' and asked citizens in Obolon to share information with Ukrainian military about the movement of Russian vehicles and troops

Ukrainian troops took up defence positions in the capital on Friday morning as the country’s ministry of defence urged residents in Kyiv to make Molotov cocktails to ‘repel the occupiers’ and asked citizens in Obolon to share information with Ukrainian military about the movement of Russian vehicles and troops

Ukrainian soldiers take position on a bridge inside the city of Kyiv, as Russian forces advance into the capital

Ukrainian soldiers take position on a bridge inside the city of Kyiv, as Russian forces advance into the capital

Soldiers tasked with defending Kyiv from advancing Russian troops take up positions underneath a highway into the cit

Soldiers tasked with defending Kyiv from advancing Russian troops take up positions underneath a highway into the cit

Terrified residents of Kyiv gathered in underground shelters as Russian forces entered the capital early on Friday morning and the battle for the capital commenced

Terrified residents of Kyiv gathered in underground shelters as Russian forces entered the capital early on Friday morning and the battle for the capital commenced

Aftermath of an overnight shelling at a residential area in Kyiv, Ukraine, a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to launch an invasion of the country

Aftermath of an overnight shelling at a residential area in Kyiv, Ukraine, a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to launch an invasion of the country 

Firemen pick their way through the rubble of a destroyed apartment in Kyiv, as President Zelensky said the Russian military is now targeting civilian areas

Firemen pick their way through the rubble of a destroyed apartment in Kyiv, as President Zelensky said the Russian military is now targeting civilian areas

A man dressed in camouflage takes a picture of a crater where a Russian rocket landed, destroying part of an apartment block in Kyiv which is now under heavy attack

A man dressed in camouflage takes a picture of a crater where a Russian rocket landed, destroying part of an apartment block in Kyiv which is now under heavy attack

A woman with a backpack walks in front of a damaged residential building at Koshytsa Street, a suburb of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv where a military shell struck

A woman with a backpack walks in front of a damaged residential building at Koshytsa Street, a suburb of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv where a military shell struck

A Russian vehicle with what appear to be corpses of Russian troops laying nearby is seen on the streets of Kyiv on Friday after fighting broke out in the suburbs

A Russian vehicle with what appear to be corpses of Russian troops laying nearby is seen on the streets of Kyiv on Friday after fighting broke out in the suburbs

Once Kyiv is surrounded, US intelligence believes the plan will be for Russian special forces to move in and seize an airport – likely Sikorsky or Boryspil – which would then be used to fly in a much larger force of up to 10,000 paratroopers who would assault the capital.

The job of the paratroopers would be to enter the city, find Zelensky, his ministers, and parliamentarians, before forcing them to sign a peace deal handing control of the country back to Russia or a Moscow-backed puppet regime – effectively ending the war without Putin’s ground forces needing to complete the difficult and bloody task of seizing and occupying the whole country.

It appears the Russians almost pulled off the plan on the first day of the invasion when 20 attack helicopters landed a crack team of troops at Antonov Airport, 15 miles to the north of Kyiv. But Ukrainian national guard units managed to retake the landing strip overnight after heavy fighting, scattering the surviving Russian attackers into the surrounding countryside.

A Russian attack on the capital would likely be coordinated with a push by troops on southern and eastern fronts – Crimea and Donbass – aimed at pinning down Ukrainian armed forces so they cannot retreat and reinforce the city, officials told author Michael Weiss.

It may also be accompanied by bombing raids and sabotage attacks on power grids and infrastructure to sow panic and force people to flee, snarling up roads and making it difficult for forces already in Kyiv to move around.

The plan appeared to be underway in the early hours, as explosions sounded before dawn with the city under bombardment from what the defense minister called ‘horrific rocket strikes’ not seen since 1941.

The wreckage of an unidentified aircraft is seen on the outskirts of Kyiv, having been shot down and crashed into a house

The wreckage of an unidentified aircraft is seen on the outskirts of Kyiv, having been shot down and crashed into a house

A woman walks around the wreckage of an unidentified aircraft that crashed into a house in a residential area

A woman walks around the wreckage of an unidentified aircraft that crashed into a house in a residential area 

Ukraine claimed to have shot down a Russian jet over the outskirts of Kyiv overnight, with wreckage falling on a house and leaving several people injured

Natali Sevriukova breaks down in tears as she stands in front of the ruins of her Kyiv apartment in the early hours of Friday

Natali Sevriukova breaks down in tears as she stands in front of the ruins of her Kyiv apartment in the early hours of Friday

Widespread damage is seen to apartment in Kyiv, Ukraine, with a Russian assault on the capital expected to take place today

Widespread damage is seen to apartment in Kyiv, Ukraine, with a Russian assault on the capital expected to take place today

Ukrainian defenders have blown up several bridges leading into the capital in an attempt to slow the Russian advance

Ukrainian defenders have blown up several bridges leading into the capital in an attempt to slow the Russian advance 

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