‘They will storm tonight’: Zelensky says Putin’s forces have launched full-scale assault on Kyiv as stiff Ukrainian resistance slows the Russian tank columns: Kremlin troops have the capital SURROUNDED
- President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday night warned his people in an address to the nation that the capital, Kyiv, would be attacked overnight
- For two nights in a row Russia has bombarded Kyiv, but Moscow is expected to begin what it hopes to be a final push in the early hours of Saturday
- Zelensky, speaking from a secret location in the capital, said: ‘Russia will try to break our resistance with all its might. Tonight the enemy will begin storming us’
- He urged Ukrainians to resist, adding that Chernihiv, Symy, Kharkiv, Donbass, and the south could all come under attack
- Britain’s Ministry of Defence said Russian forces are moving towards Kyiv from multiple directions, in an attempt to encircle the city
- Vitali Klitschko, the former world champion heavyweight boxer who is now mayor of Kyiv, said the city faces a ‘difficult night’
Ukraine’s president has warned that the Russians intend to take Kyiv overnight, urging his countrymen to resist the expected onslaught as Western officials say the city appears surrounded.
Volodymyr Zelensky, addressing the nation from a secret location in the capital, had a dire warning for his embattled and defiant people on Friday night.
‘Russia will try to break our resistance with all its might,’ he said, in a video posted to social media.
‘Tonight the enemy will begin storming us. We need to withstand them!’
Zelensky said that Chernihiv, Symy, Kharkiv, Donbas, and the south could also come under attack.
Vitali Klitschko, the former world champion heavyweight boxer who is now the mayor of Kyiv, said his city faces a ‘difficult night’.
The British Ministry of Defence said they believe Kyiv, home to 1.4 million people, is close to being encircled as the Russians advance from all sides.
Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, is seen addressing the nation on Friday night
In New York, on Friday night, a United Nations resolution that called on Moscow to halt its attack on Ukraine and withdraw its troops was vetoed by Russia – a permanent member of the Security Council.
Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, urged Ukraine’s troops on Friday to overthrow their own government and begin to negotiate with the Kremlin.
‘It looks like it will be easier for us to come to terms with you than with this gang of drug addicts and neo-Nazis,’ he said.
There was little sign that Ukrainian generals were tempted, and Russia appears to have been somewhat taken aback at the scale of Ukrainian resistance and their ability to defend their country.
There was no doubt, however, that Russia’s overwhelming military superiority would soon come into effect.
With 900,000 troops, Russia has the fourth largest military in the world, and more than a decade of reforms and procurement has made it a dangerous opponent.
Ukraine has just 361,000 troops, although Zelensky on Thursday ordered a full mobilization of troops and banned men aged 18-60 from leaving the country, in readiness for a whole-nation effort.
Ukraine’s highly motivated infantry have modern weapons and protective gear, including N-LAW and Javelin anti-tank missiles provided by Britain and the US.