Ukrainian, Russian troops fight in streets of Kyiv


Ukrainian forces repulsed a Russian attack on Kyiv but “sabotage groups” infiltrated the capital, officials said Saturday as a defiant President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed Ukraine would never
give in.

On the third day of an invasion that Ukraine said has killed 198 civilians including three children, Russia also brushed off the barrage of Western sanctions and said it had fired cruise missiles at military targets.

Wearing olive green military-style clothing and looking tired but determined, Zelensky spoke in a video message posted on his Twitter account.

“I am here. We will not lay down any weapons. We will defend our state, because our weapons are our truth,” he said.

“Our truth is that this is our land, our country, our children and we will protect all of this.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin unleashed a full-scale invasion that has forced tens of thousands to flee their homes and sparked fears of a wider conflict in Europe.

“We thought something like this might happen but we were hoping until the end that it wouldn’t,” Irina Butyak, a 38-year-old teacher, told AFP as she took shelter in a basement in Kyiv, where explosions were heard through the night.

“We were hoping that common sense and common decency would prevail. Well, it didn’t,” said Butyak, who hoped she would be able to escape soon to western Ukraine.

In Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron warned that the world must brace for a long war.

“This crisis will last, this war will last and all the crises that come
with it will have lasting consequences,” Macron said, adding: “We must be prepared”.

After speaking to Macron, Zelensky tweeted to thank “partners” for sending weapons and equipment. “The anti-war coalition is working,” he said.

AFP reporters in Kyiv heard occasional blasts of what soldiers said were artillery and Grad missiles being fired in an area northwest of the city centre.