President Volodymyr Zelensky has allegedly refused President Joe Biden’s offer of safe passage out of his country, as Russian forces moved in to take the Ukrainian capital
The Ukraine President has told the US “I need ammunition, not a ride” as he turned down their offer of a safe route out of the country, according to American officials.
Speaking in the early hours of Friday morning, President Zelensky claimed he was ‘target number one’ for the Russian enemy who he claimed would abduct and kill him to topple the Ukraine political system.
But defiant Zelensky has remained in Kyiv with his officials and was seen in a military tent with soldiers, ordering all men of fighting age to stay behind with him as he handed out weapons to the public.
Now he has allegedly even refused calls from the American government to let them evacuate him to ensure his safety, telling them “the fight is here”.
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AFP via Getty Images)
He said: “The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride”, according to a senior American intelligence official with direct knowledge of the conversation.
The official also described the Ukrainian leader as upbeat, and explained that US President Joe Biden had tried to offer Zelensky a safe route out of his country.
Russian troops have descended on Kyiv overnight as they advanced from three sides over Friday into the early hours of Saturday morning (Feb 26).
Blasts were heard across the capital as troops moved in, and President Zelensky warned his people to prepare to protect the city.
Overnight Zelensky warned it was the night Russian troops would “assault” the city, while US officials claimed it was Putin’s aim to “decapitate” the Ukrainian government.
The fighting reached the inner circle of the city as videos emerged of residential buildings being struck by missiles near a Kyiv airport.
Separately, the Interfax Ukraine agency said Russian soldiers were trying to capture one of the city’s electricity generating stations.
The unprovoked invasion of neighboring Ukraine by Russian forces on the command of President Vladimir Putin has sparked bloodshed and chaos.
With Putin’s troops shelling cities across Ukraine and the nation’s army vowing to fight to the death to defend their land, observers fear the death toll will be enormous.
So far, it has been confirmed by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky that 137 civilians and military personnel they were killed in the country on the first day of the Russian invasion.
In an address to his people, Mr Zelensky revealed to further 316 had been wounded in the fighting.
The death toll is set to rise as, on the night of February 25, Ukraine’s deputy defense minister Hanna Maliar claimed nearly 3,000 Russian servicemen had died during the first two days of the deep invasion
She wrote in a Facebook post that “the troops of the invading country have suffered the following losses (approximately) as of 3pm Friday”, before going on to list “up to 80” tanks; 516 “armored combat vehicles of various types”; 10 planes; seven helicopters and 2,800 “special staff” she claims were among the losses suffered by Russia.
Meanwhile, the official Twitter page of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine claimed in a tweet that “today the number of losses from the occupying forces of the Russian Federation is more than 1 thousand.”
These claims have not yet been independently verified.
Kyiv residents were told by the defense ministry to make petrol bombs to repel the invaders, and witnesses on Friday night have reported hearing artillery rounds and intense gunfire from the western part of the city.
Zelensky and his right hand men gathered in the street to film a short clip showing himself in the streets of Kyiv ready to fight.
He told the world: “Tonight, they will launch an assault. All of us must understand what awaits us. We must withstand this night,” he said in a video address posted to his Telegram channel. “The fate of Ukraine is being decided right now.”
His message continued: “We are here, we are fighting.”
Moscow said on Friday it had captured the Hostomel airfield northwest of the capital – a potential staging post for an assault on Kyiv that has been fought over since Russian paratroopers landed there in the first hours of the war.
AFP via Getty Images)
Elsewhere the Kremlin tried to capture Mariupol, a crucial shipping port which supplies goods such as wheat and barley to Mediterranean countries.
Russian forces are closing in on the port in a bid to strangle the Ukrainian economy.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.