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Ukrainian servicemen walk at fragments of a downed aircraft seen in in Kyiv today Oleksandr Ratushniak

Here are the main points to know as Russian forces continue their assault on Ukraine

Explosions have been heard in Kyiv this morning.

LAST UPDATE | 25 Feb 2022

RUSSIAN FORCES HAVE been moving closer to the centre of Kyiv, as the second day of the invasion of Ukraine continues.

Russian President Vladimir Putin originally launched the assault on Ukraine yesterday morning.

Ukrainian forces are currently fighting an advanced party of Russia’s invasion force in the capital of Kyiv, with small arms fire and explosions heard in the district of Obolonsky.

Fighting has also been taking place in cities like Kharkiv, with heavy fighting and multiple reports of artillery and gunfire during the day.

Ukrainian President Zelensky has pleaded for international help and urged the EU to impose tougher sanctions on Russia. The second package of sanctions has been issued by the bloc, including an asset freeze for Putin himself.

The situation evolved quickly yesterday and Ukrainian troops have been able to inflict damage against Russian attackers.

Here’s what happened so far today:

  • NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg has said that Ukrainian forces are putting up a fight against the Russians and that they have inflicted damage to them.
  • Over 50,000 Ukrainian citizens have fled the country since the Russian invasion began, with Poland opening its borders to anyone seeking to cross, regardless of whether they have a passport.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that he is still in Kyiv, alongside a number of his top allies and the Prime Minister in a video message on Twitter.
  • Personal sanctions, including an asset freeze, against Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have been officially agreed by the EU.
  • Putin has said that he is willing to send a high-level delegation to Minsk to begin negotiations with Ukraine.
  • Ukrainian officials have said that they would be unwilling to meet in the Belarussian capital and would prefer to meet in Poland, which is a member of NATO.
  • The US has dismissed the offer of talks with Ukraine as not serious and called on Russia to withdraw troops from the country to show its commitment to diplomacy.
  • Zelensky spoke with US President Joe Biden earlier today about strengthening sanctions and getting “concrete defence assistance”, saying that he was grateful for “strong” American support.
  • The head of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence said that over 18,000 assault rifles have been distributed to volunteers.
  • Men between 18 and 60 are unable to leave Ukraine and are being conscripted to fight against Russian forces.
  • NATO have issued a statement on the Russian invasion, saying that they will continue to “provide political and practical support” to Ukraine.
  • Protests took place outside the Russian embassy in Dublin this afternoon.
  • All flights to Dublin from Russian airliner Aeroflot have been cancelled until 23 May.
  • The Ukrainian army tweeted calling for more recruits this morning – saying they will take anyone regardless of age.
  • Higher than usual levels of gamma radiation have been detected in the area near the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear plant. The plant and the surrounding area was seized by Russian forces yesterday.
  • Thousands of Ukrainians have made the journey to the Polish border on foot, with people having to walk 41 miles due to road blockages.

Here are some other updates:

  • The UN Security Council will vote today on a resolution that would condemn Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine “in the strongest terms” and demand an immediate halt to Russia’s invasion and the withdrawal of all Russian troops.
  • Supply chain experts have said that Irish and European businesses should be prepared for more shortages, global shipping disruption and higher raw materials prices following the invasion.
  • Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has called for further sanctions against Russia and referred to Putin as the “Hitler of the 21st century”.
  • Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has called for the Russian Ambassador to Ireland, Yuriy Filatov, to be expelled from Ireland.
  • UEFA has confirmed that this season’s Champions League Final will no longer take place in Saint Petersburg in Russia and will now take place in France.
  • The International Olympics Committee has urged sporting federations to cancel events in both Russia and Belarus.
  • The UN condemned the estimated 1,800 “arbitrary arrests” of people in Russia for protesting the country’s invasion of Ukraine and urged their immediate release.

Updated by Tadgh McNally

Additional reporting by AFP.


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