Explosions rocked Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv overnight as the country’s citizens are encouraged to make homemade bombs, prepare a defense.
Ukraine’s president has called on citizens to take up arms and join the fight. They can join and will be given weapons as long as they have ID, according to Ukraine’s Armed Forces.
“All those who are ready to take up arms, join the ranks of the area defense forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. We simplified procedures. Only your ID is needed. We give weapons to all patriots!” Ukraine’s Armed Forces said in a tweet.
We will give weapons to anyone who wants to defend the country. Be ready to support Ukraine in the squares of our cities.
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) February 24, 2022
In overnight news, the country’s adviser to the interior minister stated several Russian aircraft were downed and the Ukrainian army retook an important airport.
Explosions were reported in Kyiv around 3 a.m. Friday local time. Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba announced around 6 a.m. that the city endured “horrific Russian rocket strikes.” The city is one of Europe’s oldest, and most densely-populated cities.
Citizens in capital under fire unlike anything since World War II
“Last time our capital experienced anything like this was in 1941 when it was attacked by Nazi Germany. Ukraine defeated that evil and will defeat this one. Stop Putin. Isolate Russia. Severe all ties. Kick Russia out of everywhete [sic],” he wrote.
Olexander Scherba, a Ukrainian diplomat who was the country’s ambassador to Austria 2014–2021, said on Twitter that at least “two heavy explosions” occurred in Kyiv and that cruise ballistic missile had hit the city. He later posted a video of an explosion in the sky, captioned: “Kyiv now… A drone or plane hit? A missile intercepted?”
Adviser to the Ukrainian interior minister Anton Gerashchenko said on Telegram that Ukraine’s air force shot down a Russian plane or drone, after which crashed in the Darnitsky district. This was what accounted for the explosions seen in the skies above Kyiv, he said.
It was unclear whether the aircraft was manned.
Wreckage from the explosion sparked a fire at a nine-story residential building, he added.
Scherba also posted images of the reported fire on Twitter.
At least 137 people had been killed and 316 were wounded since Russia launched its assault on the country, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said about two hours prior to the reported explosions in Kyiv.
The invasion began early Thursday with a series of missile strikes, many on key government and military installations, quickly followed by a three-pronged ground assault.
Ukrainian and U.S. officials said Russian forces were attacking from the east toward Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city; from the southern region of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014; and from Belarus to the north.
–Wire services including the Associated Press