'Our fate is being decided': Zelensky's chilling warning as Russian troops encircle Kyiv

26 February 2022, 00:02 | Updated: 26 February 2022, 00:43

The Ukrainian president has warned Russia will storm Kyiv tonight after a day of explosions and missile attacks rocked the capital and left people hiding in bomb shelters
The Ukrainian president has warned Russia will storm Kyiv tonight after a day of explosions and missile attacks rocked the capital and left people hiding in bomb shelters. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned Ukraine's fate "is being decided right now" and said Russian forces will storm Kyiv in the coming hours.

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It comes after the Ministry of Defence warned Russia is "progressing towards Kyiv from multiple axes in an attempt to encircle the city".

"This night will be hard, very hard, but morning will come," said the President.

"This night the enemy will be using all available means to break our resistance.

"This night they will launch an assault. This night we must persevere.

"The fate of Ukraine is being decided right now."

He added: "This night the enemy will use all its forces to break our resistance - vile, cruel and inhuman. Tonight they will storm [Kyiv]."

He added Ukraine "can't afford to lose" the city.

Read more: As it happened: Russian troops close in on Kyiv on day two of Russian invasion

Read more: Ukraine's foreign minister says Russian troops attacked kindergarten and orphanage

Kyiv was rocked with explosions and showered in missiles as Russian forces closed in on Friday.

Blasts were heard in the capital overnight, with air raid sirens blaring through the city.

Officials said Russia launched missile strikes and Ukrainian people were told to arm themselves, including by making petrol bombs.

On Friday morning, an apartment block in the city was hit.

People have continued to flee, with chaotic scenes reported at the Kyiv-Pasazhyrskyi train station as civilians desperately tried to escape.

Thousands of people tried to flee the city on Friday
Thousands of people tried to flee the city on Friday. Picture: Alamy

Kyiv was not the only city under fire on the second day of Russia's assault.

Late on Friday Russian forces claimed to have captured the city of Melitopol.

Earlier, online footage appeared to show Russian troops launching an attack on a cancer centre of a hospital in the southeastern city, an act that Ukraine's foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba called "beyond evil".

On Friday evening, a spokesman for President Zelensky said he was ready to discuss a ceasefire with Putin.

At a meeting of the UN Security Council, Russia predictably vetoed a draft resolution to condemn Putin's actions.

But China abstained, in a move seen as a win for the West because it suggests Putin may not have the support of his neighbour.

A number of new sanctions were announced by western leaders on Friday.

The UK, US and EU have all sanctioned Putin himself as well as foreign minster Sergei Lavrov in the form of an asset freeze.

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps also announced the UK's flight ban had been extended to Russian private jets.

Russia itself has taken a number of actions, some in direct retaliation, including banning British airlines from Russian airspace and restricting access to Facebook.

Read more: Putin urges Ukraine military to overthrow 'neo-Nazi' leaders and negotiate with Russia

Read more: Miracle rescue after 'Russian tank' swerved to crush civilian car driver in Kyiv

On Friday night Prime Minister Boris Johnson directly addressed Russian people in a video shared on Twitter, and condemned Putin for 'isolating' his country from the rest of the world.

"This is a tragedy for Ukraine and so too, it is a tragedy for Russia," he said.

"Like Ukraine, Russia is a great country with a rich history and a proud people.

"Like Ukraine, Russia's poets and artists and authors have shaped our culture, and Russia's soldiers fought so bravely with us in the struggle against fascism.

"But Putin's actions are leading to complete isolation for Russia, shunned by the rest of the international community, hit by immense economic sanctions, and facing a needless and bloody war that is already costing countless lives, from innocent Ukrainians to your Russian soldiers who will never see their families again.

He then said: "To my Russian friends..." before saying, in Russian: "I do not believe this war is in your name."

People across the world have taken to the streets in protest of Putin's actions - including in Russia itself.

Images on social media showed protests in Georgia, which was invaded by Russia in 2008.

Protests also took place in Belfast, London, and the Russian city of St Petersburg.

Read more: Ukraine alerts world to higher radiation levels after Russia seizes Chernobyl

Read more: Ukraine: 'Hundreds killed' and Russian forces march on Kyiv as invasion enters day two

Over 1,700 people were arrested in Russia yesterday after thousands protested the actions of their leader.

Buildings across the UK and across the world were lit up in the colours of the Ukrainian flag on Friday night, in an expression of support for the country.

Russia invaded Ukraine in the early hours of Thursday.

The first day of military action saw more than 130 Ukrainian people killed and hundreds more injured.

Russia also captured the site of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

Boris Johnson called Putin a "blood-stained aggressor" in the House of Commons on Thursday.

"He will never be able to cleanse the blood of Ukraine from his hands," he said.

"Now we see him for what he is, a blood-stained aggressor who believes in imperial conquest."

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