Russia-Ukraine war live updates – Kyiv faces 40-MILE column of Putin's tanks as assassins plot Zelensky murder 'in DAYS'

MORE than 400 militia fighters have snuck into Kyiv with the intention of ASSASSINATING Ukrainian president Zelenskyy.

The Times reports how the Wagner Group flew in mercenaries five weeks ago, with strict order to clear the ground in Kyiv for Moscow to take control.

The outlet reports mercenaries were tasked with leading in Russian convoys – while others were tasked with hunting down and killing 24 Ukrainian officials.

They told the Times they had been "tracking them for weeks" with "pinpoint accuracy" – and were "ready to strike at any time".

Last night the sky lit up over Kyiv from huge explosions, as a huge 40-mile column of Russian tanks was earlier seen advancing to the city.

Vladimir Putin's troops are believed to be looking to surround Kyiv after earlier attacks by advanced forces were repelled in fierce battles.

Satellite pictures provider Maxar Technologies said the convoy on the eastern edge of Kyiv's Antonov airport contained hundreds of armoured vehicles, tanks, towed artillery and logistics support vehicles.

Other images showed also Russian ground forces close in Zdvyzhivka, northeast of Kyiv. 

Speaking to Times Radio, Domic Raab said: “This war is not going to end quickly, we have to be honest about that.

"We can expect Putin to act more aggressively… but anyone who follows Putin’s orders need to know they will end up in a dock and spend the rest of their lives behind bars”.

Follow our Russia-Ukraine live blog below for up to the minute updates…

  • Louis Allwood

    Zelenskyy accuses Russia of WAR CRIMES in Ukraine

    UKRAINIAN president Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of war crimes after a blitz that killed 11 and destroyed a school in Kharkiv.

    Horrific videos have been emerging from Ukraine's second city showing apparently indiscriminate bombing of civilians.

    Footage showed barrage of rockets or cluster bombs falling over residential areas in the city which has a large Rusia-friendly population.

    The midday raid left at least 11 dead, including three children – and other shelling also destroyed a school.

    Kharkiv has been holding out staunchly against the Russian invaders even though it is just 25 miles from the border.

    But this resistance appears to have led to Vladimir Putin unleashing a devastating blitz on the city's 1.5million people.

  • Louis Allwood

    Explosions rock Kyiv as Russian forces blast capital

    KYIV has been rocked by loud explosions after Russian airstrikes hit the Ukrainian capital.

    Dramatic video showed the night sky lit up, as a huge 40-mile column of Russian tanks was earlier seen advancing to the city.

    In the early hours of Tuesday morning, air raid sirens blared out across the city as police officers hurried people to shelters.

    Vladimir Putin's troops are believed to be looking to surround Kyiv after earlier attacks by advanced forces were repelled in fierce battles.

  • Louis Allwood

    Putin accused of unleashing horrifying VACUUM BOMBS

    Terrifying "vacuum bombs" that can explode enemy troops' lungs have been used in Ukraine, its government has said.

    Russia's TOS-1 Buratino rocket launchers are some of the most deadly non-nuclear weapons that can be deployed on the modern battlefield.

    The TOS-1 launches a rocket carrying a fuel-air explosive (FAE), dubbed the "wall of napalm".

    At the weekend one of the fearsome launchers was seen being transported on the back of a lorry near Belgorod in Russia.

    The thermobaric weapons are "vacuum bombs' because they suck in oxygen from the surrounding air.

    That generates a powerful explosion and enormous pressure wave that results in immense destruction.

    Now, Ukraine's Ambassador to the U.S, Oksana Markarova, has accused the Russians of using weapons.

    "They used the vacuum bomb today, which is actually prohibited by the Geneva convention," she said.

  • Louis Allwood

    Brave Brits signing up in droves to join Ukraine

    BRAVE Brits are signing up in their droves to join Ukraine and fight against Vladimir Putin’s bloody invasion.

    In extraordinary scenes, builders, brickies and even a plucky 60 year-old Army reservist descended on Ukraine’s London embassy yesterday to volunteer.

    They were answering Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s call for Europe’s men to take up arms and “defeat Putin” like “we defeated Hitler”.

    Boris Johnson yesterday urged Brits not to travel to the war-torn country to fight – slapping down Foreign Secretary Liz Truss who just hours earlier had backed the mission.

    But defiant Brits said they could not sit back and watch as our European neighbours are bombed to oblivion by the Red Army.

    They included Brian Grove, 60, who used to be in the Territorial Army.

    He said:  “I used to be in the TA. I have also got a lot of first aid training so decided to come and do something.

    “I can get on a flight tomorrow.

    “I am 60 so just about within the age range they would accept.”

  • Louis Allwood

    Putin has amassed a staggering SIX THOUSAND nuclear weapons

    Vladimir Putin’s chilling decision to put his nuclear weapons arsenal into “combat duty” mode has caused panic across the world.

    Since the Cold War started, it has been assumed the threat of “mutually assured destruction” ­— in which tit-for-tat strikes would destroy both parties — would prevent a nuclear war.

    But the decision of the increasingly unpredictable Russian leader to place the world’s biggest atomic arsenal on standby is being taken very seriously indeed.

    At his disposal are an estimated 5,977 warheads, of which 1,600 are ready to be deployed.

    This terrifying arsenal can be launched from land, submarines and planes.

    They include non-strategic “battlefield” nukes which have a smaller destructive power — and radioactive fallout — and are intended to destroy military capabilities rather than civilian populations. They can be anything from land mines to torpedos.

    They have never been used in combat — so far.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Explosions rock Kyiv as Russian forces blast capital in airstrikes 

    KIEV has been rocked by loud explosions after Russian air strikes hit the Ukrainian capital.

    Dramatic video showed the night sky lit up, as a huge column of Russian tanks were earlier seen advancing to just 17 miles from city.

    Vladimir Putin's troops are looking to surround Kyiv after attacks by advanced forces failed were repelled in fierce battles. 

    Satellite pictures provider Maxar Technologies said the convoy on the eastern edge of Antonov airport contained hundreds of armoured vehicles, tanks, towed artillery and logistics support vehicles.

    Other images showed also Russian ground forces close in Zdvyzhivka, northeast of Kyiv. 

    In Kyiv, many were preparing for a fresh assault with makeshift barricades dotting the streets.

    The Russian army urged Ukrainians to leave Kyiv "freely" on one highway out ahead of what is an expected Russian offensive to capture the capital.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Kharkiv: Nine dead & 39 injured, says city's Mayor

    Ukrainian authorities say at least 39 people have been wounded and nine people killed in fighting in Ukraines second-largest city of Kharkiv.

    The state emergencies agency said the casualties could be higher because the damage from Mondays shelling of residential areas is still being assessed.

    Ukrainian social networks featured videos showing residential quarters hit by a series of powerful explosions amid fighting with Russian forces.

    The Russian military has consistently denied targeting residential areas despite abundant evidence of shelling of residential buildings, schools and hospitals.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Rishi Sunak says it's 'too soon' to know war impact on energy market

    Speaking this evening, the Chancellor said: "We are defending democracy and freedom and the most important way we can do that today is by supporting our sanctions, which are incredibly severe and unprecedented in their scope and scale and will already be making an impact on the Russian economy and undermining Putin's regime.

    "What we're also seeing as a result of Putin's aggression is volatility in energy markets.

    "It's too soon to know what the long-term implications are but that's why we're speeding up our plans to improve our energy security, investing both in nuclear but also renewables like offshore wind."

  • Joseph Gamp

    Russian troops offered amnesty and money tosurrenders

    Ukraine's defence minister has appealed for Russian soldiers to surrender.

    Oleksii Reznikov said that if troops voluntarily laid down their weapons, they would receive full amnesty and monetary compensation.

    "Those of you who do not want to become a murderer and die can save yourselves," he said in a post on social media.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Russia says 12 UN diplomats ordered to leave the US

    Russia claims 12 of its UN diplomats have been give marching orders from thethe United States.

    The country'sUN envoy said the diplomats had until March 7 to leave.

    Russia claimed the US has expelled the diplomats for "undiplomatic activities".

  • Joseph Gamp

    Russian ambassador accidentally calls the invasion 'war'

    Russia's ambassador to the UN has called the Russian invasion a "war", before quickly correcting his mistake

    Speaking to a news conference, Vassily Nebenzia was responding to a question about reports of hundreds of civilian casualties. 

    He dismissed the claims as "fake news" and Russia has not seen "credible reports" of civilian casualties. 

    "Of course, war is a bad thing and anything can happen," he said. 

    A reporter then pointed out he had referred to the conflict as war, asking: "This is now war?"

    Mr Nebenzia replied: "This is a special military operation. I wouldn't call it a war because war means outright military hostility."

  • Joseph Gamp

    Downing Street: PM is urging nation to supply more weapons

    Downing Street says the PM "stressed the need for countries to continue supporting the Ukrainian government, including with the provision of defensive weapons".

    "The prime minister commended the progress over the weekend with all G7 countries agreeing to remove Russian banks from SWIFT. 

    "The prime minister also paid tribute to his fellow leaders' renewed commitments to bolster the NATO alliance, including Chancellor Scholz's pledge to massively increase Germany's spending on defence. 

    "The leaders agreed to pursue every avenue to ensure that Putin fails in his ambitions."

  • Joseph Gamp

    Germany sending Tornado warplanes to Baltic Sea

    Germany is going to send Tornado warplanes and a maritime patrol aircraft on a reconnaissance mission to the Baltic Sea area, the country's mission to NATO has said. 

    A reconnaissance is defined as a mission that aims to gain information about an enemy, or a potential enemy. 

    A spokesperson for the defence ministry in Berlin said she could not immediately give any details due to operational security concerns. 

    It comes after the German navy dispatched six additional warships, four of them to the Baltic Sea, earlier today.  

  • Joseph Gamp

    Liz Truss to head to Geneva tomorrow for crisis talks

    Liz Truss will head to Geneva tomorrow to give a speech to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

    The foreign secretary will tell other leaders there can be "no apologising or excusing" Russia's war on Ukraine – and will urge the international community to further isolate Russia.

    "Tanks are tearing through towns while missiles barrage homes and hospitals. Putin is murdering Ukrainians indiscriminately. There is blood on his hands, not just of innocent Ukrainians but the men he sent to die," she will say.

    "Putin is violating international law, including the UN Charter. He is violating human rights on an industrial scale and the world will not stand for it.

    "There are no shades of grey to this conflict. It is about right and wrong. This is Vladimir Putin's unprovoked war, against a sovereign nation."

  • Joseph Gamp

    Generals ordered to take Kharkiv at all costs

    Russian generals have been ordered to take the city at all costs.

    The devastating attack hit the north east of the town where a Russian attempt to take the city was forced to retreat on Sunday.

    Russia is understood to have used BM-21 Grad rocket launchers – which have been pictured being moved into Ukraine.

    The weapons – first developed in the 1960s – are known as "hail" launchers as they fire a bombardment of unguided projectiles.

    With such an indiscriminate assault, it raises new fears amid the escalating violence in Ukraine – which has killed scores of civilians and a number of children.

    "The Russian occupiers fired en masse on residential areas of Kharkiv. Dozens of dead and hundreds of wounded Ukrainian citizens," said the general staff of Ukraine.

  • Joseph Gamp

    The latest from Ukraine

    • Ukraine faces a "crucial 24 hours" as officials from Kyiv and Moscow sit down for high level peace talks
    • Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is reportedly assisting in the peace process
    • UK defence sec Ben Wallace warned Vladimir Putin's forces could unleash an "indiscriminate and ruthless" bombing campaign
    • Russia fears a bank run and civil unrest after crushing Western sanctions were imposed over the weekend
    • Heartbreaking scenes show thousands of Ukrainian kids separated from their dads at the border
    • And a little girl, 6, wearing unicorn pyjamas was killed in a Russian airstrike as doctors told reporters 'show this to Putin'
    • Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskyy is being hailed as a hero after he went from being a comedian to a war time leader
    • Putin has been accused of taking muscle-boosting steroids that may be giving him roid rage

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    PICTURES of women and children fleeing the horror of Ukraine’s devastated towns and cities moved Sun readers to tears.

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    President Zelenskyy signs letter asking to join the EU

    President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has announced he has signed a request to join the EU.

    Mr Zelenskyy confirmed the action in a Telegram post alongside an image of him signing the application.

    Statement from FIFA

    Russia have been banned from competing in all World Cup qualifiers and matches.

    A statement from FIFA said: "These decisions were adopted today by the Bureau of the FIFA Council and the Executive Committee of UEFA, respectively the highest decision-making bodies of both institutions on such urgent matters,"

    "Football is fully united here and in full solidarity with all the people affected in Ukraine. 

    "Both presidents hope that the situation in Ukraine will improve significantly and rapidly so that football can again be a vector for unity and peace amongst people." 

    Truss: Putin's invasion 'is not proceeding to plan'

    Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has said Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion is "not proceeding to plan".

    She said: "He expected to take cities quickly. He expected Ukraine to retreat and he expected the West to be divided.

    "Instead, his forces were met by the heroic heroism of President Zelensky and the resolute determination of the Ukrainian people.

    "He has been met by a united West, together with our friends around the world, and we have taken decisive action.

    "Today we have acted with the US, the EU, Japan and Canada to cut Russia's central bank off from our markets. The rouble has fallen by over 40% as a result, as much as 250 billion dollars have been wiped off the Russian stock market and today their stock market is closed."

    • Joseph Gamp

      Shapps ordered ALL UK ports to deny entry to Russian ships

      Brits have been advised not to travel to Russia in light of the nation's invasion of Ukraine.

      Grant Shapps has also asked all UK ports to not provide access "to any Russian flagged, registered, owned, controlled, chartered or operated vessels".

      He added: "Given Putin's action in Ukraine I've made clear these vessels are NOT welcome here with prohibiting legislation to follow."

    • Joseph Gamp

      BREAKING: FIFA to ban Russia from the World Cup

      Fifa is set to suspend Russia from the World Cup until further notice.

      It comes after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommended that Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials are banned from any organised international competitions.

      Fifa's suspension would mean Russia's exclusion from the men's World Cup qualification play-offs in March.

    • Joseph Gamp

      Ben Wallace: Better ways for Brits to help Ukraine than fighting

      Asked on the BBC's Sunday Morning programme if she would support UK citizens who chose to answer the call, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: "That is something people can make their own decisions about.

      "The people of Ukraine are fighting for freedom and democracy, not just for Ukraine but for the whole of Europe.

      "Absolutely, if people want to support that struggle I would support them in doing that."

      But Mr Wallace, who served in the Scots Guards, said there were "better ways" for Britons to help.

      Mr Wallace told Sky News Ms Truss was right that it was a "just cause", but added: "If you're keen to help and you're a United Kingdom citizen, come and join our armed forces.

      "Look, there are people who will go… I think what I would say is unless you are properly trained, unless you are a, you know, experienced member of an armed forces, I think there are better ways for you to contribute to the security of Ukraine."

    • Joseph Gamp

      Russia launches attack on Kyiv after talks conclude

      New footage shows a blast going off over Kyiv.

      It comes after the first round of peace talks between the two sides concluded without a resolution.

      Watch the footage in the wteet from @KyivIndepenent below.

      Source: Read Full Article