Live updates: Clashes erupt in Ukraine capital Kyiv as invading Russian forces close in

Live updates: Clashes erupt in Ukraine capital Kyiv as invading Russian forces close in
Live Story
25 February, 2022

Invading Russian ground forces have reached the outskirts of Ukraine's capital of Kyiv, the Ukrainian army said Friday morning.

The Ukrainian army said it was fighting Russian forces just outside the capital, while the government said Kyiv was hit by "horrific rocket strikes" in the early hours.

Fighting looks to have seeped into the city, with explosions and gunfire having already erupted in Oblonsky, a northern district of the capital, an AFP reporter on the ground said.

Invading Russian forces have torn through Ukraine since President Vladimir Putin announced the launch of the invasion in the early hours of Thursday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said Moscow is deliberately targeting civilian areas. The interior ministry said Russia hit 33 civilian sites in 24 hours, killing two children.

Given the speed of developments, The New Arab is providing live updates of what's been happening on the ground and additional analysis on the conflict's significance. 

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6:12 PM
The New Arab Staff

This live blog has concluded. 

We will bring you the latest updates on Russia and Ukraine on our main site, which you can view here.

4:31 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Council of Europe said Friday that it is suspending all representatives of Russia from participation in the pan-European rights body over Moscow's attack against Ukraine.

Permanent representatives of its 47 member states "agreed to suspend the Russian Federation from its rights of representation in the Council of Europe," invoking Article 8 of its statute, the body said in a statement.

3:49 PM
The New Arab Staff

The English Football League are deliberating over lighting up the arch at Wembley Stadium in the colours of the Ukrainian flag for a match on Sunday, The Independent has reported.

The show of solidarity with Ukraine after Russia began a ground invasion of the country on Thursday would take place during the Carabao Cup final between Chelsea and Liverpool,  sources told the British news outlet. 

Some within the league’s management are conscious the move might upset some Chelsea supporters because club owner Roman Abramovich is Russian, the outlet said.

Some match organisers are pushing for a less controversial image to be used, such as a peace sign.

A British MP called on Thursday for Abramovich’s assets in the UK to be seized, citing concerns about alleged links to corruption.

[The FA via Getty]
3:10 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday urged the Ukrainian army to "take power in your own hands" by overthrowing the leadership in Kyiv.

"It seems like it will be easier for us to agree with you than this gang of drug addicts and neo-Nazis," he said, referring to leadership in Kyiv led by President Volodymyr Zelensky, who is Jewish.

The Russian army began closing in on the Ukrainian capital on Friday, as they continued to bomb more targets around the country.

Ukraine's president said Friday his country had been left on its own to fight Russia after the Kremlin launched a large-scale invasion that killed 130 Ukrainians in the first day.


Putin has called on Ukrainian soldiers to overthrow the Kyiv leadership
3:01 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Turkey cannot stop Russian warships accessing the Black Sea via its straits, as Ukraine has requested, due to a clause in an international pact that allows vessels to return to their home base, the Turkish foreign minister said on Friday.

Under the 1936 Montreux Convention, Turkey has control over the straits and can limit the passage of warships during wartime or if threatened, but the request has put the NATO member in a difficult position as it tries to manage its Western commitments and close ties with Russia.

Speaking in Kazakhstan, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey was studying Kyiv's request but said Russia had the right under the Convention to return ships to their home base, in this case the Black Sea.

Read more about the story here

Russian forces landed at Ukraine's Black and Azov Sea ports as part of the invasion
2:56 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Tens of thousands of Ukrainians, mostly women and children, crossed into Poland, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia on Friday as Russian missiles pounded the capital Kyiv and men of fighting age were told to remain.

Many waited for hours in freezing conditions to leave Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion.

United Nations aid agencies say the war could drive up to five million people to flee abroad. They said fuel, cash and medical supplies were running low in parts of Ukraine.

Read more about this story here

Tens of thousands have already crossed into neighbouring countries from Ukraine
1:42 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Russian military says it has taken control of a strategic airport just outside the Ukrainian capital and cut Kyiv off from the west.

The airport in Hostomel has a long runway capable of accommodating heavy transport planes. Its seizure allows Russia to airlift troops directly to Kyiv’s outskirts. Hostomel is just 7 kilometers (4 miles) northwest of Kyiv.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Friday that the Russian airborne forces used 200 helicopters to land in Hostomel.

Hostomel is just 7 kilometers northwest of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv
1:37 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Friday his government would prepare a resolution which will result in closing Poland's airspace for Russian airlines, a day after Russia attacked Ukraine.

"I have ordered the preparation of a resolution of the council of ministers which will lead to the closure of the airspace over Poland to Russian airlines," Morawiecki wrote on Facebook.

Russia has attacked several cities across Ukraine
1:33 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A Moldovan-flagged chemical tanker was hit by a missile on Friday near Ukraine's port of Odessa, amid Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, injuring two crew members seriously, an official at Moldova's naval agency said.

"We just heard 10 minutes ago that all the crew were saved but two were seriously injured and are on the way to hospital," Vadim Pavalachi, deputy director at the naval agency, told Reuters.


12:19 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Russian Grand Prix scheduled for September 25 has been cancelled in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the sport's owners Formula One announced on Friday.

"On Thursday evening Formula 1, the FIA, and the teams discussed the position of our sport, and the conclusion is, including the view of all relevant stakeholders, that it is impossible to hold the Russian Grand Prix in the current circumstances," read the Formula One statement.

Russia began a full-scale attack on Ukraine on Thursday
11:49 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

An advance party of Russia's invasion force left a trail of damage in its wake as clashes erupted inside Ukraine's capital Kyiv for the first time, amid rising fears the city is about to be stormed or come under siege.

Pedestrians ran for safety as small arms fire and explosions erupted in the Obolonsky district in the city's north.

The larger blasts could be heard in the city centre, where residents endured a first tense night under curfew and the sounds of bombing.

Eyewitnesses said they saw corpses of what looked to be two dead Russian soldiers near the truck, but the Ukrainian military, who were inspecting the wrecked car, did not allow AFP to come closer.

There are fears that Kyiv is about to be stormed or come under siege
11:20 AM
The New Arab Staff

A group of left-wing Labour MPs have removed their names from a statement about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that strongly criticised NATO after a warning from party leadership, The Guardian reported Friday.

Among the 11 MPs who had signed the statement drawn up by the Stop The War group were Diane Abbott, John McDonnell, and Richard Burgon - all staunch allies of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The MPs were told by Labour chief whip Alan Campbell that they would lose the party whip if they did not withdraw their names from the statement, according to The Guardian.

Stop The War had said NATO must "halt its eastward expansion and commit to a new security deal for Europe".

"We refute the idea that Nato is a defensive alliance, and believe its record in Afghanistan, Yugoslavia and Libya over the last generation, not to mention the US-British attack on Iraq, clearly proves otherwise," their statement read.

Current Labour leader Keir Starmer has long been a staunch critic of Stop The War, an anti-war group Corbyn once co-chaired.

The group has been criticised for its stance on the war in Syria, having platformed figures who support President Bashar Al-Assad - a key ally to Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

10:59 AM
The New Arab Staff

The Taliban - the militant group who violently seized power of Afghanistan last year - has called for "restraint" as invading Russian forces continue to tear through Ukraine.

"All sides need to desist from taking positions that could intensify violence," the Taliban said in a statement.

The hardline Islamist group said it made the call “in line with its foreign policy of neutrality”.

The Taliban seized control of Afghanistan last summer, when its militants swept through the country and ousted the US-backed government from power.

"You can’t make this up," journalist Aditya Raj Kaul said on Twitter of the Taliban’s plea.

10:55 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Friday accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of trying to destroy Ukraine's statehood and warned that the "security" of its President Volodymyr Zelensky was at risk.

"What Putin wants is Ukraine's submission, and he will pursue his offensive until the end," Le Drian told Inter radio.

"President Zelensky's security is a central element of all that's happening," he said, adding: "We are ready to help him if necessary."

But Le Drian refused to be drawn on whether such help could extend to an exfiltration of the president from Ukraine.

Le Drian said Russia wanted Ukraine's total submission [Getty]
10:36 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Ukraine wants peace and is ready for talks with Russia, including on adopting a neutral status regarding NATO, an adviser to the Ukrainian presidential office, Mykhailo Podolyak, told Reuters on Friday.

"If talks are possible, they should be held. If in Moscow they say they want to hold talks, including on neutral status, we are not afraid of this," he said via a text message. "We can talk about that as well."

"Our readiness for dialogue is part of our persistent pursuit of peace."


Ukraine has voiced readiness for dialogue with Russia
10:26 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Russian-backed separatist leaders expect their troops to move outwards to the borders of Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions very soon, Russian news agencies quoted separatist leaders as saying on Friday.

The separatists - whose independence Moscow recognised this week before launching a full-scale invasion of Ukraine - currently control only parts of those provinces.


Russia carried out a full-scale attack on Ukraine on Thursday [Getty]
9:29 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

France was speeding up its deployment of troops to bolster NATO's eastern flank in Romania after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, French President Emmanuel Macron said Friday.

Talking after an emergency summit with European Union leaders, Macron said he was "accelerating" the dispatch of forces.

It is part of a broader push by NATO allies to reinforce their strength in the eastern members, with thousands of troops mobilised.

Meanwhile, the United States said Thursday it was sending another 7,000 troops to Germany.

Read more about the story here

Macron said he was "accelerating" the dispatch of forces
9:23 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The European Union wants to cut all links between Russia and the global financial system, France's finance minister said on Friday, after the bloc agreed new sanctions against Moscow over its attack on Ukraine.

The EU "wants to cut all the links between Russia and the global financial system," Bruno Le Maire said at the start of a meeting of European finance ministers. "We want to isolate Russia financially... We want to dry up the financing," he added.

Read more about the story here

Le Maire said the EU wants to isolate Russia financially
8:51 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Russia has banned British airlines from landing at its airports or crossing its airspace, its state civil aviation regulator said on Friday.

The move follows London's ban on the flights of Russian flag carrier Aeroflot imposed in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday pledged "further UK support to Ukraine" in a phone call with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, his office said.

Britain has said is ready to provide Ukraine with additional military support including lethal defensive weapons, but Defence Secretary Ben Wallace ruled out sending troops.

(AFP, Reuters)

8:45 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will hold talks with officials from the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics of eastern Ukraine later on Friday in Moscow, the Russian foreign ministry said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed decrees on Monday to recognise two breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine as independent statelets, before ordering the invasion of Ukraine on Thursday.

Russian-backed separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions - collectively known as the Donbass - broke away from Ukrainian government control in 2014 and proclaimed themselves independent "people's republics."


8:35 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Explosions and gunfire erupted in a northern district of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on Friday, an AFP reporter on the ground heard, as invading Russian forces closed in.

Russian forces first arrived on the outskirts of Kyiv on Thursday when helicopter-borne troops assaulted an airfield just outside the city, close to Obolonsky.

The Ukrainian defence ministry's Facebook page urged civilians to resist.

"We urge citizens to inform us of troop movements, to make Molotov cocktails, and neutralise the enemy," it said.




The New Arab Staff
The New Arab Staff & Agencies