Street fighting begins in Ukraine capital Kyiv, civilians advised to take shelter

A residential high-rise was reportedly hit by a missile.

Jane Zhang | February 26, 2022, 03:21 PM

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After a long night of fighting and explosions around Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, fighting was reported in the city's streets on Saturday (Feb. 26).

Explosions on Friday night and Saturday morning

The Guardian reported that explosions occurred in Kyiv on Friday night, as Russian forces tried to make their way toward the city centre but faced resistance from the Ukrainian military.

Explosions were heard in the west, south, and northwest of the city in the early hours of Saturday, according to CNN. There was then a quiet lull for about 45 minutes before bursts of gunfire were heard close to the city centre around 5:45am local time.

CNN reported that the Military Law Enforcement Service of Ukraine attributed the explosions to the military "destroy[ing] a column of equipment of the occupiers", consisting of about two cars, two trucks with ammunition, and a tank. However, CNN said that it was unable to independently verify this information.

At around 7:08am Ukrainian time (1:08pm Singapore time), a correspondent for The Economist Tim Judah reported that Kyiv's city centre was silent, with no sign of the Russians.

Street fighting

On Saturday morning, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry took to Facebook to warn civilians that fighting was taking place on the streets of Kyiv, CNN reported.

The ministry advised civilians to stay calm, be careful, and to take shelter:

"If you're in the shelter, don't leave it now. If you are at home -- do not go close to the windows, do not go to the balconies. Hide indoors, for example in the bathroom, and cover yourself with something that will prevent injury from bullet fragments.

If you hear sirens ("Air Alarm" signal) -- go immediately to the nearest shelter!"

There were multiple reports that a missile hit a high-rise residential building in Zhuliany, a neighbourhood in the southwest part of Kyiv.

According to The Kyiv Independent, there were no reported deaths.

President Volodymyr Zelensky still in Kyiv

In a video posted to Twitter on Saturday, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky in central Kyiv debunking rumours that Ukraine is laying down arms and reassuring his people that he is still in the city.

The Kyiv Independent translated what Zelensky said:

"There's a lot of fake information online that I call on our army to lay down arms, and that there's evacuation.

I'm here. We won't lay down our arms. We will defend our state."

Zelensky had reportedly been offered the option to evacuate from Kyiv by the U.S. government but responded: "The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride."

The South China Morning Post reported that experts think that, should Kyiv fall to the Russians, Zelensky will either be killed or become a Russian prisoner.

However, if he were able to escape, he could potentially run the government from western Ukraine.

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Top photo by Pierre Crom/Getty Images.