Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has survived a night of Russian assaults on Kyiv and instructed people not to believe “fake news”.
“Good morning everybody. Do not believe fake news. I am here,” Mr Zelensky said in Ukrainian in a selfie video posted to social media.
“We will not lay down our weapons. We will defend our Country. Our weapons are our strength. This is our land. Our country. Our children. We will protect all of them,” he added in the video, which appeared to be shot in downtown Kyiv.
Nicola Sturgeon has praised the defenders of Kyiv, saying that Scotland sends “strength and solidarity” in the face of Russian aggression.
Не вірте фейкам. pic.twitter.com/wiLqmCuz1p
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) February 26, 2022
Ukraine’s capital city has undergone a night of violence as Moscow’s troops enter the outskirts of the city.
Heavy gunfire has been heard in the streets and an apartment building has been heavily damaged in what is believed to be a missile attack.
A section of the Prospekt Peremohy highway near central Kyiv turned into a warzone last night, with one video showing fires alight along the key road running east-west from the city’s centre.
According to media reports the footage was recorded near the capital’s Beresteiska metro station, just 4km (2.5 miles) from the building housing Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence.
Проспект перемоги зараз. Київ pic.twitter.com/KGQO3eKSqR
— Мілітарний (@mil_in_ua) February 26, 2022
Residents of Kyiv have taken to the underground metro system and to basements and cellars as they hide from the fighting in the streets.
READ MORE: Why Putin’s war in the Ukraine could hit Scotland hard
Ms Sturgeon said their bravery was “awe-inspiring”, tweeting last night: “Few of us – mercifully – will ever be tested as Ukrainians are being right now.
“But from the President to the women and men in the streets, their courage and resolve is awe-inspiring. It’s nowhere near enough, but we send them strength and solidarity.”
🇺🇦 Few of us – mercifully – will ever be tested as Ukrainians are being right now. But from the President to the women and men in the streets, their courage and resolve is awe-inspiring. It’s nowhere near enough, but we send them strength and solidarity #StandwithUkraine 🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) February 25, 2022
Kyiv officials have warned residents that street fighting is underway against Russian forces and they are urging people to seek shelter.
The warning issued on Saturday advised residents to remain in shelters, to avoid going near windows or on balconies and to take precautions against being hit by debris or bullets.
The attack on Kyiv come as support for Ukraine ramps up across the world. France has dispatched weapons and equipment to te embattled country, with President Zelensky tweeting that he had spoken to France’s President Macron early on Saturday morning as a “new day on the diplomatic frontline began”.
“The anti-war coalition is working!” Mr Zelensky tweeted.
On Saturday, Mr Macron posted a video of himself declaring: “The war will last – we must prepare for it!”
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden has signed a memorandum on the provision of up to 600 million dollars (£448 million) in immediate military aid to Ukraine.
The document issued by the White House said Mr Biden made the order under part of the Foreign Assistance Act to “determine whether it is important to the security interests of the United States to furnish up to 250 million dollars (£187 million) in assistance without regard to any provision of law”.
He also signed it “to direct the drawdown of up to an aggregate value of 350 million dollars (£261 million) in defence articles and services of the Department of Defence, and military education and training, and to make the determinations required under such section to direct such a drawdown”.
“We are not targeting civilian facilities” pic.twitter.com/FOvtol6QAt
— Myroslava Petsa (@myroslavapetsa) February 26, 2022
In the UK, Armed Forces Minister James Heappey has said that Ukrainian forces defending Kyiv have been putting up “incredible resistance”.
Mr Heappey said the situation was “very grave” but that the fighting in the capital was so far confined to “very isolated pockets of Russian special forces and paratroopers”.
READ MORE: Downing Street is lit in Ukraine’s blue and yellow. Our response must be more than window dressing
“The main armoured columns approaching Kyiv are still some way off. That is a testament to the incredible resistance the Ukrainian armoured forces have put up over the last 48 hours or so,” he told Sky News.
“Clearly the Russian plan is to take Kyiv but the reality is that the Ukrainians are thwarting them thus far.
“It looks like the Russian plan is nowhere near running to schedule.
“I think that will be a great cause of concern for President Putin and rather points to the fact that there was a lot of hubris in the Russian plan and that he may be awfully advised.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson last night issued a message to the Russian people, where he spoke both Russian and Ukrainian, saying he did not believe the war was being carried out in their name.