Kiev: The Ukrainian capital was hit by “cruise or ballistic missiles”, according to an official

“Strikes on Kiev with cruise or ballistic missiles are continuing,” Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to the head of Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, told reporters via a text message on Friday, as residents of the city prepared for further Russian military operations.

The CNN team on the ground reported that it heard two large explosions in central Kiev and a third powerful explosion in the distance. Pictures showed a burning apartment building, but the cause of the fire is not clear.

Just a day earlier, Russian troops entered by land, sea and air, prompting a barrage of international condemnations and sanctions and amid questions about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s broader ambitions for the country and the capital, Kiev.

Ukraine’s deputy interior minister told CNN Thursday that Russian forces appear to be encircling the city and appear ready to move in. The country’s officials believe that Russia’s plan is to overthrow the Ukrainian leadership and install a pro-Russian government.

Those concerns were shared with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who said Thursday he was “convinced” that Moscow would try to overthrow the Ukrainian government.

If that happens, Blinken said he believes that “Moscow has developed plans to inflict widespread – and perhaps worse – human rights abuses on the Ukrainian people.”

Biden administration officials said Russian mechanized forces that entered Ukraine via Belarus were about 20 miles from Kiev, sources told CNN.

Officials told US House of Representatives lawmakers at a Ukraine news briefing on Thursday that another Russian element had entered Ukraine from Russia and both were heading toward Kiev with the goal of encircling the city and possibly displacing the Ukrainian government, according to two sources who were in contact with the Russian Federation. legislators.

For now, Ukraine’s democratically elected government remains the same, and a state of emergency is set to begin on Friday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is still in the capital, but said he believes that “hostile sabotage groups” have entered this city and that it is their number one target. He said his family is the second target.

“They want to destroy Ukraine politically by destroying the head of state,” he said in a video statement late Thursday.

According to preliminary figures, 137 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed since the Russian invasion began in the early hours of Thursday morning, and another 316 soldiers have been wounded, Zelensky said.

This is an evolving story. More is coming.

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