Ukraine’s army is fighting back against a full-scale Russian invasion, with deadly skirmishes taking place near Kyiv, the capital.
Fighting is raging on the edges of the city, and if Russian troops conquer it, it might serve as a launching pad for the Russian army into Kyiv.
After attacking from the east, north, and south on Thursday, the Russian assault is being resisted on multiple fronts.
Several explosions have been reported in Kyiv.
Hundreds of people have been killed, according to Ukraine, and hundreds have fled.
Moscow launched the operation in the early hours of the morning, only hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared war on the country in a dramatic televised address.
Any country seeking to interfere would face “consequences you have never seen,” he said.
Before tanks marched in across three sides of Ukraine’s enormous border, air and missile strikes rained down on communities and military posts. It came after weeks of rising tensions, with Russia massing soldiers around the country.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, has promised to keep fighting. He claimed that “a new iron curtain” was being erected, and that his mission was to ensure that his country stayed on the western side of it.
Mr Zelensky issued a call-up order for conscripts and reservists in all of Ukraine’s regions. The country’s defense minister urged everyone with a weapon to join the fight against Russia.
Fears of a Russian assault on the city grew as night fell. Throughout the day, gunfire and explosions could be heard in the city, and the president was quoted in Ukrainian media as declaring that “saboteurs” had entered Kyiv.
Russia was building a “overwhelming force” to take control of the city, according to Western intelligence officials.
There was also fighting near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant’s old site. Mykhaylo Podolyak, a presidential adviser in Ukraine, stated the nuclear complex had been lost after a “fierce combat.”
Ukrainian soldiers were putting up “a vigorous opposition” to the assault, according to the UK Ministry of Defence, although both sides had suffered “serious fatalities.”
On Thursday, the toll on civilians became clear as thousands fled the war to neighboring countries such as Moldova, Romania, Poland, and Hungary.
According to UN estimates, over 100,000 people have already fled their homes.
“We don’t know what we should do now,” Svetlana, one of the women, told the BBC. “We’re now going to a safe place, and we’re hoping to get out safely.”
Prior to the invasion, human rights organizations warned that an attack could result in a major refugee crisis in Europe.
Warning sirens have been blasting in Kyiv, which has a population of roughly three million people, while traffic lineups to escape the city have formed. Hundreds of people are finding refuge in metro stations, bomb shelters, and basements for the night.
Throughout the day, Western leaders voiced shock and outrage at the extent of the attack, which took place by land, air, and sea.
The United Kingdom, the European Union, and other allies pledged to impose strong additional sanctions on Moscow, but indicated they would not deploy soldiers in.
In what was Mr Putin’s first communication with a Western leader in days, French President Emmanuel Macron spoke by phone with his Russian counterpart.
Mr Macron demanded an “immediate halt” to the offensive and threatened Mr Putin with “massive sanctions”, the French government said. The Kremlin, however, simply said the pair had a “serious and frank exchange of views”