The Russian Defense Ministry on Tuesday warned Kyiv residents to leave their homes immediately as Russia’s forces advanced on the Ukrainian capital and announced plans to bomb targets in the city.
In a statement, Russia’s Defense Ministry said the military intends to strike the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and the 72nd Center for Information and Psychological Operations (PSO) in Kyiv.
“In order to thwart informational attacks against Russia, [Russian forces] will strike technological objects of the SBU and the 72nd Main PSO Center in Kyiv,” the ministry said. “We urge Ukrainian citizens involved by Ukrainian nationalists in provocations against Russia, as well as Kyiv residents living near relay stations, to leave their homes.”
Shortly following the Russian Defense Ministry’s warning, one Ukrainian media outlet reported that an explosion was heard in Kyiv, where Ukrainian forces have thus far beaten back Russia’s incursion attempts.
Video footage from Kyiv showed residents scrambling to flee on Tuesday as Russia’s 40-mile-long convoy of tanks and armored vehicles approached the city.
Kyiv train station, reportedly from today pic.twitter.com/N57VgkDAvx— Ragıp Soylu (@ragipsoylu) March 1, 2022
Footage also showed that a Russian airstrike hit Kyiv’s main television and radio tower. Reporters Without Borders, an international advocacy group, condemned the attack as an “attempt to close access to information.”
Ukrainian emergency officials said the strike on the TV tower killed five people and injured five others.
Russians are destroying the Kyiv TV Tower.— Illia Ponomarenko (@IAPonomarenko) March 1, 2022
They are trying to cut us off from communications. pic.twitter.com/ppi264K5Jf
With Russia’s assault on major Ukrainian cities intensifying, media outlets reported that the second round of diplomatic talks is set to take place on Wednesday amid growing fears of a massive humanitarian crisis. At least 536 civilians have been killed thus far in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a toll that’s likely to grow quickly if the attack continues.
The United Nations Refugee Agency estimated Tuesday that roughly 660,000 people have fled Ukraine over the past six days.
“In any conflict it is always the most vulnerable people who are the worst affected,” Oxfam International said in a statement Tuesday. “As conflict and its consequences ravage economies, it is people living in poverty, on both sides, who will lose their jobs and their access to services, and who will struggle most to cope with daily life. As ordinary men and women are pulled into a conflict they do not want, children and the elderly will be left without support.”
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