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onslaught Kyiv residents told to 'make Molotov cocktails' as they get ready fight Putin's army

Death toll mounts as 100,000 flee for their lives

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Servicemen of the Ukrainian National Guard take positions in central Kyiv. Picture: Reuters

Servicemen of the Ukrainian National Guard take positions in central Kyiv. Picture: Reuters

Natali Sevriukova reacts as she stands next to her house following a rocket attack in the city of Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Natali Sevriukova reacts as she stands next to her house following a rocket attack in the city of Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Olena Kurilo, heavily bandaged over her face and head, after a missile struck her home (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Olena Kurilo, heavily bandaged over her face and head, after a missile struck her home (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

People arrive from Ukraine to Ubla, Slovakia, after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine. Picture: Reuters

People arrive from Ukraine to Ubla, Slovakia, after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine. Picture: Reuters

A man kisses a boy who just crossed the border from Ukraine with his relatives on February 24, 2022, in Ubla, Slovakia. Picture: Getty

A man kisses a boy who just crossed the border from Ukraine with his relatives on February 24, 2022, in Ubla, Slovakia. Picture: Getty

Rescuers work at the crash site of the Ukrainian Armed Forces' Antonov aircraft, which, according to the State Emergency Service, was shot down near the capital, Kyiv. Photo: Reuters

Rescuers work at the crash site of the Ukrainian Armed Forces' Antonov aircraft, which, according to the State Emergency Service, was shot down near the capital, Kyiv. Photo: Reuters

A damaged residential building is seen, after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine. Picture: Reuters

A damaged residential building is seen, after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine. Picture: Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy makes a statement in Kyiv, Ukraine. Picture: Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy makes a statement in Kyiv, Ukraine. Picture: Reuters

Rescuers help a local resident after shelling in the town of Starobilsk in the Luhansk region, Ukraine, in this handout picture released February 25, 2022. Press service of the Ukrainian State Emergency Service/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.

Rescuers help a local resident after shelling in the town of Starobilsk in the Luhansk region, Ukraine, in this handout picture released February 25, 2022. Press service of the Ukrainian State Emergency Service/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.

A man holds a sign as members of the Russian community demonstrate against Russia, after it launched a massive military operation against Ukraine, in Los Angeles, California. Picture: Reuters

A man holds a sign as members of the Russian community demonstrate against Russia, after it launched a massive military operation against Ukraine, in Los Angeles, California. Picture: Reuters

Ukrainian servicemen are seen next to a destroyed armoured vehicle, which they said belongs to the Russian army, outside Kharkiv, Ukraine. Picture: Reuters

Ukrainian servicemen are seen next to a destroyed armoured vehicle, which they said belongs to the Russian army, outside Kharkiv, Ukraine. Picture: Reuters

Police officers detain demonstrators during an anti-war protest in St Petersburg, Russia. Picture: Reuters

Police officers detain demonstrators during an anti-war protest in St Petersburg, Russia. Picture: Reuters

A woman walks around the wreckage of an unidentified aircraft that crashed into a house in a residential area in Kyiv. Picture: Reuters

A woman walks around the wreckage of an unidentified aircraft that crashed into a house in a residential area in Kyiv. Picture: Reuters

People rest on the floor of a metro station, which they use as an air raid shelter, in Kyiv. Picture: Reuters

People rest on the floor of a metro station, which they use as an air raid shelter, in Kyiv. Picture: Reuters

A woman walks into a room in a damaged residential building, after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine, in Kyiv. Picture: Reuters

A woman walks into a room in a damaged residential building, after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine, in Kyiv. Picture: Reuters

A general view shows a New Safe Confinement (NSC) structure over the old sarcophagus covering the damaged fourth reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, in Chernobyl, Ukraine (Photo: REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

A general view shows a New Safe Confinement (NSC) structure over the old sarcophagus covering the damaged fourth reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, in Chernobyl, Ukraine (Photo: REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

People leave Kyiv after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine (Photo: REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

People leave Kyiv after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine (Photo: REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

A Ukrainian Army soldier inspects fragments of a downed aircraft in Kyiv (AP Photo/Vadim Zamirovsky)

A Ukrainian Army soldier inspects fragments of a downed aircraft in Kyiv (AP Photo/Vadim Zamirovsky)

A woman walks around the wreckage of an unidentified aircraft that crashed into a house in a residential area (Photo: REUTERS/Umit Bektas)

A woman walks around the wreckage of an unidentified aircraft that crashed into a house in a residential area (Photo: REUTERS/Umit Bektas)

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Servicemen of the Ukrainian National Guard take positions in central Kyiv. Picture: Reuters

Russian troops are bearing down on Ukraine's capital, with gunfire and explosions resonating ever closer to the government quarter, in an invasion of a democratic country that has fuelled fears of wider war in Europe.

Amid growing casualties - including shelling that sliced through a Kyiv apartment building, bridges and schools - were increasing signs that Moscow may be seeking to overthrow Ukraine's government, in Vladimir Putin's boldest effort yet to redraw the world map and revive Moscow's Cold War-era influence.

Ukrainian military vehicles are entering the country's capital Kyiv to defend it against approaching Russian troops, Ukraine's interior ministry said on Friday.

Ukrainian forces lined up on approaches to the capital to greet the approaching Russian forces and residents were urged to make Molotov cocktails to defend themselves against the predicted onslaught later today.

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Natali Sevriukova reacts as she stands next to her house following a rocket attack in the city of Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Natali Sevriukova reacts as she stands next to her house following a rocket attack in the city of Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Natali Sevriukova reacts as she stands next to her house following a rocket attack in the city of Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Kyiv's mayor Vitali Klitschko said earlier the city had "entered into a defensive phase".

Ukrainian authorities used armoured vehicles and snowploughs to defend Kyiv and limit movement, and said Russian spies were seeking to infiltrate the city.

Russia's military said it had seized a strategic airport outside Kyiv that would allow it to quickly build up forces to take the capital.

It claimed to have already cut the city off from the west - the direction most of those escaping the invasion are heading in, with lines of cars snaking towards the Polish border.

Intense fire broke out on a bridge across the Dnipro River dividing the eastern and western sides of Kyiv, with about 200 Ukrainian forces establishing defensive positions and taking shelter behind their armoured vehicles and later under the bridge.

Missiles pounded the Ukrainian capital on Friday as Russian forces entered the capital and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy pleaded with the international community to do more, saying sanctions announced so far were not enough.

Air raid sirens wailed over the city of 3 million people, where some were sheltering in underground metro stations.

Ukrainian troops are defending positions on four fronts despite being outnumbered, as Nato leaders prepare to meet later.

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An estimated 100,000 people fled as explosions and gunfire rocked major cities. Ukraine said at least 137 Ukrainians were killed overnight and 300 injured, and said hundreds of Russians had died, although Russia released no casualty figures.

People in Kyiv were told to make Molotov cocktail petrol bombs as they hid in makeshift shelters and basements, awaiting a Russian assault on the Ukrainian capital.

"Make Molotov cocktails, neutralise the occupier!" the Defence Ministry said, while local authorities told people in the northwestern Obolon area of the city to stay off the streets because "active hostilities" were approaching.

Some residents took refuge in subway stations being used as air-raid shelters, or rushed to basements of apartments blocks or other buildings when air-raid warnings sounded.

Russian troops seized the Chernobyl former nuclear power plant north of Kyiv as they advanced on the city from Belarus, with higher than usual radiation now being recorded at the site due to soil disturbance. Earlier reports that a nuclear waste store had been damaged have been discounted.

It is now believed Russia aims to capture Kyiv and topple the government, which Putin regards as a puppet of the United States.

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A woman walks around the wreckage of an unidentified aircraft that crashed into a house in a residential area in Kyiv. Picture: Reuters

A woman walks around the wreckage of an unidentified aircraft that crashed into a house in a residential area in Kyiv. Picture: Reuters

A woman walks around the wreckage of an unidentified aircraft that crashed into a house in a residential area in Kyiv. Picture: Reuters

Zelenskiy said he understood Russian troops were coming for him but vowed to stay in Kyiv.

"(The) enemy has marked me down as the number one target," Zelenskiy said in a video message. "My family is the number two target. They want to destroy Ukraine politically by destroying the head of state."

"I will stay in the capital. My family is also in Ukraine."

He urged Europe on Friday to act more quickly and forcefully in imposing sanctions on Moscow for invading Ukraine, accusing western allies of politicking as Moscow's forces advanced on Kyiv.

"Europe has enough strength to stop this aggression," Zelenskiy said, adding that everything from banning Russians from entering the European Union to cutting Moscow off from the SWIFT international banking payments system to an oil embargo should be on the table.

"You still can stop this aggression. You have to act swiftly," he said.

A German government spokesperson said coordination among European Union leaders on another sanctions package against Russia is in the early stages.

Steffen Hebestreit said that the notion of Zelenskiy seeking political asylum in Germany was not an issue at the moment and said the government would address it if it did arise.

Russia launched its invasion by land, air and sea on Thursday following a declaration of war by Putin, in the biggest attack on a European state since World War Two.

Air raid sirens wailed over Kyiv amid unconfirmed reports that a Russian plane had been shot down and crashed into a building a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion that has shocked the world.

Russia has bombed 33 civilian sites in its assault on Ukraine in the last 24 hours, Kyiv's interior ministry said on Friday.

"The Russians say they are not striking civilian objects. But 33 civilian sites have been hit over the last 24 hours," said an official at Ukraine's Interior Ministry, Vadym Denysenko.

A senior Ukrainian official said Russian forces would enter areas just outside the capital, Kyiv, later on Friday and that Ukrainian troops were defending positions on four fronts despite being outnumbered.

Zelenskiy said he understood Russian troops were coming for him but vowed to stay in Kyiv.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy makes a statement in Kyiv, Ukraine. Picture: Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy makes a statement in Kyiv, Ukraine. Picture: Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy makes a statement in Kyiv, Ukraine. Picture: Reuters

"(The) enemy has marked me down as the number one target," Zelenskiy said in a video message. "My family is the number two target. They want to destroy Ukraine politically by destroying the head of state."

"I will stay in the capital. My family is also in Ukraine."

He said Ukraine's military had so far prevented Russia from achieving its objectives. "Russia will have to talk to us sooner or later, talk about how to end the fighting and stop this invasion," Zelenskiy said in a morning address. "The sooner this conversation begins, the smaller the losses to Russia itself."

He also ordered men of fighting age from 18 to 60 could not leave the country.

The Ukrainian foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said in a tweet just before 4am on Friday that "horrific rocket strikes" hit Kyiv in an attack he compared to the city's 1941 shelling by Nazi Germany.

"Last time our capital experienced anything like this was in 1941 when it was attacked by Nazi Germany," he said.

"Ukraine defeated that evil and will defeat this one. Stop Putin. Isolate Russia. Sever all ties. Kick Russia out of (everywhere)."

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