Russia-Ukraine war live updates – Kyiv faces 40-MILE column of tanks as assassins plot Zelenskyy murder 'in DAYS'

MORE than 400 militia fighters have snuck into Kyiv with the intention of ASSASSINATING Ukrainian president Zelenskyy.

The Times reports how the Wagner Group flew in mercenaries five weeks ago, with strict order to clear the ground in Kyiv for Moscow to take control.

The outlet reports mercenaries were tasked with leading in Russian convoys – while others were tasked with hunting down and killing 24 Ukrainian officials.

They told the Times they had been "tracking them for weeks" with "pinpoint accuracy" – and were "ready to strike at any time".

Last night the sky lit up over Kyiv from huge explosions, as a huge 40-mile column of Russian tanks was earlier seen advancing to the city.

Vladimir Putin's troops are believed to be looking to surround Kyiv after earlier attacks by advanced forces were repelled in fierce battles.

Satellite pictures provider Maxar Technologies said the convoy on the eastern edge of Kyiv's Antonov airport contained hundreds of armoured vehicles, tanks, towed artillery and logistics support vehicles.

Other images showed also Russian ground forces close in Zdvyzhivka, northeast of Kyiv. 

Speaking to Times Radio, Domic Raab said: “This war is not going to end quickly, we have to be honest about that.

"We can expect Putin to act more aggressively… but anyone who follows Putin’s orders need to know they will end up in a dock and spend the rest of their lives behind bars”.

Follow our Russia-Ukraine live blog below for up to the minute updates…

  • Louis Allwood

    Boris Johnson accuses Vladimir Putin of ‘killing children’

    BORIS Johnson today accused evil Vladimir Putin of slaughtering innocent Ukrainian kids with "barbaric and indiscriminate" bombing.

    The PM said the murderous Kremlin tyrant was butchering civilians by unleashing his deadly missiles and airstrikes on cities.

    On a shuttle trip to Nato's Eastern flank he vowed to keep "intensifying" crippling sanctions on Moscow for "as long as it takes".

    He is overseeing the latest batch of British weapons being flown out to Poland and driven into Ukraine within “hours and days.”

    Speaking in Warsaw Mr Johnson said: "Vladimir Putin is prepared to use barbaric and indiscriminate tactics against innocent civilians to bomb tower blocks, to send missiles into tower blocks, to kill children as we're seeing increasing numbers."

    Evil Russian forces yesterday killed 16 kids after cluster bombing a nursery.

  • Louis Allwood

    Ukrainian tennis star refuses to play Russian opponent in next match 

    UKRAINIAN tennis star Elina Svitolina has refused to play her Russian opponent in her next match.

    The world No15 is the top seed at the Monterrey Open in Mexico this week.

    But she was drawn to face Russian 20-year-old Anastasia Potapova on Tuesday night.

    However, with her homeland current invaded and being attacked by Vladimir Putin's army, Svitolina revealed she will not take to the court in a brave boycott.

    But the 2018 Wimbledon semi-finalist did make it clear she did not blame the Russian athletes – although does want the tennis federations to take action.

  • Louis Allwood

    Separatist forces aim to encircle Mariupol today

    A separatist leader backed by Russians in eastern Ukraine said his forces aimed to encircle the Ukrainian port of Mariupol today, RIA news agency said.

    “The task for today is to directly encircle Mariupol,” it quoted Donetsk separatist leader Denis Pushilin as saying in a television interview.

  • Louis Allwood

    YouTube blocks channels linked to Russian state-owned media

    YOUTUBE has blocked channels linked to Russian state-owned media outlets RT and Sputnik across Europe.

    In a statement posted on Twitter Google Europe said:

    "Due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, we’re blocking YouTube channels connected to RT and Sputnik across Europe, effective immediately.

    "It’ll take time for our systems to fully ramp up. Our teams continue to monitor the situation around the clock to take swift action."

  • Louis Allwood

    Boris Johnson lands in Poland for urgent security talks

    BORIS Johnson landed in Poland this morning for urgent security talks as a convoy of Russian tanks rumble menacingly towards Kyiv.

    The PM is visiting Nato's Eastern flank to meet allies on the frontline of mad Vladimir Putin's ruthless aggression towards the West.

    He is overseeing the latest batch of weapons being flown out to Poland and driven into Ukraine within “hours and days.”

    Ahead of his trip Mr Johnson said: "Alongside all our international allies the UK will continue to bring maximum pressure to bear on Putin's regime to ensure he feels the consequences of his actions in Ukraine.

    "We speak with one voice when we say, Putin must fail."

  • Louis Allwood

    Ukrainian civilians launch Molotov cocktail attack on Russian tank

    BRAVE Ukrainians civilians have launched a Molotov cocktail attack on a Russian tank as they drove by the armoured vehicle.

    The daring act comes after the government issued instructions to its citizens on how best to use the fiery weapons to disable the invaders’ tanks.

    Vladimir Putin's troops are believed to be looking to surround Kyiv after earlier attacks by advanced forces were repelled in fierce battles. 

    Kyiv was bracing itself for a further onslaught, after the Russians unleashed hell on Ukraine's second city Kharkiv using deadly cluster bombs.

    Ukrainians have been busy making Molotov cocktails with whole communities joining in after being given the recipe and a leaflet on how to ambush Russian vehicles with them.

  • Louis Allwood

    Putin's forces alleged to be targeting residential areas

    The regional head in the Kharkiv area has alleged that Vladimir Putin's forces have been targeting residential areas with Grad missiles.

    Grad missiles are a truck mounted artillery system capable of firing dozens of rockets simultaneously.

    Oleh Synehubov wrote on the social media outlet Telegram that Russian troops have fired on "square in front of the regional state administration office".

    He went on to say that officials are "now estimating casualties among the civilian population".

  • Louis Allwood

    Zelenskyy gives Boris Johnson ‘shopping list’ of arms

    President Volodymyr Zelenskyy presented Boris Johnson with a “shopping list” of arms needed to defeat Putin’s troops – with more British anti-tank missiles shipped over almost daily.

    The PM said the latest batch of weapons would be flown out to Poland and driven into Ukraine within “hours and days.”

    A source said: “Zelenskyy has made very specific requests for military hardware during near daily phone calls, and we are working round the clock to get them into Ukraine.”

    Mr Johnson told his Cabinet: "It is becoming clearer with each day that Putin had made a colossal mistake believing that the guns of his tanks would be garlanded with roses when instead the Ukrainian people had put up a fierce resistance in defence of their homeland."

  • Louis Allwood

    Zelenskyy accuses Russia of WAR CRIMES in Ukraine

    UKRAINIAN president Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of war crimes after a blitz that killed 11 and destroyed a school in Kharkiv.

    Horrific videos have been emerging from Ukraine's second city showing apparently indiscriminate bombing of civilians.

    Footage showed barrage of rockets or cluster bombs falling over residential areas in the city which has a large Rusia-friendly population.

    The midday raid left at least 11 dead, including three children – and other shelling also destroyed a school.

    Kharkiv has been holding out staunchly against the Russian invaders even though it is just 25 miles from the border.

    But this resistance appears to have led to Vladimir Putin unleashing a devastating blitz on the city's 1.5million people.

  • Louis Allwood

    Explosions rock Kyiv as Russian forces blast capital

    KYIV has been rocked by loud explosions after Russian airstrikes hit the Ukrainian capital.

    Dramatic video showed the night sky lit up, as a huge 40-mile column of Russian tanks was earlier seen advancing to the city.

    In the early hours of Tuesday morning, air raid sirens blared out across the city as police officers hurried people to shelters.

    Vladimir Putin's troops are believed to be looking to surround Kyiv after earlier attacks by advanced forces were repelled in fierce battles.

  • Louis Allwood

    Putin accused of unleashing horrifying VACUUM BOMBS

    Terrifying "vacuum bombs" that can explode enemy troops' lungs have been used in Ukraine, its government has said.

    Russia's TOS-1 Buratino rocket launchers are some of the most deadly non-nuclear weapons that can be deployed on the modern battlefield.

    The TOS-1 launches a rocket carrying a fuel-air explosive (FAE), dubbed the "wall of napalm".

    At the weekend one of the fearsome launchers was seen being transported on the back of a lorry near Belgorod in Russia.

    The thermobaric weapons are "vacuum bombs' because they suck in oxygen from the surrounding air.

    That generates a powerful explosion and enormous pressure wave that results in immense destruction.

    Now, Ukraine's Ambassador to the U.S, Oksana Markarova, has accused the Russians of using weapons.

    "They used the vacuum bomb today, which is actually prohibited by the Geneva convention," she said.

  • Louis Allwood

    Brave Brits signing up in droves to join Ukraine

    BRAVE Brits are signing up in their droves to join Ukraine and fight against Vladimir Putin’s bloody invasion.

    In extraordinary scenes, builders, brickies and even a plucky 60 year-old Army reservist descended on Ukraine’s London embassy yesterday to volunteer.

    They were answering Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s call for Europe’s men to take up arms and “defeat Putin” like “we defeated Hitler”.

    Boris Johnson yesterday urged Brits not to travel to the war-torn country to fight – slapping down Foreign Secretary Liz Truss who just hours earlier had backed the mission.

    But defiant Brits said they could not sit back and watch as our European neighbours are bombed to oblivion by the Red Army.

    They included Brian Grove, 60, who used to be in the Territorial Army.

    He said:  “I used to be in the TA. I have also got a lot of first aid training so decided to come and do something.

    “I can get on a flight tomorrow.

    “I am 60 so just about within the age range they would accept.”

  • Louis Allwood

    Putin has amassed a staggering SIX THOUSAND nuclear weapons

    Vladimir Putin’s chilling decision to put his nuclear weapons arsenal into “combat duty” mode has caused panic across the world.

    Since the Cold War started, it has been assumed the threat of “mutually assured destruction” ­— in which tit-for-tat strikes would destroy both parties — would prevent a nuclear war.

    But the decision of the increasingly unpredictable Russian leader to place the world’s biggest atomic arsenal on standby is being taken very seriously indeed.

    At his disposal are an estimated 5,977 warheads, of which 1,600 are ready to be deployed.

    This terrifying arsenal can be launched from land, submarines and planes.

    They include non-strategic “battlefield” nukes which have a smaller destructive power — and radioactive fallout — and are intended to destroy military capabilities rather than civilian populations. They can be anything from land mines to torpedos.

    They have never been used in combat — so far.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Explosions rock Kyiv as Russian forces blast capital in airstrikes 

    KIEV has been rocked by loud explosions after Russian air strikes hit the Ukrainian capital.

    Dramatic video showed the night sky lit up, as a huge column of Russian tanks were earlier seen advancing to just 17 miles from city.

    Vladimir Putin's troops are looking to surround Kyiv after attacks by advanced forces failed were repelled in fierce battles. 

    Satellite pictures provider Maxar Technologies said the convoy on the eastern edge of Antonov airport contained hundreds of armoured vehicles, tanks, towed artillery and logistics support vehicles.

    Other images showed also Russian ground forces close in Zdvyzhivka, northeast of Kyiv. 

    In Kyiv, many were preparing for a fresh assault with makeshift barricades dotting the streets.

    The Russian army urged Ukrainians to leave Kyiv "freely" on one highway out ahead of what is an expected Russian offensive to capture the capital.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Kharkiv: Nine dead & 39 injured, says city's Mayor

    Ukrainian authorities say at least 39 people have been wounded and nine people killed in fighting in Ukraines second-largest city of Kharkiv.

    The state emergencies agency said the casualties could be higher because the damage from Mondays shelling of residential areas is still being assessed.

    Ukrainian social networks featured videos showing residential quarters hit by a series of powerful explosions amid fighting with Russian forces.

    The Russian military has consistently denied targeting residential areas despite abundant evidence of shelling of residential buildings, schools and hospitals.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Rishi Sunak says it's 'too soon' to know war impact on energy market

    Speaking this evening, the Chancellor said: "We are defending democracy and freedom and the most important way we can do that today is by supporting our sanctions, which are incredibly severe and unprecedented in their scope and scale and will already be making an impact on the Russian economy and undermining Putin's regime.

    "What we're also seeing as a result of Putin's aggression is volatility in energy markets.

    "It's too soon to know what the long-term implications are but that's why we're speeding up our plans to improve our energy security, investing both in nuclear but also renewables like offshore wind."

  • Joseph Gamp

    Russian troops offered amnesty and money tosurrenders

    Ukraine's defence minister has appealed for Russian soldiers to surrender.

    Oleksii Reznikov said that if troops voluntarily laid down their weapons, they would receive full amnesty and monetary compensation.

    "Those of you who do not want to become a murderer and die can save yourselves," he said in a post on social media.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Russia says 12 UN diplomats ordered to leave the US

    Russia claims 12 of its UN diplomats have been give marching orders from thethe United States.

    The country'sUN envoy said the diplomats had until March 7 to leave.

    Russia claimed the US has expelled the diplomats for "undiplomatic activities".

  • Joseph Gamp

    Russian ambassador accidentally calls the invasion 'war'

    Russia's ambassador to the UN has called the Russian invasion a "war", before quickly correcting his mistake

    Speaking to a news conference, Vassily Nebenzia was responding to a question about reports of hundreds of civilian casualties. 

    He dismissed the claims as "fake news" and Russia has not seen "credible reports" of civilian casualties. 

    "Of course, war is a bad thing and anything can happen," he said. 

    A reporter then pointed out he had referred to the conflict as war, asking: "This is now war?"

    Mr Nebenzia replied: "This is a special military operation. I wouldn't call it a war because war means outright military hostility."

  • Joseph Gamp

    Downing Street: PM is urging nation to supply more weapons

    Downing Street says the PM "stressed the need for countries to continue supporting the Ukrainian government, including with the provision of defensive weapons".

    "The prime minister commended the progress over the weekend with all G7 countries agreeing to remove Russian banks from SWIFT. 

    "The prime minister also paid tribute to his fellow leaders' renewed commitments to bolster the NATO alliance, including Chancellor Scholz's pledge to massively increase Germany's spending on defence. 

    "The leaders agreed to pursue every avenue to ensure that Putin fails in his ambitions."

  • Joseph Gamp

    Germany sending Tornado warplanes to Baltic Sea

    Germany is going to send Tornado warplanes and a maritime patrol aircraft on a reconnaissance mission to the Baltic Sea area, the country's mission to NATO has said. 

    A reconnaissance is defined as a mission that aims to gain information about an enemy, or a potential enemy. 

    A spokesperson for the defence ministry in Berlin said she could not immediately give any details due to operational security concerns. 

    It comes after the German navy dispatched six additional warships, four of them to the Baltic Sea, earlier today.  

  • Joseph Gamp

    Liz Truss to head to Geneva tomorrow for crisis talks

    Liz Truss will head to Geneva tomorrow to give a speech to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

    The foreign secretary will tell other leaders there can be "no apologising or excusing" Russia's war on Ukraine – and will urge the international community to further isolate Russia.

    "Tanks are tearing through towns while missiles barrage homes and hospitals. Putin is murdering Ukrainians indiscriminately. There is blood on his hands, not just of innocent Ukrainians but the men he sent to die," she will say.

    "Putin is violating international law, including the UN Charter. He is violating human rights on an industrial scale and the world will not stand for it.

    "There are no shades of grey to this conflict. It is about right and wrong. This is Vladimir Putin's unprovoked war, against a sovereign nation."

  • Joseph Gamp

    Generals ordered to take Kharkiv at all costs

    Russian generals have been ordered to take the city at all costs.

    The devastating attack hit the north east of the town where a Russian attempt to take the city was forced to retreat on Sunday.

    Russia is understood to have used BM-21 Grad rocket launchers – which have been pictured being moved into Ukraine.

    The weapons – first developed in the 1960s – are known as "hail" launchers as they fire a bombardment of unguided projectiles.

    With such an indiscriminate assault, it raises new fears amid the escalating violence in Ukraine – which has killed scores of civilians and a number of children.

    "The Russian occupiers fired en masse on residential areas of Kharkiv. Dozens of dead and hundreds of wounded Ukrainian citizens," said the general staff of Ukraine.

  • Joseph Gamp

    The latest from Ukraine

    • Ukraine faces a "crucial 24 hours" as officials from Kyiv and Moscow sit down for high level peace talks
    • Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is reportedly assisting in the peace process
    • UK defence sec Ben Wallace warned Vladimir Putin's forces could unleash an "indiscriminate and ruthless" bombing campaign
    • Russia fears a bank run and civil unrest after crushing Western sanctions were imposed over the weekend
    • Heartbreaking scenes show thousands of Ukrainian kids separated from their dads at the border
    • And a little girl, 6, wearing unicorn pyjamas was killed in a Russian airstrike as doctors told reporters 'show this to Putin'
    • Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskyy is being hailed as a hero after he went from being a comedian to a war time leader
    • Putin has been accused of taking muscle-boosting steroids that may be giving him roid rage

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