Meanwhile, NATO is sending troops to Eastern Europe to reassure allies and deter Russia, but said it will not send troops to Ukraine.
In this context, throughout Friday there was talk of a possible dialogue between Putin and Zelensky to find a solution to the conflict.
A Kremlin spokesman said Russia is ready to talk to the Ukrainian government in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, although he said that, in order to sit down, Ukraine would have to declare a “neutral state,” which would include its resignation from NATO.
A spokesman for the Ukrainian president said Zelensky was prepared to negotiate a ceasefire and start peace talks, but said the meeting should be held in Poland rather than Belarus, a Putin ally.
Ukraine puts at least 198 Ukrainian deaths from Russian war
Ukraine today put the number of Ukrainian deaths in russia’s war against the country at least 198, according to Ukraine’s Health Minister Viktor Liashko.
“Unfortunately, according to operational data, we have 198 dead, including 3 children, and 1,115 injured, 33 of whom are minors,” Ukrainian Health Minister Viktor Liashko said on his Facebook account.
This is the second report of deaths published by the Ukrainian government after the one announced on Thursday night by President Volodymyr Zelensky, when he said that there were 137 dead after the first day of the Russian military offensive.
The health minister denounced that Russian troops, whom he described as terrorists, have “deliberately fired on ambulances,” and suggested the delivery of bulletproof vests to medical personnel.
Liashko said that “the medical system continues to work, the ministry for its part does everything possible and impossible to get everything necessary for hospitals.”
He recalled that, despite the war, the coronavirus “has not gone anywhere,” so patients admitted to intensive care units “still need oxygen.”
“And no matter that the occupants interfere with these efforts, we try to quickly bring oxygen to hospitals, organize the logistics so that each patient receives help,” he added.
For his part, the adviser to the Ukrainian president, Mykhailo Podoliak, reported today in the first military part of the day that Russian casualties amount to 3,500, while 200 troops were captured.
“If we show these people who came to Ukraine to kill, Russia will understand what it is doing in Ukraine,” he said.
Zelensky calls on the EU to decide now on Ukraine’s accession
“It is a time to close the long discussion once and for all and decide on Ukraine’s membership of the EU,” Zelensky wrote in a tweet after speaking by phone Saturday with European Council President Charles Michel on what he described as “a new day on the diplomatic front.”
Zelensky discussed with the Belgian politician the “effective assistance and heroic struggle of Ukrainians for their free future.”
In addition, the Ukrainian president spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron and said in another tweet about the phone call “that the weapons and equipment of our partners are on their way to Ukraine.”
“The coalition against the war is working!” he said, after the army resisted a hard night on all fronts after the war that Russia launched on Thursday against Ukraine.
Minutes later, the president of the European Council responded to this message to the Ukrainian president by assuring that “Ukraine and its people are family”, as well as that “more concrete support is on the way” from the EU.
Also speaking about the conflict in the networks was the president of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, who warned that the war “is also being fought” on the front of disinformation, instability and fear through the internet.
“A coordinated and supportive disinformation campaign for Putin is spreading. We must unite to combat the toxic rewriting of Kremlin history and propaganda,” the Maltese wrote.
In a second tweet, Metsola stressed that “the war initiated by the Kremlin has serious consequences not only in Ukraine” and reiterated the support of the European Parliament to the people of Belarus, after holding a telephone conversation today with the leader of the opposition in exile of that country, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.
Belarusians “are also victims of the actions of autocrats (Russian Vladimir) Putin and (Belarusian Alexendr) Lukashenko,” Metsola said.
These two interventions by both leaders of the European institutions come just hours after the EU approved its second package of sanctions against Moscow, in this case for the invasion of UcrThis includes financial and energy measures, among others, to isolate the Russian economy from capital markets.
They also include Russian President Vladimir Putin and his prime minister and their foreign and interior portfolio holders on the list of sanctioned citizens whom the EU has frozen their assets on European soil, as well as Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and four other members of Russia’s National Security Council. including his vice-president Dmitry Medvedev.
He says Ukraine has “derailed” the Russian attack plan
“I can start with the good news: we have resisted and are successfully repelling enemy attacks. The struggle continues in many cities and regions of our country. Kiev and the key cities around the capital are controlled by our army,” he said in a new address to the nation released by the Office of the Presidency.
“The occupiers wanted to blockade the center of the country and put puppets (pro-Russian) here, as in Donetsk. We’ve derailed their idea, they didn’t get any advantage over us,” he added.
“The real battle for Kiev continued. The enemy used everything against us: fighters, saboteurs, landing troops. The invaders hit residential areas, trying to remove energy facilities. Their tactics are very vile,” he said.
At least 35 people were injured last morning in Kiev, including two children, according to the balance of the entire city made by its mayor, Vitali Klistchko, who also reported that a Russian missile hit an apartment building in the west of the city.
He also denied the presence of regular Russian troops in the city after a night of intense fighting and attempts by the Russian military to control the Ukrainian capital.
Не вірте фейкам. pic.twitter.com/wiLqmCuz1p
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) February 26, 2022
Zelensky stressed in his speech that fighting continues in many parts of the country – such as in Sumy (northeast), Kharkiv (east) or Chernigov (north) – and urged all Ukrainians to return to Ukraine and defend their country.
In Donbas, according to the State Administration of the Luhansk region, the army has lost control of Stanitsia Luganska, Krymske and Markivka, according to the UNIAN agency.
The Russian Defense Ministry also said today that the Russian Armed Forces have established full control over the city of Melitopol, near the Sea of Azov.
“The Russian military is taking all measures to ensure the safety of civilians and exclude provocations by Ukrainian special services and nationalists,” it said in a statement.
What happens in Kiev
Saturday dawned in Ukraine with reports of heavy fighting in Kiev.
According to a post on the Facebook page of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, “heavy battles are taking place” in the Vasylkiv area of the city.
The publication adds that an “active combat” is unfolding on the streets of the capital.
The Kiev government also confirmed the fighting in an earlier statement and warned residents to stay in shelters and not approach windows or balconies.
Reports from Kiev journalists on social media also suggest that clashes broke out in the streets.
Have been reported more than 50 explosions and machine gun fire in the capital, according to the newspaper Kyiv Independent.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s armed forces added that its troops shot down several Russian “enemy targets” on Friday and also prevented Russian troops from taking any of Ukraine’s cities.
Fear beyond the capital
Fear and precautions are not unique to Kiev.
“I write these lines from a bomb shelter several floors underground next to a crowd of people, four dogs and a rabbit as a pet,” sarah Rainsford, the BBC’s Eastern Europe correspondent, said sarah rainsford, from the Ukrainian city of Dnipro, the country’s fourth largest.
“The hotel staff rushed past and banging on the doors shortly after midnight before taking us downstairs at high speed.
“Before, we had visited Hanna Syva and her family in a giant apartment block across the street,” he says.
“Hanna is a mother of two and seems optimistic, but she admits she’s smiling so she doesn’t worry her children,” Rainsford explains.
“Yesterday they cried, they’re very nervous, so I can’t afford to be afraid,” Hanna tells the reporter.