By William Miller, special correspondent in Ukraine. Eurasia Business News, February 25, 2022
Ukrainian soldier looking at the frontline, February 25, 2022.
The Russian forces carried out a landing in the area of the Gostomel airfield, a critical cargo airport in the northwestern suburb of Kyiv that is also known as Antonov Airport. Russian paratroopers took the airport after hour sof intense fight, with the support of more than 200 helicopters. Dozens of Ukrainian soldiers have been killed.
The conquest of the Gostomel airfield was announced on Friday by the chief spokesman of the Russian Defense Ministry, General Major Igor Konashenkov. This could be milestone in the battle for Kyiv.
“On February 24, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation carried out a successful landing operation in the area of the Gostomel airfield in the suburbs of Kiev. More than 200 Russian helicopters were involved in the operation. During the capture of the airfield, more than 200 Ukrainian soldiers of special units were killed“, stated the General Major Igor Konashenkov.
As Konashenkov clarified, the success of the landing was ensured by the suppression of the entire air defense system in the landing area, the complete isolation of the combat area from the air and the active conduct of electronic warfare.
“The enemy paratroopers in Hostomel have been blocked, and troops have received an order to destroy them,” said the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a video address earlier on February 25.
Military operation since February 24
Russia launched a military operation early in the morning of February 24, with the official goal to “demilitarize Ukraine”, remove the Ukrainian government and protect the right of Russian leaving in Eastern Ukraine. In a televised address to the Russians, President Vladimir Putin said that circumstances “require decisive and immediate action from us, the people’s republics of Donbass have asked for help.”
According to the Russian President, “all responsibility for the bloodshed will be on the conscience of the government in Kiev.” Vladimir Putin called on the Ukrainian military “not to follow the criminal orders of the Ukrainian authorities, lay down their arms and go home.”
Later, the Russian Defense Ministry stressed that the Russian Armed Forces did not launch any strikes on the cities of Ukraine: military infrastructure was disabled with high-precision weapons. The civilian population, according to the Russian army officials, is not in danger. Later, the Russian Ministry of Defense added that the Ukrainian border guards “do not offer any resistance“.
On Friday morning, 118 Ukrainian military facilities were put out of action, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant was taken by the Russian troops. Ukrainian air defense systems have been suppressed, the military infrastructure of military air bases has been disabled, the Ministry of Defense notes.
Judging by the video in Ukrainian social networks and media, various parts of the country, including the outskirts of Kyiv, are already under control of Russian troops. A detailed map of the regions of Ukraine in which the Russian military operates has not yet been officially published. However, a fast conquest of Ukrainian regions will be easier than facing armed militias of Ukrainian civilians, harassing Russian soldiers and hidding in the population.
Refugees go to West
The Ukrainian sky is now closed. Ukrainian aircrafts try to resist Russian air force, which has superiority. Train tickets are sold out. Despite the danger of rocket attacks and the request of the authorities not to leave their homes, from the very morning all over Kiev civilan queues lined up for grocery stores, gas stations and ATMs, to stay homes or before going to West with their cars.
On February 25 morning the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky sent a message to the Russian President Vladimir Putin with a proposal to sit down at the negotiating table to end Russian hostilities in Ukraine. President Zelensky has now moved to a bunker, as Russian military is approaching the presidential building.
The West imposed strong sanctions
After the Russian recognition of the separatist republics of Donetsk and Luhansk on February 21 and the entry of Russian troops in the Ukrainian territory in early morning on February 24, the United States and European countries have imposed massive sanctions against Russian state-owned banks, banned technology exports to Russia, denied access to Russia to the US financial market and imposed individual sanctions on Russian officials and their relatives. The European Union has even taken sanctions against the Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov.
Update to come.
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