Russia can only take Kyiv if it ‘razes it to the ground’, Zelenskyy says

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said Russia can only take Kyiv if it “razes it to the ground” – as he suggested future peace talks could take place in Jerusalem.
Mr Zelenskyy also said he doesn’t see “common consensus” for Ukraine to be accepted into NATO, before adding that the alliance has lacked “bravery” in its response to the invasion.
In his latest speech, Mr Zelenskyy said Russian and Ukrainian negotiating teams have started discussing concrete topics rather than exchanging ultimatums during peace talks.
However, he said the West has so far not been involved enough in the negotiations.
Read more:Russia warns Western arms shipments now ‘legitimate’ targets – latest updates on Ukraine war
Mr Zelenskyy also said he hopes Israeli leader Naftali Bennett will have a “positive influence” on peace negotiations as he hopes for talks to take place in Jerusalem.
The developments come after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron called for an immediate ceasefire in the conflict during a 75-minute phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday.
“The conversation is part of ongoing international efforts to end the war in Ukraine,” a German government spokesperson said.

Image: Widespread damage and impact craters have been seen in Moschun, a town northwest of Kyiv. Pic: Maxar
Mr Scholz had earlier spoken to Mr Zelenskyy about the situation, the spokesperson added.
Mr Zelenskyy’s comments come after a senior Russian official warned Western shipments of military equipment to Ukraine could be seen as “legitimate targets” for attacks from Vladimir Putin’s forces.
The US and its NATO allies have so far sent 17,000 anti-tank missiles and 2,000 stinger anti-aircraft missiles to support Ukraine in its war against Russia, according to US media reports.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Saturday that Moscow had warned the US that “pumping weapons from a number of countries it orchestrates isn’t just a dangerous move, it’s an action that makes those convoys legitimate targets”.
He also denounced the US sanctions against Moscow as an “unprecedented attempt to deal a serious blow to various sectors of the Russian economy”.
Mr Ryabkov added Moscow would act in a measured way to avoid hurting itself.
The deputy foreign minister also said Russia has no intention to expel Western media and businesses, adding that “we aren’t going to escalate the situation”.

Image: In one satellite image, a bright muzzle flash can be seen from an artillery gun. Pic: Maxar
Airbase hit by Russian rockets
Mr Ryabkov’s warning comes as new satellite images show homes on fire as Russian troops advance closer to Kyiv, with long lines of cars trying to flee the Ukrainian capital.
The UK’s Ministry of Defence has also warned that “staunch resistance” from Ukraine means Russian tactical aircraft are relying on unguided “dumb” munitions.
“Such weapons are relatively inaccurate and indiscriminate and their use significantly increases the likelihood of civilian casualties,” a defence intelligence update released on Friday night said.

Image: A satellite image shows damage to buildings and fuel storage tanks on fire at Hostomel airport. Pic: Maxar
Fighting has raged northwest of Kyiv this morning, with the bulk of Russian ground forces 16 miles (25km) from the city centre, while several other cities were encircled and under heavy shelling, the defence ministry added.
The mayor of Vasylkiv in the Kyiv region has said Russian rockets have destroyed a Ukrainian airbase near the town.
The rocket attacks also hit an ammunition depot, Mayor Natalia Balasynovych told the Interfax Ukraine news agency.

Analysts divided on what images mean
The satellite images from Maxar appear to suggest that Russian military units are “actively firing artillery towards residential areas” – and in one photograph, a bright muzzle flash can be seen from an artillery gun.
Widespread damage and impact craters have been seen in Moschun, a town northwest of Kyiv, and fires are continuing to burn at Hostomel airport.

A 40-mile (64km) line of tanks and other vehicles had amassed outside Kyiv early last week – but progress by Russian troops appeared to have stalled amid reports of food and fuel shortages, muddy roads, and attacks by Ukrainian troops using anti-tank missiles.
On Thursday, satellite images appeared to show that this convoy had largely dispersed and redeployed – fanning out into surrounding towns and forests.

Mathieu Boulegue, a researcher at the Chatham House think tank, believes the redeployment means the battle for Kyiv could be hours or days away – and it could be a drawn-out siege.
“This is going to be a very long battle of attrition. This is going to be an atrociously casualty-heavy battle and a siege, the likes of which we have rarely seen in modern history,” he said.
The MoD has said Russia is currently attempting to “reset and reposture” its troops – and Nick Reynolds, a warfare analyst at the Royal United Services Institute, said: “It’s ugly already, but it’s going to get worse.”

However, a senior US defence official believes that elements of this convoy have broken away to ensure vehicles are better hidden and protected.
They added that the convoy has not made any substantial progress towards Kyiv, and the moves seen over recent days were not thought to be part of a tactical effort to advance on the capital.
Despite this, other forces northeast of Kyiv have moved closer – and they are now 12 to 19 miles (20km to 30km) east of the city centre.

Image: People in a long line of cars try to leave Kyiv. Pic: Maxar
Mayor of Ukrainian city ‘abducted’
The mayor of the city of Melitopol has been kidnapped by Russian forces, the Ukrainian president said.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy equated the kidnapping to the actions of “IS terrorists”, and said Russian forces “have transitioned into a new stage of terror”.
Ukraine’s parliament has claimed Ivan Fedorov was abducted by a group of 10 armed men who put a plastic bag over his head.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Moment mayor of Melitopol ‘abducted’
Growing humanitarian crisis
The number of people who have fled Ukraine during the war has now passed 2.5 million.
Iryna Vereshchuk, deputy prime minister of Ukraine, said several humanitarian corridors, including one from the besieged southern city of Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia, could open on Saturday.
At least 1,582 civilians have been killed as a result of shelling and a 12-day blockade on Mariupol, the city’s council said on Friday.
Efforts to provide safe passage for residents of Mariupol have repeatedly failed this week.
Ms Vereshchuk said she hopes Russia will observe a ceasefire to allow the latest effort to take place.
She also said Ukraine plans to evacuate residents of several towns and villages in the regions of Kyiv and Sumy and some other areas where there is ongoing combat.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Zelenskyy: Russia transitioning to a ‘new stage of terror’
Ukraine’s foreign ministry has said Russian forces have shelled the Sultan Suleiman Mosque in the southeastern city of Mariupol.
More than 80 adults and children are hiding there from the shelling, including Turkish citizens, the foreign ministry added.
Temperatures have fallen below freezing across most of Ukraine – and lows of -13C have been forecast in the city of Kharkiv, which has faced heavy bombardment. Hundreds of apartment buildings there have also lost heat.
Speaking from Kyiv, President Zelenskyy said: “It’s impossible to say how many days we will still need to free our land, but it is possible to say that we will do it.”
A Western official speaking anonymously to the AP news agency said the fact that negotiations are taking place so early in the fighting “might speak to Russian concerns” about the progress of the war.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Ukraine war: Day 16
It comes as a top Ukrainian adviser and an Israeli official pushed back against a media report suggesting Israel tried to encourage Kyiv to cave into Russia’s demands in talks.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has been engaged in diplomatic efforts to try to end the war in Ukraine – having held talks with Mr Putin and Mr Zelenskyy.
Meanwhile, Italian police have seized a Russian-owned superyacht valued at €530m (£443m) in the port of Trieste as part of seizures of oligarch wealth to pressure Mr Putin to end the war.
The “Sy A” yacht was identified as belonging to Russian billionaire Andrey Melnichenko, who made a fortune in fertilizer production and coal energy.
Read more:Ukraine invasion explainedWhat chemical and biological weapons could Russia have – and what has it used before?Russia’s invasion of Ukraine mapped – what happened on day 16

Source : Sky News