The battle for Kyiv appears to be underway, with Russian missiles and airstrikes targeting Ukraine’s capital and reports of pitched fighting on its outskirts. Ukrainian President Zelensnky told the people of Kyiv to prepare for the storming of the city by Russian forces. This comes as fighting continues in the central, southern, and eastern reaches of Ukraine. Nick Schifrin reports
Ukrainian military command-and-control remains intact. And President Volodymyr Zelensky hit the streets and social media to urge defiance.
WHY THEY ARE FIGHTING
Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said talks would have to be about Ukraine declaring a “neutral status” – which would include “demilitarisation”. Russia wants Ukraine to rule out ever joining Nato
Heightened fears of a military conflict between Russia and Ukraine have been present for some time, and eastern Ukraine has been the location of a proxy war between the two countries.
Soon after Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, pro-Russian separatists proclaimed two republics in the eastern part of the country: the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic — much to the Ukrainian government’s consternation
Since then, there have been ongoing skirmishes and fighting in the region, which is known as the Donbas, between Ukraine’s troops and separatists.
Germany and France have tried to broker peace deals between Russia and Ukraine, known as the “Minsk agreements.” And although the fighting in the Donbas has been punctuated by periods of cease-fire, both Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of violating the terms of the deals and fighting has resumed.
Russia has often denied it has backed separatists in eastern Ukraine but has been accused of supplying military hardware to rebels in a bid to undermine Ukraine’s government, sovereignty and political stability