Guwahati: A day after Russia invaded Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that 137 civilians and military personnel have been killed so far while 316 have been injured.
Two loud blasts were heard in central Kyiv early Friday, news agency AFP reported early Friday morning. Ukraine’s army said that Russia fired on civilian areas of Kyiv but that Ukraine’s air defence systems repelled “two deadly gifts”, according to a post on its verified Facebook page.
“Today we have lost 137 of our heroes, our citizens. Military and civilians,” Zelensky said in a video address, adding that another 316 people had been injured.
“Who is ready to fight alongside us? I don’t see anyone. Who is ready to give Ukraine a guarantee of NATO membership? Everyone is afraid,” he added.
Zelensky also said that Russian “sabotage groups” had entered the capital Kyiv, and urged the city’s citizens to remain vigilant and observe a curfew.
Russian police have detained more than 1,700 people at anti-war protests across dozens of cities.
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden vowed on Thursday to defend “every inch” of NATO territory after Russia sent forces into Ukraine — but reaffirmed that no American troops would be deployed to Washington’s ally.
“As I made crystal clear, the United States will defend every inch of NATO territory with a full force of American power,” Biden said in an address to the nation from the White House.
The president added, however: “Our forces will not be engaged in a conflict with Russia in Ukraine.”
Joe Biden also announced a new round of sanctions targeting Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, charging that Russian leader Vladimir Putin “chose this war” and that his country will bear the consequences of his action.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday spoke to his counterparts from Romania, Hungary and Slovakia about the evacuation of stranded Indians from Ukraine.
Jaishankar also held a telephonic conversation with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov on the Ukraine crisis and underlined that dialogue and diplomacy are the best way forward to defuse the situation.
“Just spoke to Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of Russia on the Ukraine developments. Underlined that dialogue and diplomacy are the best way forward,” he tweeted.
As Ukraine closed its airspace following the Russian military assault, India is focusing on evacuating around 16,000 Indians from Ukraine through its land border crossings with Romania, Hungary, Slovak Republic and Poland.
He also said that Hungarian foreign minister Peter Szijjarto promised full cooperation to facilitate the evacuation of Indians.
The external affairs minister also appreciated the willingness of his Slovak counterpart to help in facilitating the evacuation of Indian nationals through Slovakia.
(With inputs from AFP)