Russia urges Ukrainian forces to 'immediately' lay down arms

Ukraine army says fighting Russian forces outside capital

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KIEV: The Ukrainian army said on Friday it was fighting invading Russian forces north of the capital Kiev, as Moscow continued its push towards the pro-Western country for the second day in a row.

Russian troops arrived on the outskirts of Kiev on Friday, and the government said the city was hit by a “horrific rocket attack” in the early hours of the morning.

“Airborne assault units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces are fighting in the Dymer and Invankiv settlement areas,” the Kiev army said on its Facebook page.

Dymer is about 45 kilometers (28 miles) north of Kiev, while Ivankiv is about 60 kilometers northwest of the Ukrainian capital.

The military said it had stopped advancing Russian troops on the Jettiv River, a tributary of the Dnieper that flows through Kiev, adding that a bridge over the river had been destroyed.

The military also said it had recaptured Gostomel airport, which had been reported to have been occupied by Russian forces the previous day.

AFP could not immediately confirm this.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Friday that Moscow’s forces were also targeting civilian areas and praised his countrymen for their “heroism”.

“They say that civilian objects are not a target for them. But this is another lie of theirs. In reality, they do not distinguish between areas in which they operate,” Zelensky said in a video.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the start of a military operation against Ukraine in the early hours of Thursday, confirming widespread fears Moscow was planning to invade its western neighbour. 

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