Kyiv-Explosions from what Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called “horrific Russian rocket strikes” were heard in Ukraine’s capital on Friday morning amid unverified reports that the fighting had already reached the heart of Kyiv. Videos posted online showed what residents said were Russian tanks driving through their city, and gunfire and air raid sirens were heard in the capital.

Appearing on television from an undisclosed location, Ukraine’s president warned the world that Vladimir Putin was attacking not only his country but waging “a war against Europe,” and he said the west wasn’t doing enough to stop it. Ukrainian officials say they’re fighting on multiple fronts to repel a “full-scale invasion,” and President Joe Biden has accused Putin of choosing to carry out “a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering.” Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov doubled down Friday on Putin’s claim that the invasion was necessary to demilitarize Ukraine’s Western-backed government, which the Kremlin has labelled a “Nazi cell”. Lavrov said after Ukraine was” liberated from this burden, Ukrainians will have the chance to freely choose their future.

Reports say that people streamed into makeshift recruitment centres in Kyiv on Friday morning, saying they were ready to die to defend their city. One commander said thousands had reported for duty- very few of them with military experience. Guns were being distributed to those who showed up, and the commander said they were quickly running out. Ukraine’s president said at least 137 people were killed on the first day of Russia’s assault, and fighting reportedly reached downtown Kyiv, that was likely to rise quickly.

NASIR ALAM,

Khuzdar.