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Russia's advance in Ukraine slows amid street fighting resistance

By Sommer Brokaw & Calley Hair
Damages at a high-rise apartment block which was hit Saturday by shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine. Photo by Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA-EFE
Damages at a high-rise apartment block which was hit Saturday by shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine. Photo by Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA-EFE

Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Russian military forces again bombarded Ukraine's capital city of Kyiv on Saturday night, as Ukrainian defense personnel and civilian volunteers continued to resist the third day of Russia's invasion.

Russia's advance in Ukraine had slowed by Saturday afternoon after street fighting to resist the invasion and keep control of the capital, Kyiv, intensified earlier in the day, military observers said.

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The speed of the Russian advance has slowed likely because of "strong Ukrainian resistance," along with "acute logistical difficulties," Britain's Defense Ministry said in a statement based on intelligence updates posted to Twitter.

Though the majority of more than 150,000 Russian forces that had built up around Ukraine are now fighting in the country, those troops are "increasingly frustrated by their lack of momentum" amid tough Ukrainian resistance, a Pentagon official said.

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Countries in Europe and North America put financial pressure on Russia by removing the country from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) network, functionally barring them from completing international transactions.

Allies additionally announced they would send aid to Ukraine on Saturday via financial assistance, supplies and munitions.

The Kremlin said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered a pause on fighting Friday but decided to resume because Ukraine rejected talks.

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Bursts of gunfire and explosions could be heard in the heart of the city on Saturday morning in Maidan Nezalezhnosti, The New York Times reported. The location, also known as Independence Square, was also the site of 2014 Ukrainian protests that led to the toppling of a pro-Moscow government.

Fighting raged early Saturday morning in Victory Square, a little over a mile from the city center Maidan square, around the city's train station and along a central thoroughfare, Bohdan Khmelnitsy Street, Ukrayinska Pravda reported.

As fighting continued to slow the Russian advance, a bridge was blown up on the Kyiv-Zhytomyr highway, killing one child and injuring four people, the Ukrainian news outlet reported.

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Altogether, 35 people, including two children, were injured by enemy combat operations in Kyiv as of Saturday morning, amid several fights, according to Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko.

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Klitschko has imposed a curfew from 5 p.m. Saturday until 8 a.m. Monday, warning that "all civilians who are on the street during the curfew will be considered members of the enemy's sabotage and reconnaissance groups."

At least six people were injured when Russian rocket fire struck a high-rise apartment building in Kyiv, the Ukrainian government's emergency services said in an update with images and video showing extensive damage to the building, including outer walls torn away completely.

RELATED Scores of Ukraine civilians -- some with babies and pets -- seek shelter from Russian attack

Ukrainian troops were fighting to hold onto Kyiv after Russia established attack lines, along with the two other cities, including Kharkiv in the northeast and Kherson in the south.

Since the Russian forces invaded Ukraine late Thursday, 198 civilians have been killed, including three children, and another 1,115 civilians have been injured, including 33 children, Ukraine's health minister said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address Saturday morning he has no plans on the army backing down despite "fake information online."

RELATED NATO deploys forces, warns Russian aggression 'goes far beyond Ukraine'

"There's a lot of fake information online that I call on our army to lay down arms, and that there's an evacuation," he said. "I'm here. We won't lay down our arms. We will defend our state, our territory, our Ukraine, our children."

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Scenes from the Russian war on Ukraine

European Union leaders attend a summit at the Chateau de Versailles near Paris on March 11, 2022. Photo by the European Union/ UPI | License Photo

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