Battle rages outside Kyiv as Russian forces push on Ukrainian capital where tank traps on streets to repel invaders

THE battle outside Kyiv is raging on as Russian forces close in on the capital as defiant Ukrainian soldiers set up tank traps on the streets to repel invaders.

Vladimir Putin's troops are believed to be just 15 miles from the city as it's reported an airbase just miles from Kyiv has been struck by missiles.

The mayor of Vasylkiv claimed this morning that a Russian rocket had destroyed a Ukrainian airbase near the city in Kyiv Oblast, Interfax news agency reported.

According to Vasylkiv Mayor Natalia Balasynovych, an ammunition depot was also hit as footage on social media appears to show smoke billowing from the scene.

Kyiv Oblast police said a fire broke out at the depot after being struck by six Russian missiles.

Air raid sirens blasted out across the capital this morning as well as in other cities – with reports of explosions in Dnipro, Mykolaiv, Nikolaev and Kropyvnytskyi.

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But as Putin's invasion continues to stall, the Ukraine's defence unit has claimed an enemy control point in the Kyiv direction has been destroyed as it declared "our Air Force is working" in a tweet.

It comes as Russia is feared to be planning another major assault on Ukraine's capital Kyiv, as troops have been pictured moving towards the city.

Satellite images show Russian tanks and other vehicles heading towards Kyiv, while other aerial footage appears to reveal military equipment being stationed outside the capital.

The images from Maxar, which has been monitoring the invasion since the start, were taken close to Antonov Airport, just miles from the city.

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A large military convoy can be seen travelling along the main road.

Images appear to show the infamous 40-mile "death convoy" of Russian vehicles stalled near Kyiv for almost two weeks has now "dispersed", as rocket artillery is moved into firing positions for an assault on the city.

On Friday, the UK Defence Ministry claimed Russia is likely to want to resume its offensive in Kyiv in the coming days.

But Ukraine remains defiant as officials say Kyiv is "ready to fight" as presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak branded it a "city undersiege" and confirmed checkpoints were prepared.

“Kyiv will stand until the end," he added.

Meanwhile, a Ukrainian MP has said the fight for Kyiv will be Russia's new "Stalingrad if they want to make it so".

Speaking on BBC's Radio 4 Today programme, Sviatoslav Yurah said: "It's a massive town of millions and if the Russians try to come in they will have quite a fight on their hands – this will be their Stalingrad if they want to make it so.

It comes as…

  • Ukraine President says THOUSANDS of Russians captured as Putin loses three generals
  • Mayor of Melitopol kidnapped by Russian troops & dragged away with bag over his head
  • Joe Biden warns of 'WW3' after halting plans to send MiG jets to Ukraine
  • Ukrainians insist Ghost of Kyiv is REAL after releasing pic of ace
  • Putin invades new Ukrainian cities as he unleashes deadly dawn blitz
  • Ukraine claims Belarus is set to invade imminently after Putin met with Europe's last dictator 
  • Ukrainian refugees could hit 15million if Putin continues with bloody war

"Nobody is going to surrender – I can definitely guarantee you that."

It comes as Volodymyr Zelensky has said Ukraine has reached a "strategic turning point" in its conflict against Russia as he urged Ukrainians to be patient.

In a video message, Ukraine's president said: "I know that many people have started to feel tired. I understand. Impatient. I understand.

"This is life. When we mobilise, when we see our victories and the loss of the enemy on the battlefield, we expect the struggle to end sooner.

"We expect the invaders to fall faster. But this is life, this is war. This is a struggle. Time is still needed. Patience is still needed."

Zelensky insisted the country is moving towards "victory" as troops have reached a "turning point".

"It is impossible to say for how many more days we must liberate our Ukrainian land. But it is possible to say we will do it," he added.

"Because we have already reached a strategic turning point. We are already moving toward our goal, toward our victory."

The huge column of Putin's troops was first seen on February 28 after grinding to a halt on the main highway leading south to the capital, after being hit by breakdowns, fuel shortages, and supply problems.

It originally set off from Belarus and has been making its way south towards Kyiv, via Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

However, forces have since been bogged down amid reports of food, fuel, and equipment shortages.

But fresh satellite images taken on Thursday after a break in cloud cover show commanders on the move again, breaking up the column which had become vulnerable to Ukraine counterattacks.

Rocket artillery and supply trucks were pictured taking up firing positions in fields outside Berestyanka, a small town 30 miles north of Kyiv, their tyre tracks visible in the countryside.

While not far away in Lubyanka, vehicles were seen parked in forests as part of a possible camouflage attempt.

An estimated 15,000 troops along with fuel tankers and ammunition trucks are believed to be in the convoy.

On Friday, President Putin gave the green light for up to 16,000 mercenaries from the Middle East to be deployed alongside pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine.

The move would allow Russia to send battle-hardened fighters from conflicts such as Syria into Ukraine without risking further Russian casualties.

At a meeting of Russia's Security Council, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said there were 16,000 volunteers in the Middle East who were ready to fight alongside Russian-backed forces in the breakaway Donbas region in eastern Ukraine.

"If you see that there are these people who want of their own accord, not for money, to come to help the people living in Donbas, then we need to give them what they want and help them get to the conflict zone," Putin said from the Kremlin.

It comes as Kyiv's mayor, former world heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, said that his city "has been turned into a fortress" ahead of another feared Russian onslaught.

Around 2 million people, more than half of the city's residents, are now believed to have evacuated.

Russian forces attacked from the west and east late on Wednesday and early on Thursday, as the encirclement of Kyiv appears to be underway.

But a defiant Mayor Klitschko warned the Russians would not find their assault on the capital straightforward.

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"Every street, every house is being fortified, the territorial defence is joining," he said in a televised interview on Thursday.

"Even people who in their lives never intended to change their clothes, now they are in uniform with machine guns in their hands."

All you need to know about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Everything you need to know about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine…

  • Why is Russia invading Ukraine?
  • Will the UK go to war?
  • How can I join the Ukraine foreign legion?
  • What can I do to help Ukraine?
  • Who is Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskyy?
  • How much gas does the UK get from Russia?
  • Is Russia a part of Nato?
  • Does Russia have nuclear weapons?
  • Why is Ukraine not in Nato?
  • How big is the Russian army?
  • What is Article 5 of the Nato treaty?
  • What is the Minsk agreement?
  • Which countries were in the Soviet Union?
  • What does the Z mean on Russian tanks? Meaning behind symbols explained

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