Residents in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, were told to “make Molotov cocktails” on Friday as they hid in makeshift shelters and subway stations, awaiting a Russian assault.
“Make Molotov cocktails, neutralize the occupier!” the Defense Ministry wrote on Twitter, while local authorities told people in the northwestern Obolon to stay off the streets due to “active hostilities” that were approaching.
“We ask citizens to inform about the movement of [Russian] equipment! Make Molotov cocktails, neutralize the occupier! Peaceful residents – be careful! Do not leave the house!” the Defense Ministry wrote on Twitter, according to a translation.
Some residents took refuge in subway stations being used as air-raid shelters, or rushed to basements of apartments blocks or other buildings when air-raid warnings sounded.
It comes as Russian forces were seen positioned in areas around Kyiv, according to video footage uploaded online. Military equipment was apparently seen in Obolon, located near the capital of 3 million, and alleged Russian troops were seen in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha. The Epoch Times could not independently verify whether they were Russian troops.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky pleaded with Russia’s government to hold talks, and with Western powers to act faster to cut off Russia’s economy and provide Ukraine military help.
“When bombs fall on Kyiv, it happens in Europe, not just in Ukraine,” he said. “When missiles kill our people, they kill all Europeans.”
Zelensky’s whereabouts were kept secret after he told European leaders that he was Russia’s No. 1 target.
He also offered to negotiate on one of Putin’s key demands: that Ukraine declare itself neutral and abandon its ambition of joining NATO. The Kremlin responded that Russia was ready to send a delegation to Belarus to discuss that, but Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov suggested it was too late, saying Zelensky should have agreed to talks earlier on.
Lavrov, in statements to CNN, claimed that “nobody is going to attack the people of Ukraine,” while saying that the military seeks “no strikes on civilian infrastructure.” Video footage uploaded in various parts of Ukraine, however, showed the apparent aftermath of military strikes on residential buildings.
“I will stress: read what Putin said. No strikes on civilian infrastructure, no strikes on the personnel of the Ukrainian army, on their dormitories, or other places not connected to the military facilities. The statistics that we have confirm this,” the Kremlin top diplomat told the network.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.