Russian forces blockade Kyiv from west

This photograph taken on Feb 24, 2022 shows smoke rising near the town of Hostomel and the Antonov Airport, in northwest Kyiv.
(DANIEL LEAL / AFP)

KYIV / MOSCOW / WASHINGTON – Russian airborne forces have successfully conducted a landing operation at the Gostomel airfield in a suburb of Kyiv and blockaded the Ukrainian capital city from the west, the Russian Defense Ministry said Friday.

During the capture of the airfield on Thursday, more than 200 members of Ukraine's special units were killed and there were no casualties in the Russian Armed Forces, the ministry's spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.

During the capture of the airfield on Thursday, more than 200 members of Ukraine's special units were killed and there were no casualties in the Russian Armed Forces, the ministry's spokesman Igor Konashenkov said

The Russian military will not strike residential areas of Kyiv and was taking all measures to prevent casualties among civilians, he said.

The ministry said that the Russian Armed Forces have disabled 118 military infrastructure facilities in Ukraine.

Eleven military airfields, 13 command posts and communication centers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, 14 S-300 and Osa anti-aircraft missile systems, and 36 radar stations were among the facilities put out of order, the ministry's Zvezda broadcaster reported, citing Konashenkov.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has instructed Russia's armed forces to "treat Ukrainian troops with respect" and create safety corridors for those servicemen who "have laid down their arms," according to the spokesman.

Explosions were heard on Friday in the center of Kyiv as the Russian special military operation entered the second day, local media reported.

There was no air raid alert around the time of the blasts, which the local authorities have not yet confirmed, according to Interfax-Ukraine news agency.

Ukraine's Interior Ministry adviser Anton Gerashchenko wrote in a telegram that he had heard two powerful explosions, which he later clarified as "attacks by our air defenses on enemy planes or drones," citing operative information.

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Mayor Vitali Klitschko tweeted that three people were injured, one in critical condition, after missile debris hit a residential building.

He also posted a photo showing a building with part of its wall torn down and emergency services present at the scene.

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized "a special military operation" in Donbass, and Ukraine confirmed that military installations across the country were under attack.

Putin is ready to send a Russian delegation to Minsk for negotiations with Ukraine at the level of representatives of the Defense Ministry, the foreign ministry and the presidential administration, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday.

Traffic jams are seen as people leave the city of Kyiv, Ukraine, Feb 24, 2022. (EMILIO MORENATTI / AP)

No-fly zone

The Federal Aviation Administration of the United States said on Thursday that it is extending its no-fly zone in Eastern Europe as conflicts in Ukraine are unfolding.

The FAA said in a statement that it issued Notices to Air Missions expanding the area in Eastern Europe and Russia where US airlines and US pilots cannot operate.

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"The expanded NOTAMs now cover the entire country of Ukraine, the entire country of Belarus and a western portion of Russia," the statement read.

NOTAM is a notice containing information essential to personnel concerned with flight operations but not known far enough in advance to be publicized by other means.

A view of a damaged residential building at Koshytsa Street, a suburb of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, early on Feb 25, 2022.
(HO / UKRAINE EMERGENCY MINISTRY PRESS SERVICE / AFP)

Denmark to accept refugees

As tension escalated, Denmark Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Thursday that the country will accept refugees fleeing from Ukraine.

Frederiksen also pledged humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and its neighbors.

Meanwhile, as a NATO member state, Denmark will bolster its own national preparedness and the NATO defense alliance's readiness, Prime Minister Mette  Frederiksen said

"There will be internally displaced refugees. There will, of course, also be a lot of pressure on a country like Poland, but also on Moldova and other countries. And then the refugee flows can enter Europe, which Denmark will facilitate," Frederiksen explained.

However, she added that "it is far too early to put figures on how many refugees Denmark will take in."

According to the Danish news agency Ritzau, immigration authorities have started preparations to take in Ukrainian refugees.

Meanwhile, as a NATO member state, Denmark will bolster its own national preparedness and the NATO defense alliance's readiness, Frederiksen said.

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"Denmark is not threatened directly … But (the crisis in Ukraine) will have an impact on our economy and our energy supply. We expect a lasting international crisis, potentially with large costs for the Danish society. We are living in uncertain times," she said.

According to Chief of Defense Flemming Lentfer, Denmark will be used as a "springboard" for Allied forces in the future.

"This may mean that additional Danish forces must be deployed outside the border," Lentfer said.

Call For Dialogue

Abdulla Shahid, president of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), on Thursday called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and peaceful means to settle disputes.

"I call for an immediate ceasefire, deescalation of tensions and a firm return to diplomacy and dialogue," said the UNGA president in a statement.

Underscoring that the UN Charter is based on the principle of sovereign equality, Shahid called on all member states to settle their international disputes by peaceful means.