Russian officials said March 1 that the military will launch strikes at sites in Kyiv, Ukraine’s largest city, after Ukraine blamed Russia for explosions in its second-largest city.
The Russian Defense Ministry said the military will strike sites in Kyiv belonging to Ukraine’s security service and a special operations unit, according to state-run news agencies.
The ministry said the attacks were aimed at thwarting “informational attacks against Russia,” urging Ukrainians to evacuate the areas around the sites.
Capturing Kyiv, which has about 2.8 million people, is a main objective of the Russian military, according to Ukrainian, American, and British officials.
A Russian armored column was approaching Kyiv on Tuesday.
Pictures released by U.S. satellite company Maxar showed Russian tanks, artillery, and fuel trucks stretching for 40 miles (60 kilometers) along a highway to the north.
Still, the advance on Kyiv “has made little progress over the past 24 hours,” the British Ministry of Defense said.
“For the enemy, Kyiv is the key target,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has remained in the capital rallying Ukrainians, said in a message overnight. “We will neutralize them all.”
Russian troops fired artillery at Kyiv and the southern port city of Mariupol while the Ukrainian side shot down Russian military planes around the capital, presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said in a briefing.
Ukraine also reported strikes to Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city.
Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba said “barbaric Russian missile strikes” targeted Kharkiv’s central Freedom Square and residential districts, on day six of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Kuleba accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of carrying out war crimes. Civilians were reported among the dozens of people killed in Kharkiv, according to Ukraine.
A video shared by Ukrainian officials showed a massive fireball and large plumes of black smoke that appeared to shroud several civilian cars.