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UPDATE: Russian forces closing in on Ukrainian capital as tens of thousands flee the country

Breaking News Filler

Russian military forces are moving toward Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, according to an Axios report.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said the city entered a defense phase amid explosions from Russian military forces and said there was some fighting in the outskirts of the city, according to Reuters.

A rocket attack from Russia hit a residential building, a Ukrainian government official said Friday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said at least 137 Ukranians died in the first day of the invasion, according to a Washington Post report. Hundreds more are wounded.

Related: [Panelists discuss implications following Russian attack on Ukraine]

Russia lost some of its momentum in its offensive attack on Ukraine, a senior Pentagon official told the Washington Post Friday. However, the official said the situation could change quickly.

More than 50,000 Ukranians have fled the country thus far, according to a United Nations Commissioner Filippo Grandi.

Putin is looking to take power from Zelensky, and he encouraged Ukrainian forces to take power from Ukraine’s democratically elected government.

Zelensky told European officials late Thursday in Eastern Standard Time that Russian forces damaged Ukrainian forces, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“This might be the last time you see me alive,” Zelensky said to European Union leaders, according to two officials. “I don’t know how much we’ll be able to hold. Russia is shelling civilian targets.”

Zelensky, who was elected in hopes of bringing peace, has been forced into becoming a wartime leader in Ukraine. He remains in Kyiv and is calling on Russian leader Vladimir Putin to meet for talks.

Thursday, Feb. 24

Axios reported Thursday evening that the United States military is looking to provide more defensive equipment to Ukrainian forces, but it is becoming more difficult as Russian forces inch closer to the capitol. The United States military is also looking at ways to train Ukrainian forces remotely.

“We’re alone for defense of our country,” Zelensky said. “Who will fight along with us now? To be honest, I see no one.”

U.S. President Joe Biden announced a series of sanctions against Russia less than a day after the country launched attacks on Ukraine.

Explosions could be heard in multiple cities in Ukraine on Wednesday evening in Eastern Standard Time. Some of those explosions occurred in Kyiv, the country’s capital. Putin called the attacks a “special military operation” in Ukraine aimed to demilitarize the country, according to Reuters.

Russian forces also captured the Chernobyl nuclear plant, Ukrainian authorities said.

“Putin is the aggressor,” Biden said in a Thursday afternoon address from the White House. “Putin chose this war. And now he and his country will bear the consequences.”

The new sanctions include blocks on the exports of technology, a move Biden said would severely limit the ability of Russia’s military to advance.

Biden also announced he would be sending thousands of troops to Europe to bolster NATO defense sources. Ukraine is not a member of NATO, though Ukraine’s current leadership has said the country wants to join the alliance. The United States, as a member state, is obligated to consider an attack on a NATO member state as an attack on itself, according to Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. The treaty created NATO in 1949.

The explosions occurred just a day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky recorded an emotional video address early Wednesday in EST pleading Russia to not send troops across the border into Ukraine.

Biden called Russia’s actions an unjustified attack in a Wednesday press release.

“Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way,” Biden said in the Wednesday release. “The world will hold Russia accountable.”

This story may be updated.

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