Russian troops are moving closer to Kyiv and significant destruction is being seen in cities and towns as Moscow continues with its bombardment of Ukraine. Multiple explosions were heard by CNN teams on the ground shortly before 6 a.m. on the outskirts of the northwestern city Lviv.
Russia could target foreign weapons: Russia has threatened to fire on weapons shipments to Ukraine, saying convoys with foreign weapons could be considered “legitimate targets.” The warning, issued by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, raises the risk of direct confrontation between Moscow and a NATO country.
US rushes through military aid: The warning came as the United States authorized directed $200 million in “immediate” defense aid and services, including military education and training, for Ukraine. A US official said the aid will include “anti-armor, anti-aircraft systems, and small arms in support of Ukraine’s front-line defenders facing down Russia’s unprovoked attack.”
Russian troops inch closer to Kyiv: The bulk of Russian ground forces are about 15.5 miles (25 kilometers) from the center of the Ukrainian capital, the UK’s Ministry of Defense said Saturday in its latest intelligence assessment. Russian strikes continue to hit civilian areas: A large swath of Makariv, a village 30 miles west of Kyiv, has sustained significant damage from apparent Russian airstrikes. Photos posted to social media, geolocated and verified by CNN, show major damage to residential apartment complexes, schools and a medical facility.
Chernobyl running on generators: Repairs to the nuclear power plant’s electrical system, damaged during a Russian attack on March 9, are ongoing, as the plant is now dependent on external diesel generators to keep its reactors operating, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said. Russian officials have also arrived to Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant, demanding to take control of the facility, according to a statement from Energoatom, Ukraine’s state-operated nuclear energy company.
Significant destruction: The cities of Kharkhiv, Mariupol, Mykolaiv, Dnipro, Chernihiv and Sumy are under a sustained Russian onslaught and Russian forces have been expanding their offensive in Ukraine to the west. In the besieged city of Mariupol, satellite imagery showed damage and fires in apartment buildings and gas stations. An emergency coordinator for Doctors Without Borders told CNN that the city is in “the disaster phase now.” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said “a few small towns just don’t exist anymore. … They are just gone.”
Evacuations: Seven civilians, including women and a child were killed by Russian troops while trying to flee the village of Peremoga, in the Kyiv region, according to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry. Zelensky said 12,729 Ukrainians were successfully evacuated Saturday.
Ukraine united: Zelensky said his country is more united than ever as it faces Russian violence but sees a “lack of courage from the members of NATO to come together for Ukraine. it’s a huge problem. A philosophical problem of the alliance.” Zelensky said Ukraine has lost approximately 1,300 troops as of Saturday and that all of the country is “a front line.”