Russia capture Airfield near Kyiv

Russia said Stinger missiles could end up in the hands of terrorists. Source: Reuters.

Kyiv: Russian and Ukrainian forces were on Thursday battling for an airbase on the northern outskirts of Kyiv after dozens of attack helicopters swooped south from Belarus towards the capital.

Russian airborne troops seized control of the Gostomel airfield, but Ukraine’s leader President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed that they would be encircled and crushed.

“The enemy paratroopers in Gostomel have been blocked, and troops have received an order to destroy them,” Zelensky said, in a video address.

Destroyed facilities included 11 airfields, three command posts and 18 radar stations of the S-300 and Buk-M1 anti-aircraft missile systems, he said.

He added that a Ukrainian military helicopter and four drones had also been shot down.

Read more: China rejects calling Russia’s move ‘invasion’, denies backing it

Konashenkov said separatist forces continued an offensive backed by air support of the Russian armed forces.

Currently “armed groups of nationalists” are putting up resistance, he said, claiming that Ukrainian troops wanted to leave the area of hostilities.

He said that Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu had ordered Russian troops to “treat Ukrainian servicemen with respect”.

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