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February 25, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

Videos show explosions and gunfire around Ukrainian capital
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Biden instructs State Department to release up to $350 million in security assistance to Ukraine

United States President Joe Biden has instructed Secretary of State Antony Blinken to release up to $350 million in immediate support to Ukraine’s security and defense, according to a new memo released by the White House late Friday.

This is the third drawdown of money; previous orders have been for $60 million and $250 million, putting the total over the last year at over a billion dollars, according to an administration official.

The State Department is expected to issue its own statement with more details shortly.

This release comes after a 40-minute call between Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky earlier Friday, during which they discussed “concrete defense assistance.”

Ukrainian military says a Russian tank destroyed in western Kyiv

The Ukrainian military has given its first account of explosions that rocked western Kyiv in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The Military Law Enforcement Service of Ukraine said that country’s the military “destroyed a column of equipment of the occupiers” in the Beresteiska district in Kyiv.

“According to preliminary information, it is about 2 cars, 2 trucks with ammunition, and also with the help of NLAW anti-tank missiles an enemy tank was destroyed,” said the service.

CNN has not been able to independently verify this account.

The United Kingdom supplied NLAW anti-tank missiles to Ukraine in the weeks before Russia invaded.

Satellite images show Kyiv's international airport undamaged, with runways blocked by vehicles

Satellite images showing blocked runways at Kyiv's Boryspil Airport on February 25.

New satellite images show Boryspil Airport, Kyiv’s international airport, appearing unscathed — but its runways have been blocked by vehicles.

The images, released by Planet Labs PBC, verify rumors of actions taken across Ukraine before the Russian invasion began. At the airport, runways and taxiways are blocked, allegedly in an effort to prevent Russian aircraft from landing and utilizing the airport. 

Russia’s broad offensive, beginning early Thursday, targeted military infrastructure across Ukraine as well as several airports and other key installations using missile attacks and long-range artillery. Kyiv’s international airport was one of the chief targets.

See what parts of Ukraine Russian forces have occupied so far

Russian forces have taken control of portions of northern Ukraine outside the capital of Kyiv, including the Chernobyl exclusion zone, according to analysis from the Institute for the Study of War in Washington, DC.

They’ve also moved into the city of Kherson, north of the Crimean peninsula.

Gunfire heard in Kyiv

Several bursts of gunfire were heard in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, close to the city center around 5:45 a.m. local time Saturday (10:45 p.m. ET Friday).

It appeared to come from the southeast. 

Ukrainian TV broadcasts instructions for how to make Molotov cocktails

As Ukrainian leaders urge residents to stand their ground and resist Russia’s invasion, one television channel broadcast instructions on how to make Molotov cocktails on Friday.

The TV segment showed a person creating the makeshift explosive, pouring colored liquid into a glass bottle, with a diagram on the side showing how to stopper the bottle with a cloth wick.

Earlier Friday, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry tweeted that citizens should “make Molotov cocktails and take down the occupier,” as Russian forces drew closer to the capital Kyiv.

Mayor of town south of Kyiv speaks of heavy fighting in streets

The mayor of the town of Vasilkiv, about 35 kilometers (21.75 miles) south of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, said fierce fighting is now taking place in the middle of the town.

“It is completely occupied with fighting,” said Mayor Natalia Balasynovich, speaking on the Ukrainian parliament channel early Saturday.

She added that there were losses on the Ukrainian side — “many wounded, unfortunately, they are in the 200s.”

CNN has been unable to independently verify reports.

After explosions throughout the night, Kyiv sees a quiet lull

After a number of blasts Friday night and early Saturday in and around the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, the city has had a lull for the last 45 minutes. As of 5 a.m. local time, the city has been quiet with no explosions heard or seen by CNN reporters on the ground.

Earlier Saturday between 2 to 4 a.m., CNN teams reported hearing loud explosions to the west and south of the city, with the sky lit up with a series of flashes. Shortly after, videos from eyewitnesses showed explosions to the city’s northwest.

US embassy in Ukraine warns Americans in the country to locate their nearest shelter

The United States embassy for Ukraine warned US citizens in a tweet on Saturday that “conditions may deteriorate without warning,” and advised Americans in the country to locate their nearest shelter.

“The security situation throughout Ukraine remains highly volatile, and conditions may deteriorate without warning. US citizens should remain vigilant and know the location of your closest shelter or protected space,” said the tweet.

No evacuation assistance: On Friday, the White House said the US State Department had been in touch with Americans still in Ukraine — but the administration is standing by President Biden’s comments that he would not send troops in to help evacuate them. 

Ukrainian MP: When the Russians come, "that's when you get a gun and you learn how to shoot it"

Kira Rudik, a member of Ukraine’s parliament, had been going about daily life just a few days ago, holding meetings and discussing legislation even as the threat of a Russian invasion loomed.

“And then one day, you just know they’re coming,” said Rudik, speaking to CNN from the capital city Kyiv. “And then you have to do something. And that’s when you get a gun and then you learn how to shoot it.”

Rudik posted a photo of herself holding a gun on Twitter late Friday, captioned: “Our women will protect our soil the same way as our men.” The post has since circulated widely online, with more than 91,000 likes on Twitter.

“It was super unusual and super crazy for myself to understand and realize that I’m holding a gun and I’m ready to bear arms, and I’m ready to go and shoot other human beings,” Rudik said early Saturday. “And the reason for that change was because Russian soldiers are coming to Kyiv and Russian soldiers are trying to take what is actually not theirs.”

She and her family are now hiding in a bomb shelter as heavy fighting intensifies, with explosions heard and seen in the city in the early hours of Saturday.

But, she added, “We are actually fighting them very, very hard … (Putin) underestimated the readiness of our army, and he underestimated that on every step of the way of his soldiers, they were given really hard resistance.”