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Ukraine invasion: Russian missiles hit oil terminal and gas pipeline sparking fears of ‘catastrophe’

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Russian missiles have hit an oil terminal and a gas pipeline overnight, as Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine continues.

The oil terminal was set alight in Vasylkiv, southwest of the capital Kyiv, according to the town’s mayor Natalia
Balasinovich.

In a video posted online, she said: “The enemy wants to destroy everything around.”

Russian advance ‘slows’ due to ‘strong resistance’ – live updates

Photos and video on social media showed large flames in the night sky and residents were told to be alert for toxic fumes.

“Environmental catastrophe”

The gas pipeline, meanwhile, was in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, and the Ukrainian government has said that the smoke could cause an “environmental catastrophe”.

People were warned to cover their windows with damp cloth or gauze.

Also, Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine’s Luhansk province said an oil terminal was blown up by a Ukrainian missile in the town of Rovenky.

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Ukrainian troops seen in firefight with Russians

Ukraine’s Infrastructure Ministry said a Russian missile was also shot down early on Saturday before it could reach the dam of a reservoir that serves Kyiv.

Many thousands of Ukrainians spent another night inside and underground on Saturday, seeking safety from the Russian troops, as they drew closer to Kyiv.

It is unclear how much territory Russian forces have seized but the UK’s Ministry of Defence said their speed “has temporarily slowed, likely as a result of acute logistical difficulties and strong Ukrainian resistance”.

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Ukraine’s president: ‘I am target number one’

That resistance – against a much larger foe – has been supported by cash and weapons from allies such as the UK and US.

Russia to be removed from SWIFT

On Saturday evening, Western allies also agreed to remove selected Russian banks from the SWIFT global financial messaging system.

In a joint statement, leaders of Europe, UK, US, and Canada, said the move was one of five measures to be implemented in the coming days.

It will stop Russian banks from conducting most of their financial transactions worldwide and effectively block Russian exports and imports, according to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

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Volunteers queue to join Ukraine army

Ukraine’s health minister said on Saturday that 198 people, including three children, had been killed and more than 1,000 others were wounded. It was unclear whether those figures included both military and civilian casualties.

Russia has claimed it is aiming only at military targets but bridges, schools, and residential areas have been hit.

More than 150,000 Ukrainians have fled for Poland and other neighbouring countries, with the United Nations warning that the number of refugees could reach four million.

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Sky News explains who is who in the Russia-Ukraine war

‘The fight is here’

But Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has insisted he is staying in the country, despite reports that the Russian president plans to get rid of him in favour of a more compliant leader.

The Associated Press reported on Saturday that the US had offered the 44-year-old as way out of the country, but he had replied: “The fight is here – I need ammunition, not a ride”.

Mr Zelenskyy has said that he is open to talking with Mr Putin, adding that he welcomed an offer from Turkey and Azerbaijan to organise this.

The Kremlin confirmed a phone call between Mr Putin and Azerbaijan’s president Ilham Aliyev had taken place, but there was no indication that talks between Mr Putin and the Ukrainian president would result.

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