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In pictures – Russia’s devastating invasion of Ukraine

Fierce fighting as Vladimir Putin’s invading forces move towards Kiev on the second day of the war

After declaring for weeks that he had no intention of invading, Vladimir Putin launched his Russian forces on the neighboring country, Ukraine, to start the biggest ground war in Europe since World War II. .

As air raid sirens sounded in Kiev on Friday, guests at a downtown hotel were directed to a makeshift basement shelter lined with piles of mattresses and water bottles.

The invasion ordered by Russian President Putin began Thursday morning with a series of missile strikes on cities and military bases, then quickly followed by a multi-pronged ground assault that brought in troops from several parts of the country. is as well as from the south. region of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, and Belarus in the north.

Ukrainian officials have said they have lost control of the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the scene of the world’s worst nuclear disaster, and civilians in many parts of the country have piled into trains and cars to flee.

Fearing a Russian attack on the capital, thousands of people went deep into hiding as night fell, blocking Kiev’s metro stations.

Russia said it was not targeting cities, but reporters saw destruction in many civilian areas, and Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said at least three people were injured when a rocket hit a multi-story building in the city on Friday, starting a fire.

The Ukrainian army on Friday reported heavy fighting near Ivankiv, about 40 miles northwest of Kiev, as Russian forces apparently tried to advance towards the capital from the north. Russian troops also entered the city of Sumy, near the border with Russia which is on a road leading to Kiev from the east.

Condemnation came not only from the United States and Europe, but also from South Korea, Australia and elsewhere – and many governments prepared new sanctions. Even friendly leaders like Hungary’s Viktor Orban have sought to distance themselves from Mr. Putin.

Below we look at some of the footage from the war. Some images are shocking.