Despite all set and dawn, Invasion persistence still remain the focus in president Vladimir Putin mind, could he resort to unleashing devastating thermobaric weapons on Ukraine after fierce resistance slowed Russian advances, Western officials fear.
They believe Russia fell short in most of its day one objectives for the invasion, having failed to topple the government or take any of the main population centres.
Citizens in Kyiv had been urged by the country’s defence ministry to make Molotov cocktails to ‘neutralise the occupier’, while the mayor of a city south of the capital said troops fended off Russian attempts to seize control of a military air base.
As fighting persisted, Ukraine’s military claimed to have shot down an II-76 Russian transport plane near Vasylkiv, 25 miles south of Kyiv.
It was unclear how many were on board, but they are believed to be able to carry up to 125 paratroopers.
A second Russian military transport plane was reportedly shot down near Bila Tserkva, 50 miles south of Kyiv.
The Russian military has not commented on either plane.
Western officials have warned they could resort to deploying thermobaric weapons used to generate powerful, high-temperature explosions if the Ukrainian military resistance continues to hold up their assault.
One noted that the Russians were known to have thermobaric weapons in their armoury and that they had used them in previous conflicts.
The so-called ‘vacuum bombs’ suck in oxygen to create powerful, high-temperature explosions which can damage internal organs.
My fear would be that if they don’t meet their timescale and objectives, they would be indiscriminate in their use of violence,’ the official said.
The latest intelligence update from the Ministry of Defence in London said Russian forces made advances throughout Friday with a probable amphibious landing in southern Ukraine around Mariupol.
However, the primary target remains Kyiv, with Russian forces advancing on ‘multiple axis’ in an attempt to encircle the city.
With reports of sporadic fighting in the suburbs, there are fears of heavy civilian casualties as the main body of Russian troops reaches the capital.
Britain’s Chief of Defence Intelligence, Lieutenant General Sir Jim Hockenhull, said Moscow’s objective was to ‘secure control of the population and change the regime’.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky offered renewed assurance on Saturday that the country’s military would stand up to the Russian invasion.
In a video recorded in a central Kyiv street, he said: ‘We aren’t going to lay down weapons.
We will protect the country.
‘Our weapon is our truth, and our truth is that it’s our land, our country, our children.
And we will defend all of that.