Russia Says It’s Starting to Attack Ukraine Again After ‘Pause’ for Talks

Ukrainians were seen attempting to stop the advance of Russian tanks by standing or kneeling before them.
ukrainian soldiers
Ukrainian servicemen prepare a Swedish-British portable anti-tank guided missile NLAW before an attack in Lugansk region on February 26, 2022. (Photo: ANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP via Getty Images)

Russian forces are again advancing on Ukraine Saturday after what the Kremlin said was a short, unsuccessful pause to allow potential talks with Kyiv—a narrative at least one Ukrainian official has said is false. 

Ukrainian presidential advisor Mikhailo Podolyak denied that the country has refused to negotiate in a post to Telegram Saturday, saying Russia was “trying to drive negotiations into a dead end before they even begin,” according to the Washington Post.

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There’s no evidence that Russian troops actually ever slowed their offensive, either, though the Kremlin claimed Russian President Vladimir Putin sent an order Friday “to halt the advance of Russian troops,” according to the New York Times. And despite Ukraine’s denials, the Russian Ministry of Defense doubled down on saying that “active hostilities” were suspended Friday, but they have since resumed. 

A column of Russian tanks was seen moving toward the Ukrainian border near the city of Kharkiv Saturday evening, according to CNN.

At one point, Ukrainians were also seen attempting to stop the advance of Russian tanks by standing or kneeling before them, according to footage separately posted to Twitter by Christo Grozev, the executive director of Bellingcat. 

NBC News also reported that Ukrainian news footage showed a man trying to slow an onslaught of Russian military vehicles. 

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who remains in the country’s capital Kyiv despite describing himself as Russia’s “target No. 1,” said Saturday that his country is still repelling “enemy attacks,” CNN reported, and the British Ministry of Defence has said that Russia’s advance might have slowed due to “acute logistical difficulties and strong Ukrainian resistance.” 

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Still, Kyiv’s mayor is publicly begging for help as Russian troops close in on the city of nearly 3 million. 

“We messed up their plans. They did not gain any advantage over us,” Zelenskyy said in Ukrainian Saturday. “The enemy used everything against us: missiles, fighters, drones, artillery, armored vehicles, saboteurs, landing. The occupiers are hitting residential areas using jet artillery, trying to destroy energy facilities. They have very vile tactics.”

NBC News’ Richard Engel said on Twitter Saturday that he had “just watched Ukrainians tear down road signs in an effort to confuse advancing Russian troops.”

Chechen fighters deployed

Also on Saturday, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said he had deployed his forces to Ukraine in a bid to topple its government, according to Reuters. 

Kadyrov, a brutal strongman who in the past has sent units to Syria and Georgia, claimed in a video that his troops had not yet had a “single casualty” or person wounded. 

“Not a single man has even had a runny nose,” Kadyrov, an ally of Putin, said. 

At least 198 Ukrainians, however, have been killed since Russia invaded Ukraine Thursday, according to Ukraine’s health ministry. Three children have died, the government said.

More than 150,000 Ukrainians have since fled to neighboring countries.