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Russian army says Ukraine civilians can ‘freely’ leave Kyiv

KYIV: The Russian army said Monday that Ukrainian civilians could “freely” leave the country’s capital Kyiv and claimed its airforce dominated Ukraine’s skies as its invasion entered the fifth day.

“All civilians in the city can freely leave the Ukrainian capital along the Kyiv-Vasylkiv highway. This direction is open and safe,” Russian defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in televised remarks.

Vasylkiv is located to the southwest of Kyiv.

Konashenkov hinted that Russia was preparing to target civilian areas of Kyiv, accusing Ukrainian troops of using civilians as human shields.

He citing Ukraine’s advice to Kyiv’s citizens to stay at home and observe a nighttime curfew as proof of his claim that civilians were being used to shield “nationalists, who have placed artillery detachments and military equipment in residential areas”.

Read more: Russia admits soldiers killed, wounded in Ukraine offensive

He added that Kyiv had been overrun by “bands of looters, robbers and nationalists who have received weapons” from the authorities.

Listing Moscow’s military advances, Konashenkov claimed that Russia’s aviation has superior air power over the “entire territory of Ukraine”.

In Ukraine’s southeast, Russian troops have taken control of the port city of Berdyansk and the city of Energodar, which has a large nuclear power plant, Konashenkov said.

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