Tuesday, January 31

Zelensky refuses US offer to evacuate saying, “I need ammunition, not a ride”

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has turned down an offer from the United States of evacuation from the capital city Kyiv, the Ukraine embassy in Britain said Saturday on Twitter. 

According to the embassy, Zelensky told the US: “The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride.

“Ukrainians are proud of their President,” the tweet adds. 

In a video posted Saturday morning on Twitter, Zelensky said, “we are not putting down arms.”

Zelensky remains a “prime target for Russian aggression,” US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Thursday evening amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

It echoed Zelensky’s own words that his intelligence said he has become a key target.

Zelensky said Thursday that “according to our information, the enemy marked me as target №1, my family – as target №2. They want to destroy Ukraine politically by destroying the head of state. We have information that enemy sabotage groups have entered Kyiv.”10 min ago

Bridge which connects Russian-held areas to Ukraine enveloped in smoke

The city of Kherson in southern Ukraine is the site of a key bridge that connects Russian-held areas to the country. A CNN crew witnessed intense shelling in the area on Saturday.

The sound of shelling impacts hit around the city of Kherson, Ukraine, north of the Crimean peninsula, from 8 a.m.

By 11 a.m. the bridge — which connects Russian-held areas to Ukraine — was blanketed in smoke from the grass around it that had caught fire.

Shelling continued back and forth, and a CNN team could see through the smoke apparent armored vehicles on the bridge moving towards the Ukrainian side. CNN was unable to confirm who they belong to.

Battle over strategic link: CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh has been reporting from the area.

On arriving to the southern Ukrainian city on Thursday night, he said Russian tanks were in the streets, with no rest overnight. Jets were flying low overhead, terrifying residents. 

By Friday, Ukrainian forces had reclaimed the key crossing into the country but not without cost. One Ukrainian soldier told CNN the Russians were “not far away.” Civilians were seen picking through the wreckage on the bridge for ammunition, bodies of soldiers lying nearby.

“It shows you how many people are involved on a local level,” Paton Walsh reports. “They’re stopping everywhere to pick up whatever they can.”

Friday afternoon brought the noise of more rockets landing in the streets and by dusk it appeared the balance of power had changed once again. Shells landed around Ukrainian positions and seemingly near houses. It was followed by the sound of an attack helicopter. All acute violence that seemed to indicate the bridge had changed hands again and moments later local officials told CNN Kherson’s defenses had fallen.

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