UPDATED: Ukraine says more than 1,000 Russian soldiers killed so far

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Feb 25 (Reuters) – Ukraine’s Defence Ministry said on Friday that more than 1,000 Russian servicemen had been killed so far in the Ukrainian conflict.

“Russia has not suffered so many casualties during the fighting in any of its armed conflicts since its inception,” the ministry said.

Ukraine’s chiefs of staff said on Friday Russia was using the Gomel airfield in Belarus to line up troops to assault Kyiv due to damage to the Hostomel military airport near the Ukrainian capital.

“In order to intimidate the population of Ukraine, the enemy is increasingly choosing to destroy civilian infrastructure and housing,” the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in a Facebook statement.

It said Russian troops were advancing on Kyiv from several directions as Ukrainian forces battled around Mariupol in the south and Kharkiv in the north-east of the country

Kyiv authorities told residents of the north-western Obolon area on Friday to stay off the streets given “active hostilities” were approaching.

“In connection with the approach of active hostilities, residents of Obolon district are asked not to go outside,” city council said in an alert.

Ukraine expects a Russian tank attack on its capital, Kyiv, later on Friday which could become the hardest day in the war, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister said.

Anton Herashchenko, the adviser, said the defenders of Kyiv were ready with anti-tank missiles supplied by foreign allies.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Friday that continued Russian aggression against his country showed that sanctions imposed on Moscow by the West were not enough.

Zelenskiy said the world was continuing to observe what was going on in Ukraine from afar.

He was speaking after Ukraine said its capital city Kyiv had been struck by Russian missiles in the early hours of Friday morning.

PHOTO – A handout still image taken from handout video made available by the Russian Defence ministry press-service of Russian and Belarusian servicemen. RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY PRESS SERVICE

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