Zelensky releases convicts with military experience
Ex-convicts will be freed and deployed to the "hottest" parts of the front against Russia.
Days after Vladimir Putin authorized a special military operation to demilitarize and "denazify" Ukraine last week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared that Ukraine will release war veterans from its jails and deploy them to the "hottest" regions of the front to battle Russia.
In an address on Monday, Zelensky said a morally difficult position was approved to release war veterans with real combat experience to "make amends for their guilt" in the hottest spots of the conflict.
He added that the focus now is on "defense," citing that all Ukrainians are responsible for the country. Zelensky said "it’s turned out that each of us is a warrior. A warrior in his own place. And I am confident that each of us will win."
The Ukrainian President gave out over 18,000 assault rifles to residents in Kiev on Friday with no background checks or identification.
Following the action, there were widespread allegations of looting and raiding, as well as attacks on citizens and gunfights in the streets of Kiev involving heavily armed gang members, nationalist battalions, and the Ukrainian military, with the city fast devolving into disorder.
Ukrainian MP Ilya Kiva described Zelensky as a criminal, accusing him of knowing about the start of the military operation in advance and not using the "opportunity for negotiations.On the contrary, he introduced martial law, pushing people to certain death."
"It was practically a license for murder," he claimed, alluding to several reports and videos suggesting that many citizens in Kiev had already been victims of "banditry," and that the shootout heard in the Ukrainian capital was purportedly sparked by local disputes.
Kiva added that while many speak of Zelensky's "heroism," true heroism is about “rescuing, protecting and being ready to negotiate.”
5 km column of Russian troops 'moving towards Kiev'
Ukraine's State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection said that blasts were heard in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev and in the major city of Kharkiv on Monday morning.
The Ukrainian capital had been quiet for a few hours prior, according to a brief statement posted on the Telegram messaging app.
In satellite imagery taken on Sunday, a 5-kilometer column of Russian troops and tanks could be seen "moving towards Kiev."
New 📸 @Maxar satellite images show a 3.25-mile convoy of Russian ground forces with 100s of military vehicles NE of Ivankiv, Ukraine and moving toward Kyiv (40 miles away). Contains fuel, logistics, armored vehicles (tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, self-propelled artillery). pic.twitter.com/Z75iNhy7Jw— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) February 27, 2022
Earlier, Al Mayadeen’s correspondent to Crimea reported that "the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that the government in Ukraine has lost its legitimacy."
Meanwhile, Al Mayadeen’s correspondent to Kiev quoted the mayor of the Ukrainian city of Berdyansk as announcing that "all official buildings in the city fell into the hands of the Russian forces."