Russian Forces Attack Kindergarten in Ukraine, Casualties Reported: Officials

Ukrainian children have reportedly been injured after Russian forces targeted a kindergarten in Ukraine's northeastern Sumy region.

Ukraine's Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba on Friday called for an investigation following reports that Russia launched an attack on a kindergarten and an orphanage in Okhtyrka, a small city in Ukraine's Sumy province.

"Today's Russian attacks on a kindergarten and an orphanage are war crimes and violations of the Rome Statute," he said in a statement on Twitter. "Together with the General Prosecutor's Office we are collecting this and other facts, which we will immediately send to the Hague."

Kuleba added, "Responsibility is inevitable."

Local news outlet the Kyiv Independent reported that there are casualties and severely injured people, some of them children.

Christo Grozev, the executive director of Netherlands-based investigative news outlet Bellingcat, said he received an image from several official Ukrainian sources that showed the scene of the attack.

"The unedited photo shows at least two dead persons prostrated on the ground," said Grozev on Twitter.

The news comes amid reports that Russian troops descended on the streets of Ukraine's capital, Kyiv on Friday, and a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a "special military operation" in Ukraine.

Ukraine's ministry of defense called on citizens to prepare Molotov cocktails to fight off invading Russian troops, as Russian forces appeared to have infiltrated a residential district of Kyiv.

"We urge citizens to inform us of troop movements, to make Molotov cocktails, and neutralize the enemy," the ministry said on social media.

"We ask citizens to inform about the movement of equipment! Make Molotov cocktails, neutralize the occupier!" The ministry said in a Twitter post on Friday. "Peaceful residents—be careful! Do not leave the house!"

An air raid alert was also issued in Kyiv on Friday. The press service of the Kyiv City State Administration told citizens to head to the nearest shelter "immediately."

German tabloid newspaper Bild reported on Friday that there had been "heavy fighting in the northern districts of Kyiv."

"So far I've only seen Ukrainian infantry fighting vehicles, but there seem to be Russian paratroopers," Bild correspondent Julian Röpcke said on Twitter.

Neil Hauer, a freelance journalist int he capital tweeted that clashes had broken out near Ukraine's capital, the Rada.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday that Russia would be ready for talks if Ukraine's military surrendered.

"We are ready for negotiations at any moment, as soon as the armed forces of Ukraine respond to our call and lay down their arms," Lavrov said, AFP reported.

"Demilitarisation and de-Nazification" is Putin's ultimate goal, Lavrov continued.

"Russian President Vladimir Putin took the decision to conduct a special military operation to demilitarise and de-Nazify Ukraine so that, freed from oppression, Ukrainians themselves could freely determine their future," he added.

Russia's defense ministry said Friday that its forces killed more than 200 personnel from Ukraine's special forces during the capture of the Gostomel airfield, an international cargo airport in the suburbs of Kyiv.

For the latest updates on the conflict follow Newsweek's live blog.

Russian forces infiltrate Kyiv
A man clears debris at a damaged residential building at Koshytsa Street, a suburb of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, where a military shell allegedly hit, on February 25, 2022. Ukraine's Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba said Friday that Russian forces attacked a kindergarten. DANIEL LEAL/AFP/Getty Images