Russia Advances on Kyiv as Area Outside Ukraine Capital Targeted

Video shared on social media appeared to show Russia's military was bearing down on Kyiv with an air assault operation heading towards the Ukrainian capital.

Footage on Twitter appeared to show Russian helicopters near Vyshgorod, which is only 10 miles from the capital Kyiv, hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his troops would invade the country.

"Initial reports also indicate that the Ukrainian Airforce Mig-29s are engaging Russian Airforce Su-35s over Kyiv," tweeted Aurora Intel with the footage.

The video was retweeted by investigative website Bellingcat whose founder Elliot Higgins wrote: "As predicted, it looks like the Russian military is aiming to take Kyiv as quickly as possible."

"At this rate Russian troops could be marching through Kyiv before the EU, UK and US has implemented any sanctions," he added.

A Buzzfeed News correspondent also tweeted footage of what it said was a "large air assault operation with Mi-8 helicopters on Antonov International Airport in Hostomel," which is close to the capital city's ring road.

CNN reported that Russian forces had taken Antonov Airport about 15 miles outside of Kyiv. Justin Bronk​, from the Rusi thinktank, told The Guardian if the Russians could hold the airbase, it could be used to build up forces.

However, he said this could be "high risk" because airborne assault forces are so deep into Ukrainian territory, they are "dependent on aerial resupply, casualty evacuation and fire support."

Agence France-Presse reported that Russian and Ukrainian forces were battling for control of the airbase and that dozens of attack helicopters had swooped on the area.

"Fighting is underway for Hostomel airfield," Ukrainian armed forces chief Valeriy Zaluzhny said in a statement.

Western defense officials have previously warned that Russia's main goal was to encircle the capital, Kyiv, and ultimately try to provoke regime change.

Citing a senior U.S. defense official, CNN reported that the attacks on Ukraine would unfold in "multiple phases" and that the Russians are "making a move on Kyiv," from the south in Crimea and from Belarus in the north.

The official said the Russians had "every intention of basically decapitating the government and installing their own method of governance."

Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko announced a city-wide curfew in the Ukrainian capital between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. Residents will be unable to use public transport but subway stations will be open for use as shelters.

Update 2/24/22, 11:36 a.m. ET: This story has been updated with further details and a new image.

Kyiv explosion
The debris of a house after Russian shelling outside Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. Russia on Thursday unleashed a barrage of air and missile strikes on Ukrainian facilities across the country. Associated Press