Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he has held discussions with US President Joe Biden over 'defence assistance'.
Strengthening sanctions, concrete defense assistance and an anti-war coalition have just been discussed with @POTUS. Grateful to 🇺🇸 for the strong support to 🇺🇦!
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) February 25, 2022
It comes as Russian forces have reached Ukraine's capital Kyiv, and the city enters a 'defensive phase'.
The sound of gunfire has echoed through the capital, with Mayor Vitali Klitschko saying Russia is trying to put the city "on its knees".
After unleashing airstrikes this morning, Russian tanks were filmed rolling into Kyiv for the first time.
Residents were told to stay at home and avoid "active military operations" in the Obolon district, just a few miles from the city centre.
But the Defence Ministry also advised making Molotov cocktails to "neutralise the occupier".
Air raid sirens went off and shooting was heard near the Government quarter. Many residents have left, while others huddled in shelters.
The Russian Defence Ministry claimed its forces had blocked the city from the west and taken control of Gostomel Airport nearby, according to the Russian TASS news agency.
On Friday afternoon, however, the British Ministry of Defence said the bulk of Russian forces remained more than 50km from Kyiv city centre.
"Russian armoured forces have opened a new route of advance towards Kyiv having failed to capture Chernihiv," it said.
Russia has not taken any Ukrainian population centres so far, a US defence official said on Friday afternoon.
"The enemy wants to put the capital on its knees and destroy us," said Kyiv's mayor, former world heavyweight boxing champion Klitschko. "Saboteurs have already entered Kyiv."
Ukraine's Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said come European leaders were still being "hesitant" in their opposition to Russia.
He tweeted: "Each year at commemorative events you say 'Never again'.
"The time to prove it is now. Russia is waging a horrific war of aggression in Europe. Here is your 'never again' test: BAN RUSSIA FROM SWIFT and kick it out of everywhere."
To some European leaders who are still hesitant: each year at commemorative events you say ‘Never again’. The time to prove it is now. Russia is waging a horrific war of aggression in Europe. Here is your ‘never again’ test: BAN RUSSIA FROM SWIFT and kick it out of everywhere.
— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) February 25, 2022
Removing Russia from the SWIFT global payments system would damage Russia's economy both immediately and in the long term, but other countries could suffer too.
The European Council agreed on further sanctions on Thursday it said would have “massive and severe consequences on Russia”.
The sanctions target the financial, transport and technology sectors - while also restricting Russia’s access to European visas.
The council demanded that Russia immediately cease its military actions, unconditionally withdraw all forces from the entire territory of Ukraine and fully respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence.
European Council President Ursula von der Leyen said the package would have “maximum impact on the Russian economy and the political elite”.
It came after the US President Joe Biden announced a range of sanctions he said would “impose a severe cost on the Russian economy, both immediately and over time”.
He again made it clear that, while American troops would not fight in Ukraine, the US would help defend "every inch of NATO territory".
The White House also confirmed that the US was sending a further 7,000 troops to Germany, to help reassure NATO allies.
Speaking on Friday morning, President Zelenskyy warned that the sanctions were not enough and accused the world of observing what was going on in Ukraine from afar.
He ordered a mass mobilisation decree that paves the way for civilians to take up arms against Russian forces - noting that 137 Ukrainians had already been killed, with 316 injured.
Conscripts and reservists will be called up over the next 90 days to “ensure the defence of the state, maintaining combat and mobilization readiness”, according to a post on his website.
“We have been left alone to defend our state,” President Zelenskyy said in a video address to the nation after midnight.
“Who is ready to fight alongside us? I don't see anyone. Who is ready to give Ukraine a guarantee of NATO membership? Everyone is afraid,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Border Guard has said Ukrainian men aged 18 to 60 will not be permitted to leave the country for as long as martial law, announced when the Russian invasion began, remains in force.
Ilya Linifch, who is from eastern Belarus, near the Russian border, and currently living in Co Leitrim told Newstalk the invasion is much worse than he feared.
“It is horrible to see that war is back in Europe,” he said.
“We all sensed this atmosphere of distrust between Ukraine and Russia but until the very last minute, I never thought it was going to be that big of a scale event.
“It is really agonising to see your county being used as the starting point of an invasion by another sovereign country.”