Ukrainian defence ministry urges residents to make Molotov cocktails

‘Make Molotov cocktails, neutralise the occupier!’: Ukrainian ministry of defence urges residents to make homemade petrol bombs in district of Kyiv

  • Call to action was sent via official Twitter page of Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence
  • It urged residents to make Molotov cocktails to ‘neutralise the occupier’ in Kyiv
  • Twitter post also urged residents in Obolon to share location of Russia troops
  • It comes as US intelligence suggests that Russia could close in on Kyiv today 

The illegal petrol bombs believed to have had their name coined by the Finnish: What are Molotov cocktails? 

Molotov cocktail is a generic name given to petrol bombs.

Also known as a poor man’s grenade, because of their relative ease to make, they are improvised incendiary weapons involving flammable liquid put into glass bottles.

The name was coined by the Finnish during their war with Soviet Russia in 1939 – also known as the Winter War.

It is believed they were called Molotov as a pejorative reference to Vyacheslav Molotov due to the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact – a deal between Russia and Nazi Germany that saw Poland divided between the two countries and Finland into the Soviet ‘sphere of influence’. 

However they were used before the Winter War, most notably in the Spanish Civil war three years earlier. 

General Franco is said to have ordered his Nationalist troops to use them against Soviet tanks.

Many were made by people in Britain in the 1940s as the threat of an invasion by Nazi Germany loomed.

They are often used in riots and uprisings and, as of such, have become a symbol of revolution. 

But they are illegal to make in the UK under the Explosive Substances Act.

Ukrainian civilians are being encouraged to make Molotov cocktails in order to take out invading Russian troops.

With Vladimir Putin’s army closing in on the capital of Kiev, the country’s Ministry of Defence today took to social media to urge its citizens to build the homemade petrol bombs.

They also asked residents in Obolon, a northern district of the capital, to share information with Ukrainian military about the movement of Russian vehicles and troops.

In a post from the verified Twitter page of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, it said: ‘In Obolon… We ask citizens to inform about the movement of equipment! 

‘Make Molotov cocktails, neutralise the occupier! Peaceful residents – be careful! Do not leave the house!’

It comes as US intelligence suggests Russian troops will arrive in Kyiv today and are now fighting in the outskirts of the city.

They have also warned of a plan to seize an airport near to the city, fly in troops, and ‘decapitate’ the government.

Anton Herashchenko, an adviser to the country’s interior minister, said Friday will be the war’s ‘hardest day’ as Russia armour pushes down from Chernihiv – to the north-east of the capital – and Ivankiv – to the north-west – in an attempt to encircle the city, where President Volodymyr Zelensky is still holed up.

The US warned tanks were fighting Ukrainian forces 20 miles from the city early Friday, before clashes were reported in a northern district of the capital just a few hours later.  

Once the city is surrounded, US intelligence believes the plan will be for Russian special forces to move in and seize an airport – likely Sikorsky or Boryspil – which would then be used to fly in a much larger force of up to 10,000 paratroopers who would assault the capital.

The job of the paratroopers would be to enter the city, find Zelensky, his ministers, and parliamentarians, before forcing them to sign a peace deal handing control of the country back to Russia or a Moscow-backed puppet regime – effectively ending the war without Putin’s ground forces going to the difficult and bloody trouble of seizing and occupying the whole country.

With Vladimir Putin’s invading army closing in on the capital of Kiev, the country’s Ministry of Defence today took to social media to urge its citizens to build the homemade petrol bombs. A military instructor teaches civilians to use Molotov cocktails during a training session earlier this month prior to the start of the conflict

It comes as US intelligence suggests Russian troops will arrive in Kyiv today and are now fighting in the outskirts of the city. Pictured: A building damaged following a rocket attack the city of Kyiv, Ukraine

In a post from the verified Twitter page of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, it said: ‘In Obolon… We ask citizens to inform about the movement of equipment! ‘Make Molotov cocktails, neutralise the occupier! Peaceful residents – be careful! Do not leave the house!’

It appears the Russians almost pulled off the plan on Day 1 of the invasion when 20 attack helicopters landed a crack team of troops at Antonov Airport, 15 miles to the north of Kyiv, where they spent the day fighting. 

Russia ‘intends to take the whole of Ukraine’ but FAILED its key objectives on Day 1 of war, UK defence secretary says 

Russia intends to take the whole of Ukraine but failed to deliver it main objectives on the first day of President Vladimir Putin’s invasion, British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said. 

‘It’s definitely our view that the Russians intend to invade the whole of Ukraine,’ Wallace told Sky. 

‘I certainly think he has gone full tonto,’ he added, suggesting the Russian leader may have lost his mind. ‘No-one else in their right mind would do what we are seeing on our telly screens today.’ 

Wallace said the Russian army had failed to deliver any of its key objectives, directly contradicting the Russian defence ministry which said it had achieved all of its main aims on the first day of the military operation.

‘Contrary to great Russian claims, and indeed President Putin’s sort of vision that somehow the Ukrainians would be liberated and would be flocking to his cause, he’s got that completely wrong, and the Russian army has failed to deliver, on day one, its main objective,’ Wallace said.

Russia, Wallace said, had lost more than 450 personnel so far. Ukraine put the figure closer to 800. Neither number has been independently verified.

After Britain unveiled its toughest sanctions yet on Russia, Wallace said London was pushing reluctant allies to cut off Russia from the SWIFT global interbank payments system.

‘We would like to go further, we’d like to do the SWIFT system,’ he said. ‘If not every country wants them to be thrown out of the SWIFT system, it becomes difficult.’

British Airways owner IAG is now avoiding Russian airspace for overflights and cancelled its flight to Moscow on Friday after Prime Minister Boris Johnson banned Russia’s flagship airline Aeroflot from Britain, CEO Luis Gallego said.

Britain has prohibited all scheduled Russian airlines from entering British airspace.


But Ukrainian national guard units managed to retake the landing strip overnight, scattering the surviving Russian attackers into the surrounding countryside.

The Russian attack on the capital would likely be coordinated with a push by troops on southern and eastern fronts – Crimea and Donbass – aimed at pinning down Ukrainian armed forces so they cannot retreat and reinforce the city, officials told author Michael Weiss.

It may also be accompanied by bombing raids and sabotage attacks on power grids and infrastructure to sow panic and force people to flee, snarling up roads and making it difficult for forces already in Kyiv to move around.

The plan appeared to be underway in the early hours, as explosions sounded before dawn with the city under bombardment from what the defense minister called ‘horrific rocket strikes’ not seen since 1941.

Ukraine’s armed forces claimed to have shot down a Russian jet over the outskirts of the city, with flaming wreckage seen falling from the sky, as Zelensky gave a national address, saying Russia has identified him as ‘target number 1’ of the invasion but he and his family were remaining in the city.

He said invading Russian forces are targeting civilian areas, praising his countrymen for their ‘heroism’ and assuring them that the armed forces are doing ‘everything possible’ to protect them.

‘They say that civilian objects are not a target for them. But this is another lie of theirs. In reality, they do not distinguish between areas in which they operate,’ Zelensky said in a video.

‘Ukrainian air defence systems are defending our skies,’ he said. ‘Ukrainians are demonstrating heroism’. ‘All our forces are doing everything possible’ to protect people, he added.

The Ukrainian leader called on people to show ‘solidarity’ and help the elderly find shelter and ‘access to real information.’ Zelensky also said that Russia will have to eventually talk to Kyiv to end their war.

‘Russia will have to talk to us sooner or later. Talk about how to end the fighting and stop this invasion. The sooner the conversation begins, the less losses there will be for Russia itself,’ he said.

Switching into Russian in his address, Zelensky acknowledged Russian street protests against Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine that ended with mass arrests Thursday.

‘To the citizens of the Russian Federation that are coming out to protest, we see you. And this means that you have heard us. This means that you believe us. Fight for us. Fight against war.’

Russian police detained more than 1,700 people at anti-war protests across dozens of cities Thursday night.

Zelensky said the government had information that ‘subversive groups’ were encroaching on the city, and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Kyiv ‘could well be under siege’ in what U.S. officials believe is a brazen attempt by Putin to dismantle the government and install his own regime.

Ukrainians are seen hiding in a Kyiv bomb shelter equipped with AK-47 rifles as Russian troops move into the outskirts

Flaming wreckage is seen falling from the skies over Kyiv, as Ukraine claimed to have shot down a Russian fighter jet

Ben Wallace today said the UK believes Vladimir Putin intends to seize control of all of Ukraine as the Defence Secretary jibed that Russia’s attack has not gone to plan. 

Mr Wallace said it is ‘definitely our view that the Russians intend to invade the whole of Ukraine’ but he claimed Moscow is ‘behind its hopeful timetable’ after encountering fierce resistance. 

The Cabinet minister said Russia has already ‘lost over 450 personnel’ and it has ‘not taken any of its major objectives’, leaving Mr Putin behind schedule.

His comments came after Boris Johnson spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky this morning, as the Prime Minister committed to ‘provide further UK support to Ukraine in the coming days’. 

Downing Street said Mr Johnson had told President Zelensky that ‘the world is united in its horror at what Putin his doing’. 

Mr Johnson last night held an emergency Cabinet meeting to update ministers on the crisis, telling his senior team that the invasion represented a ‘dark day in the history of our continent’. 

The premier said the Russian President’s ‘cynical and brutal’ attack on Ukraine ‘must fail’. 

Fresh strikes hit Kiev overnight amid warnings Russian forces are closing in on the capital.   

The Ukrainian foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said in a tweet just before 4am that ‘horrific rocket strikes’ hit Kiev in an attack he compared to the city’s 1941 shelling by Nazi Germany.

‘Last time our capital experienced anything like this was in 1941 when it was attacked by Nazi Germany,’ he said.

‘Ukraine defeated that evil and will defeat this one. Stop Putin. Isolate Russia. Sever all ties. Kick Russia out of (everywhere).’

The leaders of the 30 NATO allies nations are due to meet today to determine the West’s next steps against the Kremlin. 


U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told lawmakers on a phone call that Russian mechanized forces that entered from Belarus were about 20 miles from Kyiv, according to a person familiar with the call.

The assault, anticipated for weeks by the U.S. and Western allies and undertaken by Putin in the face of international condemnation and cascading sanctions, amounts to the largest ground war in Europe since World War II.

Russian missiles bombarded cities and military bases in the first day of the attack, and Ukraine officials said they had lost control of the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear power plant, scene of the world’s worst nuclear disaster. Civilians piled into trains and cars to flee.

As explosions sounded in Kyiv early Friday, guests of a hotel were directed to a makeshift basement shelter. Air raid sirens also went off.

‘Russia has embarked on a path of evil, but Ukraine is defending itself and won’t give up its freedom,’ Zelenskyy tweeted. His grasp on power increasingly tenuous, he called Thursday for even more severe sanctions than the ones imposed by Western allies and ordered a full military mobilization that would last 90 days.

Zelenskyy said in a video address that 137 ‘heroes,’ including 10 military officers, had been killed and 316 people wounded. The dead included border guards on the Zmiinyi Island in the Odesa region, which was taken over by Russians.

He concluded an emotional speech by saying that ‘the fate of the country depends fully on our army, security forces, all of our defenders.’ He also said the country had heard from Moscow that ‘they want to talk about Ukraine’s neutral status.’

Biden was to meet Friday morning with fellow leaders of NATO governments in what the White House described as an ‘extraordinary virtual summit’ to discuss Ukraine.

U.S. President Joe Biden announced new sanctions against Russia, saying Putin ‘chose this war’ and had exhibited a ‘sinister’ view of the world in which nations take what they want by force. Other nations also announced sanctions, or said they would shortly.

‘It was always about naked aggression, about Putin’s desire for empire by any means necessary – by bullying Russia’s neighbors through coercion and corruption, by changing borders by force, and, ultimately, by choosing a war without a cause,’ Biden said.

Blinken said in television interviews that he was convinced that Russia was intent on overthrowing the Ukrainian government, telling CBS that Putin wants to ‘reconstitute the Soviet empire’ and that Kyiv was already ‘under threat, and it could well be under siege.’

Fearing a Russian attack on the capital city, thousands of people went deep underground as night fell, jamming Kyiv’s subway stations.

At times it felt almost cheerful. Families ate dinner. Children played. Adults chatted. People brought sleeping bags or dogs or crossword puzzles – anything to alleviate the waiting and the long night ahead.

But the exhaustion was clear on many faces. And the worries.

‘Nobody believed that this war would start and that they would take Kyiv directly,’ said Anton Mironov, waiting out the night in one of the old Soviet metro stations. ‘I feel mostly fatigue. None of it feels real.’

The invasion began early Thursday with a series of missile strikes, many on key government and military installations, quickly followed by a three-pronged ground assault. Ukrainian and U.S. officials said Russian forces were attacking from the east toward Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city; from the southern region of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014; and from Belarus to the north.

The Ukrainian military on Friday reported significant fighting in the area of Ivankiv, about 60 kilometers (40 miles) northwest of Kyiv, as Russian forces apparently tried to advance on the capital from the north. It said one bridge across a small river had been destroyed.

‘The hardest day will be today. The enemy’s plan is to break through with tank columns from the side of Ivankiv and Chernihiv to Kyiv. Russian tanks burn perfectly when hit by our ATGMs (anti-tank guided missiles),’ Interior Ministry adviser Anton Gerashchenko said on Telegram.

Zelenskyy, who had earlier cut diplomatic ties with Moscow and declared martial law, appealed to global leaders, saying that ‘if you don’t help us now, if you fail to offer a powerful assistance to Ukraine, tomorrow the war will knock on your door.’

Though Biden said he had no plans to speak with Putin, the Russian leader did have what the Kremlin described as a ‘serious and frank exchange’ with French President Emmanuel Macron.

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