VLADIMIR Putin has put Russia’s nuclear forces on alert as he is reportedly prepared to lose 50,000 troops to capture Ukraine.
The Russian tyrant is said to be “furious” that his forces have not been able to subdue the Ukrainians and blamed the West’s sanctions for the move.
In an address on state TV, Putin claimed aggressive statements by NATO leaders and economic sanctions against Moscow have forced his hand.
He said he has now ordered his military command to put Russia’s deterrence forces – a reference to units which include nuclear arms – on high alert.
He said “not only do Western countries take unfriendly measures” such as “illegal sanctions” but “top officials of leading NATO countries allow themselves to make aggressive statements with regards to our country”.
“I order to move Russia’s deterrence forces to a special regime of duty,” Putin said.
With Russian forces faltering, worrying new evidence has emerged about how much blood Putin is willing to shed in his quest to conquer Ukraine.
Intelligence chiefs have said he is willing for 50,000 of his troops to be sacrificed in the war, the Mirror reports.
The grim prediction comes as the Russian Ministry of Health is preparing for a massive medical emergency.
Officials are looking for doctors with a number of specialisms from across Russia to come forward, according to ITN.
Medical organisations should be be ready “to be promptly involved in activities aimed at saving lives and preserving the health of people in Russia”, the ministry has urged.
In a speech marking the annual day of Special Operations Forces, Putin put on a brave face.
He said there should be “special gratitude to those heroically carrying out their military duty these days in the course of the special operation to provide assistance to the people’s republics of Donbas”.
The Russian leader was referring to the two Russian-speaking breakaway enclaves in Ukraine he has recognised as independent countries.
Delegations from the two countries will meet on the border with Belarus, he said.
Shells rained down across Ukraine following the invasion in the early hours of Thursday – as the battle for the capital, Kyiv, stretched into a fourth day.
The city awoke to more air raid sirens after missile attacks that turned the sky orange during what Zelenskyy said was a “brutal” night.
In another setback for Putin, a convoy of Russian special forces made up of Chechen fighters has been destroyed.
The Chechen soldiers are known as “hunters” and each of them was reportedly given a pack of cards with senior Ukrainian officials that Moscow wants dead.
The special forces were pictured training in a Ukrainian forest as they took part in Islamic prayer rituals ahead of their deployment to the frontline.
As his forces encounter stiff resistance from Ukrainians defending their homeland, the Kremlin strongman must be “furious” about the lack of progress, a former Nato defence chief has said.
He said Ukrainian intelligence believes the Russians don’t have a “tactical plan” to deal with an enemy that is fighting back.
“The Russians are in shock of the fierce resistance they have encountered,” Terras said.
Mr Zelenksyy Russian troops are “attacking everything” – including ambulances – and areas where there are no military bases.
Missiles kit Kyiv’s main airport, Boryspil International and an oil depot was also blown up at at Vasylkiv, around 25m west of Kyiv.
Residents have been warned the burning depot was emitting smoke and poisonous fumes and were told to keep their windows shut and to take cover.
Russian missiles also hit a nuclear waste disposal site on the outskirts of Kyiv, the Ukrainian State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine has confirmed.
There were widespread fears that the Russian army would step up its efforts to seize Kyiv this weekend, targeting commercial businesses in a bid to destroy Ukrainians’ morale.
A city-wide curfew is being enforced in the capital while authorities hunt down “sabotage and reconnaissance groups,” Kyiv’s mayor said.
As midnight struck in the war-torn country, civilians and troops were urged to hunker down ahead of the “imminent” attack.
It comes after a day of fighting during which Russian troops failed to capture the capital.
The official Ukraine death toll stands at 198, including three children.
And at least 17 of those were civilians, killed in a blast.
The Ukrainian Government has insisted the Russians are failing to advance with some 3,500 killed.
The MoD confirmed that Russian troops had been injured and captured by Ukrainian forces.
And Putin has reportedly banned some social media from the country, in a “probable” attempt to hide the horrific details of the Russian invasion from his own people.
Prime ministerial adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said: “We are striking the enemy around Kyiv. The enemy is not moving for now.”