Gunshots, explosions rock streets of Ukraine capital | USA TODAY

Ukraine officials asked residents to seek shelter.

ELATED: How the conflict could affect the US economy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday pressed the world to help his country beat back a Russian invasion, even as those forces attacked Kyiv from various directions in an effort to take the capital.

Zelenskyy tweeted that he had started “a new day on the diplomatic frontline” by talking to French President Emmanuel Macron. In a second tweet, Zelenskyy called the present “a crucial moment to close the long-standing discussion once and for all and decide on Ukraine’s membership in the #EU,” or European Union.

But despite international condemnation of Russia’s strike against its smaller neighbor, Russia carried out airstrikes on cities and military bases in the predawn hours. The violence prompted thousands of Ukrainians to flee their homes, looking for safety in nearby countries.

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