Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on the European Union (EU) to grant Ukraine membership into the bloc.

"It is a crucial moment to close the long-standing discussion once and for all and decide on Ukraine's membership in the EU," Zelensky wrote on Twitter on Saturday.

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin authorised a "special military operation" in Ukraine, Xinhua news agency reported.

Ukrainian Health Minister Viktor Liashko said 198 Ukrainians, including three children have been killed.