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Panicking Kiev residents yearn for early ceasefire, return to peace******
Air raid sirens wailing across Kiev are awakening residents in the Ukrainian capital to the bleak reality of an ongoing military operation that is dangerously close.
For the past three days, residents have been going on a nerve-wracking trip to-and-fro between bomb shelters, grocery stores and their apartments as fears of imminent danger are compounded by anxiety over food shortages and risks of COVID-19 infection.
Iryna, a 28-year-old local who only gave her first name, told a Xinhua correspondent that she was horrified at the sound of bombing and shelling during the day, and was planning to stay in her windowless bathroom overnight in case of further air strikes.
The city of some 3 million people, once a hub of bustling activities, has been plunged into chaos since Day One of Russia's military operation on Thursday.
According to the latest information released by the two sides, multiple military targets across Ukraine were under attack; fighting was reported across several fronts; explosions were heard at Boryspil International Airport and other places across the city.
Sleep has been a luxury for many locals who stayed up all night fearing that they might miss the sirens and end up alone in the danger zone.
Oksana, a 40-year-old manager, who also only gave her first name, said she was hiding in an underground parking area following a siren on Day One, and has kept her bag at the door ever since.
"Like all people in my country, I am scared. I do not understand when and how this will end. It has been only one day of the war, but it seems to me that it has been a month. I hope that all of this can somehow be stopped," Oksana said.
In downtown Kiev, the local bus system, subway, banks, supermarkets, pharmacies and hotels were still running normally. However, operations in private shops and bookstores had ground to a halt due to curfews and air raids.
Long lines snaked outside of gas stations, water stations, supermarkets and ATMs as people scrambled to withdraw money and stock up on supplies.
Anna, 37, who also only gave her first name, told Xinhua that sales in her cosmetics stores in Kiev had dropped by 40 percent in the past month due to heightened tensions.
Not planning to leave the city because her children are still in school, she hoped that life could return to normal as soon as possible.
As some of Kiev's residents rushed into nearby churches and subway stations in a desperate attempt to avoid artillery fire, others were reportedly seen leaving the city on foot along the highway, carrying children, pets and suitcases.
According to the UN refugee agency UNHCR, around 100,000 people had fled their homes within Ukraine and several thousand more had left the country since the conflict erupted.
Refugee High Commissioner Filippo Grandi had voiced serious concern over the rapid deterioration of the situation as military operations unfolded across Ukraine.
"I hope that the Ukrainian society and leaders will remain cool and devoted to the strategic interests of Ukraine," a Kiev resident said. "I would like to believe that we will have enough composure and wisdom to overcome this."
Analysis: Four things we learned in Spain's Matchday 10******
MADRID, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- Real Madrid beat FC Barcelona in the 'Clasico' in the Camp Nou Stadium, while Real Sociedad remain top of LaLiga after a thrilling 2-2 draw away to reigning champions Atletico Madrid. Here are some things we learned in LaLiga this weekend.
1. Clasico shows where Real Madrid and Barca are right now
Nobody who watched the game could argue with Real Madrid's win over a Barcelona team that was high on effort, but which struggled to create chances and lacked the tactical discipline to deal with their rival's attacks.
It was enough for Real Madrid to keep their shape in midfield and defense because they knew that sooner or later, Vinicius Jr or Karim Benzema would find the space to launch a counter-attack.
That is exactly what happened as Madrid exploited the room Barca left them and Carlo Ancelotti's men took the points without doing anything really special other than tactically being better than Barca and not making mistakes.
2. Ancelotti wins tactical battle with Koeman
The biggest worry for Barca fans is that Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti won the tactical battle with Ronald Koeman, by sending out a well-balanced side that had pace in attack. Ancelotti relied on the experience of Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro in midfield and they kept their shape throughout the game, forcing Barca to look to attack using the flanks.
Koeman made the mistake of using the solid but awkward Oscar Mingueza at right back where Vinicius Jr found space throughout the first half, while Sergino Dest, who dropped deep to replace Mingueza after the break offered less than Coutinho going forward. It was only when Kun Aguero came on late in the game that Barca had a focal point in attack.
Koeman must also worry about the form of midfielder Frenkie de Jong, who was poor all game.
3. Atletico and Real Sociedad serve up a thriller
Two and a half hours after the game between Barca and Real Madrid finished, Atletico and Real Sociedad served up 90 minutes of football that was probably higher in quality than the spectacle at the Camp Nou.
Real Sociedad showed why they are top of the table as Alexander Isak and Alexander Sorloth led a display of attacking football that tore Atletico to shreds, but once Joao Tomas set up Luis Suarez to pull a goal back in the 61st minute, Atletico were on the front foot and equalized with a Suarez penalty to set up a frantic last 15 minutes.
After watching the 'Clasico' it was the sort of match that makes you think that this year's title could also be destined for a side other than the 'big two.'
4. The VAR shows its worth
The VAR has been much criticized since it was brought into use, but this weekend showed that it can correct bad decisions.
In the first instance, the VAR called the referee's attention to Alberto Moreno's foul on Unai Vencedor (one nobody saw in the moment it happened) and the resulting penalty gave Athletic Club Bilbao a 2-1 win over Villarreal.
Villarreal coach Unai Emery wasn't happy about the decision, but there is no doubt that it was a foul and therefore a penalty.
The second decision saw the VAR advise that Mikel Merino had caught Luis Suarez with a late challenge in the Wanda Metropolitano and Suarez's spot-kick earned his side a point.
Sometimes the VAR is only discussed if there are mistakes, correct decisions also need highlighting. Enditem