Tracers are seen in the night sky as Ukrainian servicemen fire on the drone in Kyiv, Ukraine. Reuters
Gulf Today Report
At least three powerful explosions were heard in the centre of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv Tuesday morning, although the cause was not immediately known.
An AFP journalist also saw a column of smoke rising in the distance, but was unable to get there due to a night curfew which is in effect until 0500 GMT.
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Explosions are sometimes caused by air defence weaponry. There were no immediate statements from official sources.
Fighting has intensified in recent days around Kyiv, which is almost completely surrounded by Russian forces that invaded Ukraine on February 24.
A Ukrainian firefighter helps a man remove belongings from a destroyed building in Kyiv, Ukraine. AP
More than half of Kyiv's three million inhabitants have fled the city since the start of the Russian offensive.
Several deaths and injuries were reported on Monday after air strikes on different parts of the capital.
Fierce fighting has been going on for several days between Russian and Ukrainian forces on the northwest outskirts of Kyiv.
Earlier, a narrow diplomatic path stayed open as Ukraine and Russia planned another round of talks and Moscow’s forces pounded away at cities across the country, including the capital, in a bombardment that deepened the humanitarian crisis.
Shortly before dawn on Tuesday, large explosions thundered across Kyiv while Russia pressed its advance on multiple fronts.
A woman stands near a broken window in her apartment after a Russian bombing attack in Kyiv, Ukraine. AP
Elsewhere, a convoy of 160 civilian cars left the encircled port city of Mariupol along a designated humanitarian route, the city council reported, in a rare glimmer of hope a week and a half into the lethal siege that has pulverized homes and other buildings and left people desperate for food, water, heat and medicine.
The latest negotiations, held via video conference, were the fourth round involving higher-level officials from the two countries and the first in a week. The talks ended Monday without a breakthrough after several hours, with an aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy saying the negotiators took "a technical pause” and planned to meet again Tuesday.
The two sides had expressed some optimism in the past few days. Mykhailo Podolyak, the aide to Zelenskyy, tweeted that the negotiators would discuss "peace, cease-fire, immediate withdrawal of troops & security guarantees.”
Previous discussions, held in person in Belarus, produced no lasting humanitarian routes or agreements to end the fighting.
The country’s state railway company have since echoed the claim that a Russian airstrike hit an area near the station from which thousands are attempting to flee the conflict.
President Volodymyr Zelensky denounced Saturday's attack as "barbarism" that showed Moscow could not be trusted to implement a deal struck just one day earlier with Turkish and United Nations mediation.
Hours after the strikes, a Moscow-installed official in southern Ukraine said the Odesa and Mykolaiv regions would soon be "liberated” by Russian forces, just like the already occupied Kherson region further east.
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