A 35-HOUR curfew will come into force in Kyiv tonight sparking fears that Russia is going to step up its assault on the capital.
It comes after Russian shelling struck a number of buildings and killed at least two people overnight. The curfew will be imposed from 8 pm local time (6pm GMT) on Tuesday.
Residents in Ukraine’s capital will be banned from travelling around Kyiv while the curfew is in place.
Kyiv Mayor and former boxer Vitali Klitschko said: “Today is a difficult and dangerous moment.
“The capital is the heart of Ukraine, and it will be defended. Kyiv, which is currently the symbol and forward operating base of Europe’s freedom and security, will not be given up by us.”
Kyiv has so far been spared from the worst of the fighting since Russia’s invasion began 20 days ago.
But Russian troops are closing in on the capital and attacks have escalated.
On Tuesday, two large blasts were heard in the city.
At least two apartment blocks in Kyiv, including a 10-storey residential building, were set ablaze following a Russian missile strike.
“What is happening right now in Kharkiv, in Mariupol and other cities – it was understandable that sooner or later it would happen in Kyiv,” local resident Igor Krupa told the news agency.
Mr Krupa said he managed to escape the blast uninjured as he used furniture to shelter himself in his home.
“This actually saved me because all the windows went out and all the debris went into the apartment, and I remained unwounded. Just a couple of scratches,” he said.
Almost 3 million people have fled Ukraine since the war began but many civilians remain by force or choice.
While shelling across the country is ongoing, US intelligence has reported Russian advances across Ukraine “remain stalled”.
Russian forces moving towards Kyiv have not appreciably progressed over the weekend, the US official told reporters during a background briefing on Monday.
The official said Russian troops had not made further advances on the town of Mykolaiv, from where their forces could move on to Odesa or Kyiv, CNN reported.
The latest attacks on Kyiv come as delegates from Ukraine and Russia prepare for another round of peace talks.
The discussions have so far ended without a major breakthrough and both sides have expressed reservations about any potential resolutions made through the talks.
“The work is difficult and in the current situation the very fact that they are continuing is probably positive,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday.
He added: “We don’t want to make predictions. We await results.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has again urged Russian soldiers to retreat, said the negotiations with the Russians on Monday were “pretty good, as I was told. But let’s see”. Newsnow.co.uk
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