At least two people were killed and three injured when a grenade hit a residential building in Kiev Monday morning, according to Ukrainian Interior Ministry adviser Anton Gerashchenko.
Shocking images of residential properties have surfaced in Ukraine capital is being shelled since the beginning of Russia invasion of Ukraine on February 24, but Monday’s deaths are believed to be the first confirmed as a result of bombs hitting apartment blocks.
It happens while Russian troops have closed in on Kiev, where Britain’s defense ministry said last week that Russian land forces were gathered 25km from the center of the capital.
The cities of Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Sumy and the main Black Sea port of Mariupol remained under siege under heavy Russian shelling, the Defense Ministry said.
According to Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister, several thousand people were evacuated from Kiev on Sunday, while city authorities have said they have set aside a two-week reserve of essential foods in the event of a blockade.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned Russian forces that they are facing a battle to the death if they try to occupy the capital Kiev when airstrikes once again woke residents Sunday morning.
“If they decide to carpet bomb and simply erase the history of this region … and destroy us all, then they will go into Kiev. If that’s their goal, let them in, but they’ll have to stay. on this earth alone, ”Mr Zelensky said on Saturday.
The president, who has repeatedly appeared on social media from the capital, said some small towns no longer existed in the third week of Russian attacks, the largest attack on a European country since World War II.
Russian shelling has captured thousands of people in besieged cities and sent 2.5 million Ukrainians on the run to neighboring countries.
Ukraine on Saturday accused Russian forces of killing seven civilians in an attack on women and children trying to flee fighting near Kiev. France said Russian President Vladimir Putin had shown no willingness to make peace.
The Ukrainian intelligence service said the seven, including a child, were killed as they fled the village of Peremoha and that “the occupiers forced the remnants of the column to return,” Reuters reported.
The report has not been confirmed and Russia has not commented.
Moscow denies having attacked civilians since the invasion of Ukraine. It blames Ukraine for unsuccessful attempts to evacuate civilians from besieged cities, an accusation Ukraine and its Western allies vehemently reject.
Zelensky said Moscow sent in new troops after Ukrainian forces put 31 of Russia’s tactical battalion groups out of action in what he called Russia’s biggest heart loss in decades. Reuters could not confirm his statements.
“We still need to hold on. We still have to fight,” Zelensky said in a video address late Saturday, his second day of the day, saying some 1,300 Ukrainian troops had been killed and called on the West to become more involved. peace talks.
The United States has said it will rush up to $ 200 million in additional small arms, anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to Ukraine, where officials have called for more military assistance.
The Kremlin describes its actions as a “special operation” to disarm Ukraine and depose leaders, as it calls neo-Nazis. Ukraine and Western allies call this an unfounded pretext for a war that has raised fears of a broader conflict in Europe.
Zelensky discussed the war with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron, who called on Mr Putin to order an immediate ceasefire.
A Kremlin statement on their 75-minute call did not mention a ceasefire. A French presidency official said: “We did not discover Putin’s willingness to end the war.”
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov accused the United States of escalating tensions, saying the situation had been complicated by convoys of Western arms shipments to Ukraine, which Russian forces considered “legitimate targets”, in comments reported by Russian news agency Tass.
Crisis talks between Moscow and Kiev continue via video link, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to the Russian news agency RIA. He gave no details, but Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Kyiv would not surrender or accept any ultimatum.