Deadly explosions shake kyiv as talks with Russia resume
A series of powerful explosions rocked residential areas of kyiv on Tuesday morning, killing two people, just hours before talks between Ukraine and Russia resumed.
At least three large explosions were heard from the center of the capital, sending columns of smoke high into the sky.
By dawn, the damage became clear, with one hit hitting a tall 16-story building.
There, a fire raged and smoke billowed from the building’s charred shell, as emergency services and stunned residents navigated an obstacle course of glass, metal and other debris strewn on the road.
“The bodies of two people were found, 27 people were rescued,” the Ukrainian emergency service said.
Another residential building in the Podilsk region was also attacked.
Ukrainian MP Lesia Vasylenko posted a photo of a fire crew putting out a smoldering fire there – the building’s facade turned into a mess of bent and tangled window frames and precariously dangling air conditioning units.
Vasylenko said the neighborhood was “a place to have a coffee and enjoy life. Not anymore. Explosive hit just 30 minutes ago.”
Hours earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — wearing his now-iconic military green crewneck — released a new video address sounding a note of cautious optimism about the ongoing peace talks.
He claimed that Russia was beginning to realize that victory would not come on the battlefield.
“They have already started to understand that they will not get anything through war,” Zelensky said.
“Pretty good, as I was told,” he said of Monday’s first day of talks. “But let’s see. They will continue tomorrow.”
The two sides are still far apart in negotiations, with Moscow demanding that Ukraine turn away from the West and recognize Moscow-backed breakaway regions.
Ukrainian negotiators say they want “peace, an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian troops”.
Almost three weeks after large columns of Russian forces crossed the border, forces from Moscow shelled and besieged several Ukrainian towns.
The capital Kyiv is surrounded to the north and east and almost half of its population of three million has fled. Only roads to the south remain open, city authorities have set up checkpoints and residents are stockpiling food and medicine.
The United Nations estimates that nearly 2.8 million people have fled Ukraine and that some 636 civilians have been killed, including dozens of children. The true toll is probably much higher.
Russia’s military progress has been slow and costly, with Moscow apparently underestimating the strength of Ukrainian resistance.
Many military experts believe the Russian military now needs time to regroup and resupply its troops, paving the way for a possible pause or slowdown in fighting.
Russian National Guard chief Viktor Zolotov reportedly admitted the operation was “not going as fast as we would like”, but said victory would come step by step.
Moscow reportedly turned to Beijing for military and economic aid – prompting what one US official described as several hours of “very candid” talks between senior US and Chinese officials.
On Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said his country did not want to be impacted by Western sanctions against Russia, as US pressure mounts on Beijing to withdraw support for Moscow.
“China is not a party to the crisis, much less wants to be affected by the sanctions,” Wang said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his forces ‘to refrain from any immediate assault on major cities’, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who cited ‘civilian casualties’ as a reason for blocking an attack .
He added, however, that the Ministry of Defense “is not ruling out” the possibility of bringing major cities “under its full control”.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s allies have piled pressure on Putin’s regime with unprecedented economic sanctions, and the Kremlin faces domestic pressure despite the war’s widespread censorship.
During Russia’s most-watched evening news program on Monday, a dissident employee walked into the studio holding up a poster saying “Stop the war. Don’t believe the propaganda.”
An opposition observer said the woman, editor-in-chief of the tightly controlled state broadcaster Channel One, was arrested over the highly unusual security breach.
Bombings in Kyiv
Across Ukraine, the Russian invasion continued to wreak havoc, destroying cities and ensuring that many lives will never be the same.
“They say he is too badly burned, that I won’t recognize him,” sobbed Lidiya Tikhovska, 83, looking at the spot where a paramedic said the body of her son Vitaliy lay after a missile strike in Kyiv.
“I wish Russia the same grief I feel now,” she said, tears streaming down her cheeks as she clung to her grandson’s elbow for support.
A Fox News correspondent – Britain’s Benjamin Hall – was injured and hospitalized while reporting on the outskirts of the city, the channel said, a day after an American reporter was shot dead in Irpin, a first-line suburb of Kyiv.
Meanwhile, Russian troops maintained their siege of southern Mariupol, where authorities said nearly 2,200 people had been killed.
In a ray of hope for residents of the beleaguered port city, more than 160 civilian cars were able to set off on Monday along a humanitarian evacuation route after several failed attempts.
Meanwhile, Moscow-backed separatists said fragments of a downed Ukrainian Tochka-U missile ripped through the center of the eastern city of Donetsk, killing 23 people.
Moscow called it a “war crime” and rebels released images of bloodied corpses strewn across the street.
But the Ukrainian army has denied firing a missile at the town, with Ukrainian army spokesman Leonid Matyukhin saying in a statement: “It is definitely a Russian rocket or other ammunition “.
“Third World War”
Ukrainian leader Zelensky on Monday renewed his call for NATO to impose a no-fly zone over his country – a day after at least 35 people were killed in Russian airstrikes near the border with Poland, a member of NATO.
“If you don’t shut down our skies, it’s only a matter of time before Russian missiles fall on your territory, on NATO territory, on the homes of NATO citizens,” he said. said Zelensky in a video address.
He is likely to repeat that call on Wednesday when he delivers a high-profile virtual address to both houses of the US Congress.
President Joe Biden and US NATO allies have consistently refused so far, arguing that any attempt to establish a no-fly zone would put them in direct conflict with nuclear-armed Russia.
Instead, Washington and its EU allies poured funds and military aid into Ukraine and imposed unprecedented economic sanctions on Russia.
In Biden’s words: NATO fighting Russia “is World War III.”
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has once again sounded the alarm about the dangers of a potential confrontation between atomic powers – a prospect “once unthinkable” but “now back within the realm of possibility” .
And he warned that the war already risked triggering a “collapse of the global food system” – with Ukraine and Russia being vital suppliers of wheat to dozens of the world’s least developed countries.