An airstrike on a residential building in Ukraine’s capital on Monday killed at least one person, the country’s emergency service said, as Moscow maintained its devastating assault ahead of a fresh round of talks.
It was gathered that the strike, which injured at least a dozen people, came as Russian troops bordered closer to the city and kept up their siege of the southern port city of Mariupol, where officials said nearly 2,200 people have been killed.
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According to AFP as at 7:40 am (0540 GMT) the body of one person was found dead in a nine-storey apartment building in the capital’s Obolon district, the emergency service said in a statement, revising an earlier toll.
Reports say Ukrainian and Russian representatives were set to meet via videoconference Monday, a Ukrainian presidential adviser and a Kremlin spokesman both said before the latest strike.
According to Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamia, the talks would begin at 0820 GMT.
“And our goal is that in this struggle, in this difficult negotiating work, Ukraine will get the necessary result… for peace and security”, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Monday, adding that both sides speak every day.
In his words, his aim was “to do everything to ensure a meeting of presidents. A meeting that I am sure people are waiting for”.
“We see significant progress,” Leonid Slutsky, a senior member of Russia’s negotiating team, told state-run television network RT Sunday.
Talks between Kyiv and Moscow have yet to yield a ceasefire and Russian forces have shown no sign of easing their onslaught.
In an attack dangerously close to NATO member Poland, Russian airstrikes Sunday on a Ukrainian military training ground near the border killed at least 35 people and wounded more than 130.
On Monday, Zelensky renewed his call for NATO to impose a no-fly zone following the attack near the western city of Lviv.
“If you do not close our sky, it is only a matter of time before Russian missiles fall on your territory, on NATO territory, on the homes of NATO citizens”, Zelensky said in a video address.
Washington and its EU allies have sent funds and military aid to Ukraine and imposed unprecedented economic sanctions on Russia.
But the United States has ruled out any direct intervention, with President Joe Biden warning that NATO fighting Russia “is World War III”.
In its intelligence update Sunday, Britain’s defence ministry said Russia had established a naval blockade on the Black Sea coast, “effectively isolating Ukraine from international maritime trade”.
“Russian naval forces are also continuing to conduct missile strikes against targets throughout Ukraine”, it said.
But in a sign Moscow may have underestimated the challenge it would face, US officials told media Russia had asked China for military and economic aid for the war.
Moscow also asked Beijing for economic assistance against the crippling sanctions imposed against it, the New York Times said, citing anonymous officials.
Russia’s finance ministry in a statement on Monday accused foreign countries of wanting to force Moscow into an “artificial default” through sanctions.