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Destruction Russian artillery strikes hit residential neighbourhood of Ukraine capital Kyiv

Meanwhile China has today denies claims that Russia sought military assistance in Ukraine and accused Washington of spreading "malicious disinformation"

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Firefighters work at an apartment building hit by shelling in Kyiv (Ukrainian State Emergency Service via AP)

Firefighters work at an apartment building hit by shelling in Kyiv (Ukrainian State Emergency Service via AP)

Firefighters work at an apartment building hit by shelling in Kyiv (Ukrainian State Emergency Service via AP)

China has today denies claims by US officials that Russia sought military assistance in Ukraine and accused Washington of spreading "malicious disinformation" that risked escalating the conflict.

"The US has repeatedly spread malicious disinformation against China on the Ukraine issue," the Chinese embassy in London told Reuters in a statement.

"China has been playing a constructive role in promoting peace talks," it added.

"The top priority now is to ease the situation, instead of adding fuel to the fire, and work for diplomatic settlement rather than further escalate the situation."

Several US officials said Russia had asked China for military equipment after its February 24 invasion of Ukraine, sparking concern in the White House that Beijing might undermine Western efforts to help Ukrainian forces defend their country.

A series of Russian strikes hit a residential neighborhood of Ukraine’s capital on Tuesday, igniting a huge fire and frantic rescue effort in a 15-storey Kyiv apartment building.

At least one person was killed and others remain trapped inside.

The Ukrainian military said in a statement that the strikes were artillery strikes.

They hit the Svyatoshynskyi district of western Kyiv, adjacent to the suburb of Irpin that has seen some of the worst battles of the war.

Flames shot out of the apartment building as firefighters rescued people from ladders. Smoke choked the air.

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A firefighter at the scene confirmed one person died and that several have been rescued alive but others are still inside as rescuers try to reach them.

Russian forces also stepped up strikes overnight on the northwest suburbs of Irpin, Hostomel and Bucha, the head of the Kyiv region Oleksiy Kuleba said on Ukrainian television.

Russian forces renewed efforts Tuesday to capture the important port city of Mariupol in the south, and unleashed new artillery strikes on downtown Kharkiv in the east, the general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces said on Facebook.

Japan’s government is freezing the assets of 17 more Russian politicians tycoons and their relatives to step up sanctions and pressure Moscow to end its invasion of Ukraine.

The list of sanction targets include 11 members of the Russian parliamentary chamber of Duma, banker Yuri Kovalchuk and his relatives, as well as billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, chairman of Renova Group, according to a statement jointly issued by the foreign, finance and trade ministries.

The move brings the number of Russians targeted by Japan’s asset freezes to 61.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters Tuesday the additional steps were taken "in order to stop Russia’s invasion (of Ukraine) as soon as possible.”

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People and medics help a wounded resident of a house destroyed by shelling as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine

People and medics help a wounded resident of a house destroyed by shelling as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine

People and medics help a wounded resident of a house destroyed by shelling as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine

 

Matsuno said Japan will cooperate with other Group of Seven nations and other international community to respond appropriately in case of further sanctions.

Japan has previously imposed sanctions against Russian central bank, seven private banks, and Russian and Belarusian individuals and groups. Tokyo also imposed an export ban to Russia of items including high technology equipment that may be used for military purposes.

And the United Nations chief warned Monday that Russia’s war on Ukraine is holding “a sword of Damocles” over the global economy, especially poor developing countries that face skyrocketing food, fuel and fertilizer prices and are now seeing their breadbasket “being bombed.”

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters that “Russia and Ukraine represent more than half of the world’s supply of sunflower oil and about 30 percent of the world’s wheat” and that “grain prices have already exceeded those at the start of the Arab Spring and the food riots of 2007-2008.”

He told reporters that 45 African and least developed countries import at least one-third of their wheat from Ukraine and Russia, and 18 of them import at least 50pc. These countries include Egypt, Congo, Burkina Faso, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, he said.

“All of this is hitting the poorest the hardest and planting the seeds for political instability and unrest around the globe,” said Guterres.

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