Russian aircraft shot down in fireball over Kyiv as Putin launches fresh blitz on Ukraine's capital

Russian aircraft shot down in fireball over Kyiv as Putin launches fresh blitz on Ukraine's capital

EXPLOSIONS have been heard in Ukraine's capital Kyiv, amid fears Russian troops have now broken through into the city.

Blasts were heard across the city of 2.9m people, with video showing the night sky lit up by Russian attacks.

Ukraine's Interior Ministry claims a Russian aircraft was shot down over the city.

"According to operative information, the enemy aircraft was shot down by the Ukrainian Air Defence Forces and crashed in Darnytskyi district," adviser Anton Gerashchenko said.

He also shared a series of photos of a nine-storey block of flats on fire to his Telegram account.

"Attacks on Kyiv by cruise or ballistic missiles have just continued," he wrote.

"I heard two powerful explosions just now."

Multiple reports claimed Russian forces were due to reach Kyiv by 3am local time (1am GMT).

The skies above the city were calm for a while but, just after 4.20am local time (2.20am GMT), loud blasts were heard.

Unconfirmed reports claim Kyiv's air defence system was engaged, intercepting Russian missiles over the city.

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Journalist Neil Hauer shared a video he claimed showed a Russian jet being shot down over Kyiv.

Eastern European news source Nexta posted a picture on Twitter showing the aftermath of wreckage falling on a residential area of the city.

Darnytskyi is a large district in the southeast of Kyiv, between the city centre and Boryspil International Airport.

The Guardian's Luke Harding also shared a photo of the aftermath of an explosion in Kyiv.

He said that the last took place between Poznjaky and Kharkivska.

It comes shortly after Ukrainian forces appeared to have secured a major victory with the successful recapture of Kyiv's Antonov airport, 20 miles northwest of the city.

US officials say they fear the city will fall in the next four days and the government of President Voldymyr Zelenskyy will be toppled within a week.

President Zelenskyy earlier announced 137 people had died in the first day of fierce fighting as he vowed to stay in his country until the bitter end.

Attacks on Kyiv by cruise or ballistic missiles have just continued

"They're killing people and turning peaceful cities into military targets," he said.

"It's foul and will never be forgiven."

He also accused the West of abandoning his country and leaving them to fight Vladimir Putin "alone".

"The enemy marked me as target No 1, and my family as target No 2… I am staying in Kyiv," he said.

Earlier, Zelenskyy signed a new decree on general mobilisation, as Ukraine's border guard banned men aged 18 to 60 from leaving the country under martial law.

Earlier on Thursday, Russian troops took control of the former nuclear power plant at Chernobyl, sparking fears of a potentially deadly radiation leak.

On Thursday, a former senior US intelligence official told Newsweek: "After the air and artillery end and the ground war really starts, I think Kyiv falls in just a few days.

"The military may last slightly longer but this isn't going to last long."

A source close to the Ukrainian government said they agreed the capital would be surrounded within the next four days, but claimed the government would not collapse.

Some 10,000 assault rifles have been given to civilians in Kyiv in a bid to fight off the invaders, the Interior Ministry said.

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