Volodymyr Zelenskyy says 97 Ukrainian children killed in war as Russian troops edge closer to Kyiv

ITV News Europe Editor James Mates reports on the latest developments in Ukraine, as Moscow's forces inch closer to Kyiv by striking it with further attacks

Russia's invasion has killed 97 Ukrainian children, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has revealed in fresh calls for a no-fly zone, as Moscow's forces edge closer to the heart of the country - the capital.

Kyiv will be under a citywide curfew on Tuesday night after being struck by further Russian attacks as invading forces continue to edge closer. From 8pm on Tuesday to 7am on Thursday, residents can only leave their homes to travel to bomb shelters.

Russian forces pounded Ukrainian cities early on Tuesday morning, striking a residential building in the capital, killing four people and injuring others.

Firefighters attempt to put out a fire in a Kyiv residential block

It was not a military target and the attack was closer to the centre of Kyiv than any artillery strike in the war so far, suggesting Russian troops are advancing further.

On Tuesday, a top Ukrainian negotiator said he saw possible room for compromise in talks with Russia.

Presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak described the latest round of talks with the Russians, held via videoconference, as “very difficult and viscous" and said there were “fundamental contradictions” between the two sides - but added that “there is certainly room for compromise.” He said the talks will continue Wednesday.

Another aide to President Zelenskyy, Ihor Zhovkva, struck a more optimistic note, saying that the negotiations had become “more constructive” and that Russia had softened its stance by no longer airing its demands that Ukraine surrender.

President Zelenskyy earlier addressed European leaders by video link and made it clear that Ukraine now accepts that it will never be able to join NATO, adding: "It's the truth and its necessary to admit it."

Ruling out NATO membership could be a significant concession to Moscow to halt the attacks.

Why relinquishing the push for a NATO membership could appease Russia - Europe Editor James Mates explains:

In an emotional address to Canadian Parliament on Tuesday, the defiant Ukrainian president also asked Canadians to imagine bombs landing in their communities as he urged lawmakers to exert greater economic and military pressure on Russia.

Directly appealing to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Mr Zeleanskyy said: “Justin, can you imagine you and your children hearing all these severe explosions, the bombing of the airport, the bombing of the Ottawa airport?

“Cruise missiles are falling down and your children are asking you ‘what happened?’”

“You heard about the bombings. Currently we have 97 children that died during this war," he told a packed Parliament chamber via video link as he reiterated urgent calls for a no-fly zone.

Canadian Members of Parliament and guests applaud President Zelenskyy after an emotional yet defiant speech Credit: AP

The fast-moving developments on the diplomatic front and on the ground came on the 20th day of Russia's invasion, as the number of Ukrainians fleeing the country amid Europe's heaviest fighting since World War II eclipsed 3 million.Shortly before dawn, large explosions thundered across Kyiv. A series of Russian strikes hit a residential neighbourhood in the capital, igniting a huge fire and a frantic rescue effort in a 15-storey apartment building.

Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said four people died following the strike. Officials said the death toll is only low - given the strength of the attack - because many have fled the city and others are hiding in bunkers.

"Today is a difficult and dangerous moment," said Mayor Klitschko, who was on the scene.

"The capital is the heart of Ukraine, and it will be defended."

A firefighter outside of a burning Kyiv apartment

In response to the attacks, the Ukrainian military is stepping up security across the capital as the city entered a 36-hour curfew on Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, patients and doctors in a Mariupol hospital are being held "like hostages" by Russian soldiers, a regional governor has said as he appealed for help from outside Ukraine.

Pavlo Kyrylenko, the head of the Ukrainian military administration in the Donetsk region, appealed to international human rights organisations to respond to what he called "crimes against humanity".

"It's impossible to get out of the hospital," Mr Kyrylenko wrote in a Telegram post. "They're shooting hard, we sit in the basement."

On a mission to show support and unity for Ukraine, the leaders of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia travelled to Kyiv to speak with President Zelenskyy on Tuesday.

“The aim of the visit is to express the European Union’s unequivocal support for Ukraine and its freedom and independence,” Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said in a tweet.

And in a rare glimmer of hope, officials in Ukraine said 2,000 civilian vehicles left the besieged city of Mariupol on an evacuation route on Tuesday. Some 20,000 people, almost half of the city's population, are understood to have fled in the past three weeks.

The Ukrainian president's office said nine humanitarian corridors for "the evacuation of residents of settlements affected by the Russian invasion" had opened on Tuesday.

People retrieve belongings from an apartment in a block which was destroyed by an artillery strike in Kyiv,

Late on Tuesday night, a fourth round of talks, held via video, between Russia and Ukraine were paused, due to resume on Wednesday morning.

The Ukrainian delegation said Russia seemed to adopt a more constructive tone in the latest round of talks aimed at halting fighting.

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