Hundreds of shells fall on Kyiv suburb as Ukrainians blow up bridge to halt Russian tanks

ITV News Correspondent Dan Rivers reports on a major highway west of Kyiv, which has been destroyed by Ukrainian forces in an effort to halt Russian tanks.

A westerly route into Ukraine's capital has been blown up as Russian forces advance towards the city.

Amid heavy shelling of the nearby suburb of Irpin and intense firefights between Ukrainian and Russian troops, a temporary calm has fallen on a highway west of Kyiv.

Destroyed by Ukrainian forces in a bid to bring advancing Russian forces to a standstill, ITV correspondent Dan Rivers, who was at the scene, said "the battle for this road is not over."

As a main highway running west into the capital, Russian troops have been attempting to probe up the route and test defences.

ITV News has been told that on Wednesday night a two-hour battle involving between eight to 16 Russian forces, who had initially begun looting a petrol station near the now destroyed bridge, became engaged in a firefight with troops on the other side.

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Recently retaken by Ukrainian forces, major Kyiv suburb Irpin, has been hit by "several hundred artillery rounds each day" - even though officials in Moscow had promised to de-escalate attacks in the area.

The latest hostilities have the potential to undermined hopes of a resolution to end the war just before a new round of talks are scheduled to begin.

What is the situation elsewhere in Ukraine?

After the Russian military agreed to a limited cease-fire in the area, the Red Cross said its teams were travelling to Mariupol with relief and medical supplies and hoped to help pull civilians out of the beleaguered city on Friday.

Previous attempts at establishing a similar humanitarian corridor have fallen apart.

Russia’s Defense Ministry also reported new strikes on Ukrainian fuel stores late Wednesday, and Ukrainian officials said there were artillery barrages in and around the north-eastern city of Kharkiv over the past day.

Ukrainian troops in Kyiv. Credit: AP

Despite the fighting raging in those areas, the Russian military said it committed to a cease-fire along the route from Mariupol to the Ukraine-held city of Zaporizhzhia from Thursday morning.

Food, water and medical supplies have all run low during a weekslong blockade and bombardment of the city.

Civilians who have managed to leave have typically used private cars, but the number of drivable vehicles left in the city has also dwindled and fuel stocks are low.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, which is helping run the evacuation, said its teams have already left for Mariupol.

“It’s desperately important that this operation takes place,” the Red Cross said in a statement. “The lives of tens of thousands of people in Mariupol depend on it.”

Talks are scheduled to continue between the two nations.

Talks between Ukraine and Russia were set to resume Friday by video, according to the head of the Ukrainian delegation.

They come after six weeks of conflict that has seen thousands die and around 4 million Ukrainians flee the country.