An massive explosion was seen In Kyiv on Tuesday afternoon, likely targeting the city's television tower, soon after Russian news agencies quoted the Defense Ministry in Moscow saying the military intends to strike sites in Kyiv belonging to Ukraine's security service and a special operations unit.
The strikes aim to prevent "information attacks" on Russia, the ministry said, urging those near the sites to leave the areas.
Earlier Russian TASS reported that the Defense Ministry in Moscow said the Ukraine military no longer had access to the Azov sea north of the Black Sea.
Moscow also claimed that the pro-Russian Ukrainian separatists had united with Russian troops in the Donetsk region after Russians advanced.
Amid Russia's vailed threats that the war with Ukraine may spread to other countries, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted as saying on Tuesday that the West must not build military facilities in any countries of the former Soviet Union.
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said his country was discussing with allies how to support its air defenses.
After Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he had asked German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Tuesday to help close the skies over Ukraine to halt the shelling of civilians by Russia.
"Everything they can help us with now - it's better to help now than find themselves eye to eye with (Russian President Vladimir) Putin later," Kuleba told an online news conference.
"No need to fear that NATO will find itself at war with Russia because of Ukraine. If Russia wins - you are next."
But NATO's Chief Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance would not send troops or combat jets to support Kyiv as it does not want to become part of the conflict.
"The Russian assault is totally unacceptable, and it is enabled by Belarus," Stoltenberg said on Tuesday after meeting Polish president Andrzej Duda.
"NATO is a defensive alliance, we do not seek conflict with Russia. Russia must immediately stop the war, pull all its forces from Ukraine and engage in good faith in diplomatic efforts," he added.
The IAEA was preparing a draft ahead of Wednesday's emergency meeting of the U.N. nuclear watchdog's 35-nation Board of Governors, strongly criticizing Russia's invasion of Ukraine already reporting majority support, diplomats said on Tuesday.
The board of the IAEA "condemns in the strongest terms the Russian Federation's aggression against Ukraine", the draft text reads but will its final wording was still being negotiated and could yet be watered down in order to gain more votes on the Board, diplomats said, adding that it had not yet been submitted.
First published: 17:24, 03.01.22