UPDATED: Blasts heard in Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv

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Dec 14 (Reuters) – Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said that air-defence systems shot down 10 Iranian-made Shahed drones early on Wednesday.

Reuters was not able to independently verify the information.

Explosions were heard in the early hours of Wednesday in the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv, two Reuters witnesses said.

There was no immediate official confirmation of the blasts, The emergency services’ maps showed the capital and the region surrounding it have been under air raid siren alerts for about 20 minutes before the blasts.

Oleksiy Kuleba, the governor of the Kyiv’s region, said that air defence systems were at work.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said that blasts hit the city’s central Shevchenkivskyi district early on Wednesday.

“Emergency services dispatched,” Klitschko said on the Telegram messaging app. “Details later”.

In Other Developments:


* An announcement on U.S. plans to provide the Patriot missile defence system to Ukraine could be made as soon as this week, three U.S. officials told Reuters on Tuesday.

* In Paris, about 70 countries and institutions pledged just over 1 billion euros ($1.05 billion) to help maintain Ukraine’s water, food, energy, health and transportation in face of Russia’s attacks, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said.

* They also promised energy-efficient LED bulbs to ease power shortfalls and help Ukraine get through freezing winter months as Russia pounds the country’s infrastructure.

* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said environmental harm from Russia’s war would affect millions of people for years.

* Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping will hold talks to discuss the events of 2022 in late December, the Russian business daily Vedomosti reported.

* Arms supplies from Italy to Ukraine would stop as soon as peace talks on ending the Russian invasion began, the Italian defence minister told parliament, as lawmakers endorsed a government decision to extend military aid throughout 2023.

* Russia dismissed a peace proposal from Zelenskiy that would involve a pullout of Russian troops, saying Kyiv needed to accept new territorial “realities”.

* Eight ships loaded with grain had left ports in Ukraine’s Odesa region after a pause caused by power cuts following Russian missile strikes, Kyiv’s infrastructure ministry said.


* Russia and Ukraine pounded each other’s forces in heavy fighting around the small eastern city of Bakhmut.

* Ukrainians leaving Bakhmut this week described almost constant Russian shelling that had forced residents to shelter in basements and sleep in the bitter cold.

* Reuters could not independently verify reports of attacks or deaths by either side.

* Russia’s close ally Belarus announced a snap military inspection including increased combat readiness in the south of the country, the latest in a burst of exercises that have prompted concern from neighbouring Ukraine.

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