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LVIV, (Ukraine): Three European prime ministers headed to Kyiv by train on Tuesday in a show of solidarity with Ukraine even as Russian air strikes and shelling hit the capital and invading forces tightened their grip.

At least five people were killed in the renewed bombardments on Kyiv on the 20th day of the Russian assault, authorities said. Buildings were set ablaze and people buried under the rubble.

In the besieged port city of Mariupol, about 2,000 cars managed to leave, ferrying civilians to safer areas, and a further 2,000 were waiting to follow, the city council said.

But a convoy with supplies for Mariupol, whose residents have been sheltering from repeated Russian bombardments and are desperate for food and water, was stuck at nearby Berdyansk, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.

She accused Russia of lying about fulfilling agreements to help trapped civilians.

Peace talks between Russian and Ukrainian delegations via a video link resumed on Tuesday. Ukrainian officials played up hopes the war could end sooner than expected, saying Moscow may be coming to terms with its failure to impose a new government on Kyiv by force.

In a hint of compromise, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Kyiv was prepared to accept security guarantees that stop short of its long-term objective of membership of the NATO alliance, which Moscow opposes.

WHERE HISTORY IS FORGED

The visit to Kyiv by the leaders of Poland, Slovenia and the Czech Republic was a symbol of Ukraine’s success so far in fending off an assault that Western countries believe was aimed at seizing the city weeks ago.

“It is our duty to be where history is forged. Because it’s not about us, but about the future of our children who deserve to live in a world free from tyranny,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said.

Czech and Polish officials said the mission was coordinated with the EU and agreed by its leaders at a summit last week. However, one official in Brussels said the trip posed serious security risks and could jeopardise negotiations.

About half of Kyiv’s 3.4 million population has fled and residents are spending nights sheltering in metro stations.

Two powerful explosions rocked Kyiv before dawn on Tuesday and tracer fire lit up the night sky. An apartment block was in flames after being struck by artillery.

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