People across Ukraine were told to take cover as air raid sirens sounded and explosions were reported in the capital.

At least 10 explosions were reported in Kyiv – with the city’s mayor Vitali Klitschko saying at least one person was killed and 20 injured.

He said via his Telegram account: “The buildings of two schools in the capital’s Solomyansk district, one in Pechersk, suffered damage to varying degrees. There is a kindergarten in the Solomyan district. It there are no casualties in these facilities.

“As a result of the Russian attack on civilian property in the capital, one person died, 20 were injured. 14 victims were hospitalized, six were treated by doctors on site.

More explosions were heard in the capital and the surrounding region after the first wave of Russian missile attacks, Reuters reported.

The reports come after a series of Russian missile strikes in recent days, with the most intense aerial bombardment of the war so far on Thursday, according to Ukrainian officials.

A presidential aide in the capital said a hotel was among the buildings damaged by the dam.

The governor of the surrounding Kyiv region had warned shortly in advance of a possible incoming missile attack and that the region’s air defenses were engaging targets.

Putin tries to justify the war to the Russians

The latest violence took place when Vladimir Putin used a New Year’s broadcast to Russians to reiterate that their country was fighting in Ukraine to protect its “homeland” and ensure the “true independence” of its people.

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‘The West lied about peace,’ Vladimir Putin said in his New Year’s message

In a nine-minute message – the longest New Year’s speech in his two-decade reign – the Russian president accused the West of lying and pushing Moscow to launch what he calls a ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine.

“For years, Western elites have hypocritically assured us of their peaceful intentions,” he said.

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“In fact, in every possible way, they were encouraging neo-Nazis who were carrying out open terrorism against civilians in the Donbass.”

He added: “The West lied about peace. They were preparing for aggression…and now they are cynically using Ukraine and its people to weaken and divide Russia.

“We have never allowed this and will never allow anyone to do this to us,” Putin was quoted as saying by state news agencies.

The West and Ukraine have rejected Moscow’s claims about the start of the conflict and say Mr Putin launched a baseless war of aggression in an effort to seize territory and overthrow Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy .

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