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A SERIES of powerful explosions rocked the residential districts of Kyiv early today killing two people, just hours before talks between Ukraine and Russia were set to resume.

  At least three large blasts were heard from the centre of the capital, sending columns of smoke high into the sky.

  As dawn broke, the damage became clear, with one strike hitting a large 16-storey housing block.

  There, a fire raged and smoke billowed from the charred husk of the building, as emergency services and stunned locals navigated an obstacle course of glass, metal and other debris littering the road.

  “The bodies of two people were recovered, 27 people were rescued,” Ukraine’s emergency service said.

  Another residential building in the Podilsk area also came under attack.

  Ukrainian MP Lesia Vasylenko posted a photo of a fire crew extinguishing a smouldering fire there — the building’s facade transformed into a mess of bent and tangled window frames and precariously dangling air conditioning units.

  Vasylenko said the district had been “a place to get coffee and enjoy life. Not anymore. Explosive hit just 30 minutes ago.”

  Just hours earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — wearing his now-signature military-green crew neck — issued a new video address sounding a note of cautious optimism about ongoing peace talks.

  He claimed Russia was beginning to realise victory would not come on the battlefield.

  “They have already begun to understand that they will not achieve anything by war. Pretty good, as I was told,” he said of Monday’s first day of discussions. But let’s see. They will continue tomorrow,” Zelensky said.

  The two sides are still far apart in the negotiations, with Moscow demanding Ukraine turn away from the West and recognise Moscow-backed breakaway regions.

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