Air raid sirens blare throughout Ukraine as Russian forces kill civilians in Kyiv

Russian forces relentlessly blasted Ukrainian capital Kyiv today killing civilians even as the two sides held more peace talks.

Thundering artillery pounded cities throughout Ukraine as it emerged Russia has now lost 13,500 troops in fighting - 150 in the battle for Mariupol alone.

On day 20 of Moscow’s brutal offensive, air-raid sirens blared throughout Ukraine as Vladimir Putin ’s bombers again took to the skies for another salvo.

It came as the British foreign office investigated fears three British former military personnel may have been killed on Sunday in cruise missile strikes in west Ukraine.

It is believed foreign fighters were penetrated by Russian spies and may have helped Moscow with coordinates for the devastating attack, thought to have killed over 100.

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Today Ukraine announced two new laws outlawing collaborators, with a 15-year jail term for anyone caught becoming a turncoat for Moscow.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appeared to be making a non-NATO promise to Russia as he admitted Ukraine has to accept it will never be part of NATO.

Speaking after video peace talks held by his representatives and Russia he said the negotiations were “pretty good,” and suggested there may be an end to Ukraine’s NATO ambitions.

He said: “Ukraine is not a member of NATO.

“We have heard for years that the doors were open, but we also heard that we could not join. It's a truth and it must be recognised.”

Over the past two weeks, support within the country for Ukraine's entry to NATO has dropped from 76% to 72% because of NATO not closing the skies over Ukraine.

Ninety per cent of Ukrainians want a “no fly zone” which would be policed by NATO jets - but this would likely lead to a direct clash between alliance jets and Russian warplanes.

But in Ukraine 56% believe that the main goal of Russia's invasion is the complete destruction of the Ukrainian people.

And according to local poll and social study organisation Rating Group only two per cent believe Russia is trying to protect the Russian-speaking population.

Today air-raid sirens blared throughout Ukraine - even in the west in cities such as Ivano Frankivsk whose airport has been blitzed three times in the past 20 days.

Police in the sub-Carpathian town have massively clamped down as they search for Russian spies believed to have infiltrated the quiet town.

Locals have been warned to look out for strangers and be suspicious of anyone asking directions or strange questions as they could be interlopers.

Sources have told the Daily Mirror the spy agency SBU’s local office believe spies are within the town having rented apartments months before the invasion.

It is believed they have sent instructions to their controllers on targets to be hit by long-range missiles, including the military and civilian airport.

Air raid sirens blare throughout Ukraine as Russian forces kill civilians in Kyiv

Ivano Frankivsk is a supply hub for the war effort, sending vital medication, clothing, military fatigues and even bedding to frontline troops.

The region has provided as many as 150 volunteer troops who have been shipped to the frontline in Kyiv.

Across Ukraine a second wave of mobilised troops is being summoned to fight Russia on the frontline as Kyiv desperately hangs on.

Today shortly before dawn large blasts boomed throughout Kyiv as Russia attacked, striking a residential apartment block, killing two as 35 were rescued.

Multiple strikes hit the neighbourhood, sparking a huge fire and a rescue effort all over the 15-storey apartment building.

Despite the pounding and as Kyiv was warned to prepare for Russia’s brutal strikes Moscow was revealed to have suffered massive casualties.

As well as 13,500 dead its forces have lost 81 warplanes, 95 helicopters, 404 tanks and even another Russian General has been killed - the fourth in 20 days.

But the Ukrainian civilian cost is immense as heartbreaking figures emerged of at least four children a day being killed by Russian shelling as more than 90 have died.

As many as 100 plus children have been injured in fighting- many of them from barbaric Russian shelling.

Moscow’s forces have blitzed 400 schools - destroying 59 of them.

But Zelensky vowed: “Russia has already begun to understand that they will not achieve anything by war.”

Both Ukraine and Russia have expressed hope for peace.

Mykhailo Podolyak, aide to Mr Zelensky, said negotiators would discuss "peace, ceasefire, immediate withdrawal of troops & security guarantees.”

Two people were killed when Russia struck an airplane factory in Kyiv, sparking a large fire.

The Antonov factory is Ukraine's largest aircraft plant and produces many of the world's biggest cargo planes.

A town councillor for Brovary, east of Kyiv, was killed in fighting and shells fell on the Kyiv suburbs of Irpin, Bucha and Hostomel, which have seen some of the worst fighting.

The southern city of Mykolaiv, and the northern city of Chernihiv, suffered intense shelling and blasts echoed around theBlack Sea port of Kherson.

Nine people were killed in a rocket attack on a TV tower in the western village of Antopol and in the eastern city of Kharkiv, the remains of a four-storey residential building were seen.

Ukraine's military again fought an advance by Russia on Mariupol and the attackers were forced to retreat.

Robert Mardini, director-general of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said the war has become "nothing short of a nightmare" for those living in besieged cities.

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