War in Ukraine: Latest developments
Local men help an elderly woman evacuate a residential building damaged by shelling, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine, in this handout picture released March 16, 2022. via REUTERS - STATE EMERGENCY SERVICE

Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:

Explosions in central Kyiv

Explosions rock central Kyiv as Russia intensifies its attack on the capital, which is under a 35-hour curfew due to what its mayor called a "difficult and dangerous moment".

Two residential buildings were damaged and two people wounded, emergency services say.''

Strikes on southern train station

Russian strikes also target the southern city of Zaporizhzhia, where thousands of people are taking shelter after escaping the besieged port of Mariupol, regional officials say.

The railway station is hit but there are no reports of casualties.

- Zelensky upbeat on talks -

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky sounds optimistic about the possibility of a negotiated end to the conflict after a fifth rounds of talks with Russia.

"All wars end with an agreement," he says, adding that the negotiating positions "now sound more realistic" but that Kyiv needs more time "so the decisions are made in the interest of Ukraine".

On Tuesday, he told Ukrainians they had to accept their country would not join NATO, a key demand of Russia's.

More US aid

US President Joe Biden will announce $800 million in new security assistance to Ukraine Wednesday, US officials say, on the day Zelensky is scheduled to make a landmark address to the US Congress.

Call for NATO peacekeepers

A trio of leaders from Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenian meet Ukraine's president in his besieged capital, with Warsaw calling for a NATO peace mission "protected by armed forces" to help Kyiv.

"This cannot be an unarmed mission," Vice Premier Jaroslaw Kaczynski says.

"It must seek to provide humanitarian and peaceful aid to Ukraine."

Payment day for Russia

Russia is due to make an interest payment on its foreign debt for the first since being hit with crippling Western sanctions, amid concerns that it could default.

Moscow is due to pay $117 million (107 million euros) on two dollar-denominated bonds. It says it will service its debt in rubles.

Five journalists killed

A French-Irish cameraman for Fox News and a Ukrainian working as a producer for the US television network have been killed in fighting near Kyiv, Fox News says.

Two other Ukrainian journalists, as well as a US documentary filmmaker, have also been killed.

TV protester fined, released

Marina Ovsyannikova, the journalist who protested against the conflict during a prime-time news broadcast on Russian state television, is fined and released.

A Moscow court ordered her to pay a fine of 30,000 rubles ($280, 247 euros) after she barged onto the set of Russia's most-watched evening news broadcast holding a poster reading "No War".

20,000 leave besieged city

Around 20,000 people manage to leave the besieged port city of Mariupol by driving along a humanitarian corridor agreed with Russian forces, a Ukrainian presidential aide says.

Refugees top 3 million

More than three million people have fled Ukraine since the start of the invasion, the UN migration agency IOM says.

Around half are minors, says the UN children's agency.

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, says 1.8 million people have fled to Poland.

97 children killed

Ninety-seven Ukrainian children have died since the invasion began, Zelensky tells Canadian lawmakers.

He renews his calls for a no-fly zone over Ukraine to "stop the bombing".

NATO allies, including Canada, have rejected the proposal, fearing it would lead to an expansion of the conflict.

© 2022 AFP