Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

This bombsite in Kharkiv used to be a school

Dozens of people have been killed in Russian missile strikes on Ukraine’s second city, Kharkiv, officials say.

“Kharkiv has just been massively fired upon by grads [rockets]. Dozens of dead and hundreds of wounded,” the interior ministry said on Facebook.

The attack came on the fifth day of the Russian invasion as negotiators from both sides held talks in Belarus.

Russia is attacking Ukraine on several fronts but its advance has been slowed by Ukrainian resistance.

Videos shared on social media showed rockets landing in Kharkiv, in what some defence analysts described as typical of a cluster munition strike on a dense urban area.

Russia has previously denied targeting residential areas.

In the capital, Kyiv, the bulk of Russian forces are about 30km (19 miles) outside the north of the city, slowed by fierce Ukrainian resistance, according to the UK Ministry of Defence.

But street-level fighting continues in several parts of the city. Despite the danger, a two-day curfew has been lifted, with residents emerging from underground shelters to buy food and gather supplies.

Another video circulating on social media showed huge clouds of smoke at a burning shopping centre in Chernihiv, another city that has been under pressure from the Russian offensive.

‘Happy to stay alive’

Kasenya, who spent more than 36 hours underground, told the BBC she had managed to get home. “I can’t describe how I am feeling, I’m happy to stay alive and safe and just have the possibility to see my splendid and beautiful Kyiv,” she said.

Meanwhile, on the northern border with Belarus, Ukrainian and Russian officials have ended their first round of talks.

Hopes for a breakthrough are slim, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said there was a “small chance to end the war”.

A Ukrainian official said both sides would now return to their respective capitals for further consultations before a second round of negotiations.

The UN human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, said millions of civilians were being forced to huddle in makeshift bomb shelters such as underground rail stations to escape explosions.

Since the invasion began on Thursday, her office has recorded 102 civilian deaths, including seven children – and more than 300 injured.

“The real figures are, I fear, considerably higher,” she said.

Media caption,

Watch: Liza Grach emotionally describes fleeing Ukraine with her 10-month-old baby, but leaving her husband behind

To the north and north-east, Kharkiv and Chernihiv were shelled by Russian forces overnight but remain in Ukraine’s control. Shells landed near a shopping centre in Kharkiv during the day, while fighting continued in the streets.

To the south, Russian forces are trying to take control of the key strategic port of Mariupol, near Russia-annexed Crimea. Ukraine denied reports that Zaporizhzhia, home to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, had fallen into Russia hands.

Human rights group Amnesty International also accused Russia of indiscriminate use of weaponry on populated areas, something it said could constitute a war crime.

On Monday, Lithuania’s government said it would ask prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague to investigate “war crimes and crimes against humanity” in Ukraine.

Russia attacks Ukraine: More coverage