Kiev explosion: Blast rocks centre of Ukraine's capital leaving two people injured

Witnesses say the explosive device appeared to be thrown from a passing car

Caroline Mortimer
Thursday 24 August 2017 14:38
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Nato servicemen marching a military parade in Kiev on Ukrainian independence day
Nato servicemen marching a military parade in Kiev on Ukrainian independence day

Two people were injured by an explosion in the centre of Kiev, Ukraine's capital, on Independence Day, police said on Thursday.

The blast occurred at 2.06pm (12.06pm BST), police said in a statement, giving no more details.

The local television channel 112 showed a woman lying on the ground in the street near the building of the Ukrainian government.

Witnesses told the TV channel that the explosive device seemed to have been thrown from a passing car.

The country is marking the 25th anniversary of its breakaway from the Soviet Union and troops from Nato, which the Ukrainian government officially wants to join, took part in a military parade in the capital.

US Defence Secretary General James Mattis is currently in the city as part of a foreign tour to reassure America's eastern European allies of its continuing support in the face of Russian aggression.

He said they were still "actively reviewing" the possibility of sending lethal defensive weapons to the the country but insists this is not provocative.

The country has been gripped by a separatist war in the eastern region of Donbas since the Euromaidan protests lead to the collapse of the pro-Russia government in 2013.

It is currently unclear whether the explosions are connected to these tensions.

Russia has denied it is aiding the rebels but Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said there were currently 3,000 of its troops on its soil and the region of Crimea was annexed by Moscow in 2014.

In a joint press conference with Mr Poroshenko earlier on Thursday, Gen Mattis said Russia had not abided by the Minsk ceasefire agreement to end the separatist war.

He said: “Despite Russia's denials, we know they are seeking to redraw international borders by force, undermining the sovereign and free nations of Europe.

"Defensive weapons are not provocative unless you are an aggressor and clearly Ukraine is not an aggressor since it is their own territory where the fighting is happening.

Mr Poroshenko said he was "satisfied" with the progress on discussions about weapons, and also said he and Gen Mattis had discussed the possibility of a UN-backed armed force being sent to eastern Ukraine.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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