Attacks in Kharkiv and Vasylkiv cities have prompted authorities to urge Ukrainians to cover their windows with damp cloth or gauze to stop smoke from entering homes
Related: Rocket hits Kyiv apartment block in CCTV footage
They blew up a natural gas pipeline in the northeastern city of Kharkiv, said Ukraine’s state service of special communications and information protection.
Videos showed a massive mushroom-shaped explosion from the attack. It is not clear how important the pipeline was or whether this blast could disrupt gas shipments.
Earlier in the day, large flames lit up the sky after missiles hit the Ukrainian town of Vasylkiv, setting an oil depot ablaze before dawn. It is situated about 40km south of the capital Kyiv.
Both Vasylkiv’s mayor and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky’s office confirmed the attack on the second largest city in the country.
“The enemy wants to destroy everything around,” mayor Natalia Balasinovich said.
“We will fight for as long as needed to liberate our country,” Mr Zelensky, who has periodically released visuals addressing his citizens to assure them that he is not leaving his country, said.
The two attacks prompted authorities to urge Ukrainians to protect themselves from the smoke emanating from fumes. The government has asked people to cover their windows with damp cloth or gauze to stop the smoke from entering their homes.
In Kyiv, people took shelter in their homes, underground garages or subway stations as they anticipated a full-scale attack by Russian forces. Thousands of women, children and men across the city have been rushed to safety as the administration clamped a 39-hour curfew to keep people indoors.
More than 150,000 Ukrainians have fled their homeland for Poland, Moldova and other safer neighbouring countries to escape the invasion launched by Russian president Vladimir Putin.
On Saturday Ukrainian officials said 198 citizens – including three children – had been killed since the invasion began. Health minister Viktor Liashko said that 1,115 people were injured including 33 children.
Though the Russian invasion has entered its fourth day, it is unclear how much territory Moscow has seized.
However, a UK minister said Russia’s invasion plan is “nowhere near running to schedule” due to fierce resistance from the Ukrainian people against the Kremlin’s advance.
According to a senior US official, Russian forces are reportedly becoming demoralised, disoriented and hungry. Russian soldiers had reportedly been overheard complaining that Ukrainian resistance was much stiffer than they had anticipated.
On one radio call, the official said they heard a soldier saying: “We don’t know who to shoot – they all look like us.”
In an effort to stop Mr Putin, the United States and European Union have banned some Russian banks from the Swift financial system in the latest sanction against Russia.
Additional reporting by agencies
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