The new air strikes on the capital city are the worst to hit Kyiv since Russia attempted to seize control in February.
Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani held a phone call with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday as Russia continued to bombard Ukrainian cities.
“During the phone call, they discussed the latest developments on the Ukrainian arena, especially with regards to the crisis with Russia and the need to end it through dialogue and diplomatic means,” state-run Qatar News Agency reported.
The amir “called again on all parties to exercise restraint, resolve the dispute through dialogue and diplomatic methods, settle international disputes by peaceful means, and not to take any action that would lead to further escalation,” the statement added.
In a tweet also confirming the call, Zelenskyy thanked Sheikh Tamim “for the resolute support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” noting the two discussed further joint steps within the UN and other international platforms.
The phone call took place as Russia carried out a new round of attacks on the capital city of Kyiv as well as other Ukrainian cities. Reports stated that at least three blasts were heard in the Ukrainian capital on Monday.
“They are trying to destroy us and wipe us off the face of the earth…destroy our people who are sleeping at home in Zaporizhzhia. Kill people who go to work in Dnipro and Kyiv,” President Zelenskyy said on Telegram.
According to Reuters, explosions were also reported in Lviv, Ternopil, Zhytomyr, Dnipro and Kremenchuk.
While the Ukrainian president confirmed that casualties were reported, the exact number has yet to be determined as the assaults continue.
The latest Russian bombardment is deemed to be a retaliatory attack to the deadly explosion targeting a bridge connecting the Kerch Strait to the Crimea peninsula, annexed by Russia in 2014.
The explosion rocked the structure on Saturday, dealing a major blow to Moscow which uses the bridge to deliver weapons. Shortly after the attack, President Vladimir Putin pointed the blame towards Ukraine.
Putin had described the blast as “an act of terrorism aimed at destroying critically important civilian infrastructure”.
“This was devised, carried out and ordered by the Ukrainian special services,” Putin said in a video on the Kremlin’s Telegram channel.
Reuters reported that Alexander Bastrykin, the head of Russia’s Investigative Committee, noted that the explosives-laden vehicle had travelled through Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, North Ossetia and Russia.
While, Kyiv did not claim the attack on the bridge, Zelenskyy appeared to nod to the incident saying “today was not a bad day and mostly sunny on our state’s territory.”
Responding to the latest escalations, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted: “Putin’s only tactic is terror on peaceful Ukrainian cities, but he will not break Ukraine down. This is also his response to all appeasers who want to talk with him about peace: Putin is a terrorist who talks with missiles”.
The latest Russian attacks were met with global condemnation and have been slammed as a breach of international laws and charters.
In a tweet, the UK’s Foreign Secretary James Cleverly described the airstrikes on civilian areas as “unacceptable”.
“I communicated with Dmytro Kuleba this morning to reinforce the UK’s ongoing moral and practical support to Ukraine. This is a demonstration of weakness by Putin, not strength,” said the UK official.
Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, Qatar has held various phone calls with the leaders of both countries.
In March, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani travelled to Moscow where he met with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.
In a joint press conference with Lavrov at the time, the Qatari foreign minister condemned “everything to the contrary” of the UN Charter.
Last week, Qatar stressed the need to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity after Russia announced the annexation of 15% of the country.
In a statement, Qatar’s foreign ministry said that it was following “with great concern” the developments with regards to the ongoing “Russian-Ukrainian crisis”.
The Gulf state placed great emphasis on the “necessity of respecting Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and pursuing dialogue as a way to resolve the crisis.”
It also renewed Qatar’s stance in supporting the UN Charter, which stipulates settling disputes peacefully, as per international law.
According to the UN, Russia killed 6,114 people, including 35 children, as of 2 October this year.