Kyiv: Ukrainian forces on Monday recaptured the town of Irpin on the outskirts of Kyiv from invading Russian troops.
According to AFP's report, the Ukrainian forces recaptured the key Kyiv suburb and desperately clung to control of the besieged city of Mariupol, as negotiators prepared to meet Russian counterparts for face-to-face talks in Istanbul Tuesday.
"We have good news today — Irpin has been liberated," said the town's mayor, Oleksandr Markushyn.
Troops "liberated" the suburban town of Irpin, Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky said, wresting a key gateway to the capital's northwest from Russian control.
AFP journalists witnessed continued heavy shelling in the area and encountered fleeing residents, who described hellish scenes of bombs raining from the sky and people killed in cold blood while trying to escape.
"We saw those cars which tried to get out on their own, they were crushed by tanks, with people inside," said 55-year-old Roman Molchanov, his voice cracking with emotion.
His sister added that the "Russian orcs" had "shot dead people sitting in their cars."
Western experts described the loss of Irpin as a significant setback for Russian forces, who are still trying to regroup after a failed first attempt to encircle the capital.
A senior US defence official said the Ukrainians were "continuing to try to take background," and the eastern town of Trostyanets, south of Sumy, was also back in their hands.
It is now more than a month since Russian President Vladimir Putin's tanks rolled into Ukraine, hoping to cripple or oust the democratic government in Kyiv.
The fighting has already killed an estimated 20,000 people and forced more than 10 million from their homes.
The prospects of a peaceful end to the war -- or an imminent victory for either side -- appear faint.
Ukrainian and Russian negotiators will resume peace talks on Tuesday, under the shadow of shock allegations that delegates were poisoned at a previous round of negotiations.