Ukraine conflict: Half a million flee as fighting rages

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More than half a million people have fled their homes to escape the war in Ukraine, the UN says, as heavy fighting continues across the country.

Major cities – including Kiev, Kharkiv, and Chernihiv – remain under attack from Russian forces.

A government official said dozens of civilians were killed in Kharkiv as shelling continued into the morning.

On the northern border with Belarus, Ukrainian and Russian officials are meeting for talks for the first time.

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

The United Nations 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.

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.

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