The Russian-appointed head of Melitopol says there has been a powerful explosion in the south-eastern city on Monday morning.
Plumes of black smoke are visible in the centre of the city, Vladimir Rogov said on the Telegram messaging app. The explosion shook the walls and windows of buildings on several streets, he added.
According to some reports, the blast occurred in the area where the Russian-appointed “head of the Zaporizhzhia region” Yevgeny Balitsky is located.
Russian forces took over the city early on in the war, back in February. But there has been fierce resistance from residents ever since.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister for Russia, Sergei Lavrov says taking control of the Donbas in eastern Ukraine is an “unconditional priority” for Russia.
Referring to Russia’s attack as a “liberation”, Lavrov defended the invasion which was launched three months ago.
Donbas is a mining belt made up of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which have historically had strong ties to Russia.
Mr Lavrov told TF1 that taking control of “the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, recognised by the Russian Federation as independent states, is an unconditional priority”.