At least two explosions rocked Kiev today, with sirens sounding as African leaders launched a peacekeeping mission hoping to mediate between Ukraine and Russia, with Ukrainian diplomacy saying it was a “message” from Moscow.

“Explosions in the capital, in the district of Podil. Missiles are still flying aimed at Kyiv,” Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko wrote on Telegram. Today at noon an anti-aircraft alert was sounded throughout Ukraine. “Threats from ballistic weapons in the center, east and west, stay in shelters,” the Ukrainian Air Force warned on Telegram.

An eyewitness told Reuters that two explosions were heard in the center of the Ukrainian capital.

In the meantime, the agency’s crew saw the African leaders arrive in Kiev by motorcade and enter a hotel, which they will use as a shelter. For his part, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter that “Russian missiles are a message to Africa: Russia wants war more than peace.” At the same time, he spoke of “the most serious missile attack against Kiev in weeks”.

The office of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa issued a statement on Twitter, according to which the mission of African leaders to Ukraine is “progressing well and as planned”. The African delegation — which includes the presidents of South Africa, Senegal, Comoros and Zambia, as well as representatives of other countries — is expected to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Tomorrow, Saturday, he will travel to Saint Petersburg, where he will have a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The African mission began its visit to Ukraine from Butsa, where Russian troops allegedly committed atrocities against civilians after invading Ukraine in February 2022.