Residents of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv and the surrounding oblast were startled by the sound of explosions early on Jan. 14, but these were not related to military activity, authorities said.
Social network users reported the sounds of explosions around 6:30 a.m. No air raid alert was declared in the capital and Kyiv Oblast. Later, the head of the President's Office Andriy Yermak wrote "stay calm" without specifying details.
Kyiv regional governor Oleksiy Kuleba then said on Telegram that the explosions had been caused by a fire at a critical infrastructure facility.
"There is a fire at one of the critical infrastructure facilities. The relevant services are working at the scene," he wrote.
He said there had been no reports of casualties due to the explosions at this stage.
Later the Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander of the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Lieutenant General Oleksandr Pavlyuk said that the explosions were not related to any military actions.
According to Pavlyuk, Russian bot farms were actively using the sounds of explosions "as an excuse to sow panic," and broadcast rumors that this was allegedly "the beginning of an offensive from the north."
However, this was not the case, Pavlyuk said. He promised to report on the causes of the explosions later.
"There are no offensive actions of the enemy from the north now,” Pavlyuk said.
“The explosions are not related to a threat from the air or the work of air defenses, or to any military actions. If there was a threat, you would have heard an air alert signal. The cause of the explosions will be announced (later).”
On Jan. 13, the Kyiv administration stated that the exercises that will take place in Belarus in the near future should not be perceived as a direct threat to the capital. However, a possible new attack on Kyiv cannot be ruled out.
According to Pavlyuk, the threat of invasion from Belarus remains unlikely, despite the Russians' deployment of military equipment to the country and planned joint exercises.
On Jan. 6, State Border Guard Service spokesman Andriy Demchenko said that the situation on the border with Belarus remained under control. Ukrainian border guards have not observed any movement of enemy equipment and personnel near the border, he said.