Vladimir Putin's convoy appears to speed towards Kremlin
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Video footage shows his Aurus limousine race past onlookers on its way to Putin’s seat of power at 11pm on Saturday. His visit to the Kremlin came after talks with leader of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko in St Petersburg.
Russia’s foreign ministry said Putin told his counterpart Moscow would supply Minsk with missile systems capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
At the meeting in St Petersburg, Lukashenko voiced concern about the “aggressive”, “confrontational” and “repulsive” policies of neighbouring Lithuania and Poland.
Putin’s spokesman did not deny the late night dash to the Kremlin, but denied the purpose was a crisis meeting of top officials.
He also denied Putin was to make an immediate emergency statement.
Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov told Russian new agency TASS: “No. Everything is not like that. Everything is normal.”
However, Mr Peskov did not explain the purpose of Putin’s sudden visit.
In the past Putin pre-recorded major announcements in the Kremlin which were released later, fuelling the suspicion this might have been the purpose of his late night Kremlin visit.
Some have suggested it could possibly come ahead of an escalation of hostilities in Ukraine.
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Ukrainian official Anton Gerashchenko voiced his concern the visit signalled a new statement on the war by Putin.
He said: “Late at night on Saturday Putin suddenly drove into the Kremlin.
“Details: Peskov denied suggestions that appeared in the media that it was linked to an emergency meeting, and said that ‘everything was normal’.”
Putin announced what Russia calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24 after weeks of denying he had any intention of invading. It is widely believed the announcement was pre-recorded.
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Hours after the Kremlin dash, Russian missiles hit an apartment block and kindergarten in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv.
US President Joe Biden condemned the strikes as “barbarism” as world leaders gathered in Europe to discuss further sanctions against Moscow.
Up to four explosions shook central Kyiv in the early hours of Sunday in the first such attack on the city in weeks.
Two more blasts were heard on the southern outskirts of the city later in the day.
Andriy Yermak, head of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky’s administration, said: “The Russians hit Kyiv again. Missiles damaged an apartment building and a kindergarten.”
Ihor Klymenko, Ukraine’s police chief, said on national television five people had been wounded while Ukrainian police later said one person was killed.
Life had been returning to normal in Kyiv after fierce resistance held off Russian advances in the early stage of the war.
Although air raid sirens regularly sound across the city, there had been no major strikes on Kyiv since early June.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson joked about Putin with fellow world leaders at the G7 summit in Germany.
The PM and his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau discussed the Russian leader and his history of being photographed shirtless.
As the sun shone at Schloss Elmau in the Bavarian Alps, Mr Johnson questioned whether they should keep their suit jackets on.
He then asked: “Shall we take our clothes off?… We all have to show that we’re tougher than Putin.”
Mr Trudeau chimed in, suggesting a bare-chested horseback ride, after Putin was pictured without a shirt riding a horse in 2009.
Mr Johnson then said: “We’ve got to show our pecs.”
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