Mayor of the city Vladyslav Atroshenko said: “The night was just as we expected, that is a lie from the beginning till the end, that’s why at night we had some serious shelling at night. And the Russians were trying to destroy all possible means of crossing Desna River towards Kyiv.”

Read here Russia's "retreat" is a regrouping to the east or a deception

Atroshenko, who has called for Kyiv not to swap captured pilots who had operated above Chernihiv for Ukrainian prisoners of war, said there had been no evidence of any withdrawal over the last 24 hours from around his city.

He said: “The locals live in a real humanitarian crisis for weeks with no electricity, no heating, no water, only in some areas of the city there’s gas [natural gas, not petrol]. Thousands of buildings are destroyed. Yesterday, our district, Liotka, was shelled especially heavily, where a few people died and dozens were injured.