A CBS journalist has prompted backlash after comparing violence in Afghanistan to the invasion of “civilised” Ukraine.

Charlie D'Agata, a senior foreign correspondent for CBS’s London Bureau, was broadcasting live from Kyiv on Saturday when he made the comments.

“This isn’t a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan that has seen conflict raging for decades,” he told viewers. “This is a relatively civilised, relatively European – I have to choose those words carefully too – city, where you wouldn’t expect that or hope that it’s going to happen.”

The claims were quickly picked up by viewers, who expressed their anger over D’Agata’s use of language. Many interpreted the journalist’s description of Ukraine as “civilised” as an implication that the two other countries named would not be described as that.

“This is not ok,” responded Miqdaad Versi, the media spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Britain.

Chris Doyle, the director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding, branded the comments “disgraceful” and asked if there is a league table to help identify which countries can be classed as civilised.

Foreign policy correspondent Idrees Ali suggested that D’Agata’s subtext was that “in Iraq and Afghanistan, they were brown”.

Novara Media co-founder Aaron Bastani called the clip "extraordinary".

"Hopefully when more pressing issues are resolved, and Russia’s aggression is neutralised, we can begin to ask why war, death and suffering is considered normal for some human beings and not others," he wrote.

The footage was viewed hundreds of thousands of times within a matter of hours.

It came as Russian troops closed in on Ukraine's capital after a night of explosions and street fighting sent Kyiv residents seeking shelter or fleeing the city.

The country's leader claimed Ukraine's forces had repulsed the assault and vowed to keep up the struggle.

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Central Kyiv appeared quiet on Saturday, and skirmishes reported on the edge of the city suggested that small Russian units were trying to clear a path for the main forces.

Britain's defence ministry said that the bulk of Russian forces were 19 miles from the middle of the city, with a US defence official later making the same assessment.

As Russian troops pressed their offensive with small groups of troops reported inside Kyiv, the city's mayor, Vitali Klitschko, extended an overnight curfew to run from 5pm on Saturday until 8am on Monday.

He said "all civilians on the street during the curfew will be considered members of the enemy's sabotage and reconnaissance groups".

Russia claims its assault on Ukraine was aimed only at military targets, but bridges, schools and residential neighbourhoods have been hit since the invasion began on Thursday with air and missile strikes and Russian troops entering Ukraine from the north, east and south.

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Ukraine's health minister reported on Saturday that 198 people, including three children, have been killed and more than 1000 others have been wounded during Europe's largest ground offensive since the Second World World War. It was unclear whether the figure included both military and civilian casualties.

The National:

Nabih Bulos/Los Angeles Times Video still taken from the twitter feed of @nabihbulos of the view from one of the apartments in a high rise building which was struck by a missile in Ukraine's capital Kyiv

In Kyiv, a missile struck a high-rise apartment building in the south-western outskirts near one of Kyiv's two passenger airports, leaving a jagged hole of ravaged apartments over several floors. A rescue worker said six civilians were injured.

The conflict has driven thousands of Ukrainians from their homes in search of safety.

UN officials said more than 120,000 Ukrainians have left the country for Poland, Moldova and other neighbouring nations.