Fire rages in new Grozny skyscraper

A fire raged in a skyscraper in the Chechnya capital Grozny on Wednesday, a building which is a centrepiece of a drive by local authorities to promote the city as a glitzy and modern hub.

State television pictures showed a huge plume of smoke rising into the sky and clinging to the sides of the building with bursts of yellow flames.

"Witnesses reported smoke pouring out from the fourth and fifth floors," the ITAR-TASS news agency reported, citing the Emergency Situations Ministry.

A witness photograph posted on Twitter showed flames and smoke pouring from the building in the Grozny-City complex, which is topped by a giant clock.

It was not immediately clear if there were any casualties or if anyone was trapped inside by the fire.

The building is a key symbol of the once war-torn city's rebirth under strongman local leader Ramzan Kadyrov.