A blinding flash that illuminated the night sky above Kyiv has led to widespread confusion and speculation about what caused it.

Video clips posted on social media showed the sky over the Ukrainian capital suddenly illuminated by a bright light late on Wednesday. In one clip, a flaming object appeared to be crashing to the ground.

Kyiv authorities said an unknown aerial object had fallen from the sky at around 10pm local time on Wednesday, forcing them to announce an air alert in Kyiv and the surrounding region.

“After verification and clarification, the information regarding the possible use of enemy aircraft or an air strike with missile weapons was not confirmed,” the Kyiv City Military Administration wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

Andriy Yermak, head of president Volodymyr Zelensky’s office, jokingly posted an emoji of a UFO.

One theory, that the flash was caused by a falling US satellite, was ruled out by NASA. Yuriy Ihnat, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s air force, suggested a meteorite may have entered Earth’s atmosphere.

He said the Ukrainian air force, in charge of air defences, was not involved.