Peace Talks ‘Sound More Realistic’

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  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Wednesday peace talks were sounding more realistic but more time was needed.
  • In a hint of a possible compromise, Zelenskiy said earlier Ukraine was prepared to accept security guarantees from the West that stop short of its long-term goal of joining NATO.
  • U.S. President Joe Biden will make his first visit to Europe since Russia invaded Ukraine to discuss the crisis with NATO allies next week, the White House said.

On Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that peace negotiations were sounding more plausible as reported by Reuters.

Russian bombing

But that more time was needed after the Russian bombings killed five people in Kyiv’s capital.

The number of refugees displaced by Moscow’s invasion topped 3 million.

Moscow has not captured any of Ukraine’s 10 biggest cities following its incursion that began on Feb. 24, the largest assault on a European state since 1945.

“The meetings continue, and, I am informed, the positions during the negotiations already sound more realistic.

In a hint of a possible compromise, Zelenskiy said earlier Ukraine was prepared to accept security guarantees from the West that stop short of its long-term goal of joining NATO.

Denazify 

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said it was too early to predict progress in the talks. 

“The work is difficult, and in the current situation the very fact that (the talks) are continuing is probably positive.”

Russia calls its actions a “special military operation” to demilitarise and “denazify” Ukraine.

U.S. President Joe Biden will make his first visit to Europe since Russia invaded Ukraine to discuss the crisis with NATO allies next week, the White House said.

Biden will attend a NATO leader’s meeting at the military alliance’s headquarters in Brussels on March 24.

Kyiv bombed

Just over 3 million have now fled Ukraine, according to the United Nations, with over 1.8 million arriving in neighbouring Poland.

Its prime minister and those of Slovenia and the Czech Republic were in Kyiv on Tuesday to show solidarity.

Local authorities said Tuesday’s bombardments on Kyiv killed at least five people as buildings were set ablaze and people were buried under rubble. Russia denies targeting civilians.

More than 100 buses carrying a few thousand civilians left the besieged northeastern city of Sumy in a “safe passage” operation, the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Tuesday.

Russia said it now controlled the Kherson region in southern Ukraine.

Reuters could not independently verify the report.

Economic fallout

The conflict has brought economic isolation upon Russia and the economic cost was fully exposed on Wednesday as its sanctions-ravaged government teetered on the brink of its first international debt default since the Bolshevik revolution.

The crisis is also being felt in the form of spiralling energy costs in many Western countries with some heavily reliant on exports from Russia and after a U.S. ban on imports of oil from the country.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits the Middle East on Wednesday to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed in the United Arab Emirates before seeing Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia in an effort to secure more oil flows.

“We will work with them to ensure regional security, support the humanitarian relief effort and stabilise global energy markets for the longer term,” said Johnson.

The United States, the European Union and Britain announced further sanctions on Tuesday, while Moscow retaliated by putting Biden and other U.S. officials on a “stop list” that bars them from entering Russia.

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Source: Reuters

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