- Air raid sirens sounded across Ukraine before dawn on Tuesday as Ukrainian and Russian negotiators prepared to meet in Turkey for face-to-face talks, with Kyiv seeking a ceasefire without compromising on territory or sovereignty.
- In the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, nearly 5,000 people have been killed, including about 210 children, according to figures from the mayor.
- Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said talks so far had not yielded any substantial progress but it was important they continued in person.
Ukraine has stated that its top priority at the first face-to-face discussions with Russia in over two weeks, which will take place in Turkey on Tuesday, is to establish a ceasefire, despite the fact that both Ukraine and the US are sceptical of a big breakthrough as reported by OANN.
The more than month-long invasion, the biggest attack on a European nation since World War Two, has seen over 3.8 million people flee abroad, left thousands dead or injured, and has brought isolation to Russia’s economy and tumult to markets.
Reuters was unable to immediately verify the numbers.
“The minimum programme will be humanitarian questions, and the maximum programme is reaching an agreement on a ceasefire,” Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said on national television.
“We are not trading people, land or sovereignty.”
He declined to give more information, saying that to do so could interfere with the process.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a Monday night address repeated calls for the West to go further in punishing Moscow for its invasion.
“Doesn’t everything the Russian military has done to date warrant an oil embargo?”
The Kremlin has demanded that what it deems “unfriendly” countries pay for Russian gas in roubles, not euros, but is trying to decide a mechanism by which that could work.
Zelensky said that although Ukrainian forces have regained control over some areas in the Kyiv region, the fighting was ongoing.
“There is no food for the children, especially the infants.”
Volunteers there were helping distribute aid to residents.
Changing their goals
Tuesday’s talks between Ukraine and Russia will be the first in-person since an acrimonious meeting between foreign ministers on March 10, a sign of shifts behind the scenes as Russia’s invasion has stalled and sanctions have hit home.
“We have destroyed the myth of the invincible Russian army.”
He said 100 people had been killed in the capital, including four children, and 82 multi-storey buildings had been destroyed.
It was not possible to verify the figures.
When the sides last met in person, Ukraine accused Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov of ignoring pleas to discuss a ceasefire, while Lavrov said a halt to fighting was not even on the agenda.
Since then, they have held talks via video link and publicly discussed a formula under which Ukraine might accept some kind of formal neutral status.
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