Mariupol citizens trapped; new round of talks

A fourth round of talks aimed at ending or limiting the devastating bombardment of Ukraine began on Monday, with the Russian side claiming significant progress and the bloodied but adamant Ukrainians demanding a ceasefire, the immediate withdrawal of all Russian troops and security guarantees.

Mikhail Podolyak, adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, called the talks a “difficult conversation” and said Ukraine’s demands remained unchanged despite a growing humanitarian crisis in some cities that has left hundreds of thousands of civilians struggling to obtain basic necessities such as food, water and medical supplies.

“Although Russia realizes the absurdity of its aggressive actions, it still has the illusion that 19 days of violence against peaceful cities is the right strategy,” Podolyak said on Twitter.

Russian delegate Leonid Slutsky said the talks could “evolve in the very next few days towards a unified position of the two delegations, towards documents to be signed”, Russian news agency RIA reported.

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