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.
The talks come two days before Ukrainian President Volodymy Zelenskyy is due to make his plea for peace – and more weapons – in a virtual address to Congress scheduled for Wednesday morning.
Monday’s talks were halted for a “technical break” and will continue on Tuesday, an adviser to Zelenskyy said. Mikhail Podolyak said further work was needed in the sub-committees and clarification of some terms was underway. Podolyak said Ukraine’s demands remained unchanged despite a growing humanitarian crisis in some cities that has left hundreds of thousands of civilians struggling to get 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 earlier Monday.
Russian delegate Leonid Slutsky said the talks could “evolve in the next few days towards a unified position of the two delegations, towards documents to be signed”, Russian news agency RIA reported.
The talks are being held via video link after previous talks were held in neighboring Belarus, Russia’s ally. The last round of talks took place a week ago, although on March 10 Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba met at a diplomatic forum in Turkey.
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►A pregnant Ukrainian woman and her unborn child have died, days after footage was seen around the world of her rushing on a stretcher to an ambulance amid the devastation of a bomb attack on a maternity hospital in Mariupol. The images embodied the horror of Russian attacks on innocent Ukrainian civilians.
►Ramzan Kadyrov, the extremist leader of Russia’s Chechnya region accused of human rights abuses by US and European human rights groups, said he was meeting with Chechen troops helping in the Russian assault against Kyiv. Ukrainian forces, he said, would have to surrender “or you’ll be finished”.
►White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan will meet with senior Chinese foreign policy adviser Yang Jiechi in Rome on Monday. China called for a peaceful settlement in Ukraine but rejected sanctions against Russia.
► At least 2.8 million Ukrainians have fled the country, according to the UN refugee agency. More than 1.7 million of them left through Poland.
►American photojournalist Brent Renaud was killed on Sunday in Ukraine when Russian soldiers opened fire on a car in Irpin, a town 30 miles from the capital Kiev.
Zelensky will address Congress on Wednesday
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Monday that Ukrainian President Volodymy Zelenskyy will address Congress virtually on Wednesday morning, saying the speech was only open to members of Congress.
“Congress remains steadfast in our commitment to support Ukraine as it faces Putin’s cruel and diabolical aggression, and to pass legislation to cripple and isolate the Russian economy as well as to provide humanitarian aid. , security and economics to Ukraine,” Pelosi and Schumer wrote in a statement. letter to colleagues. “We look forward to the privilege of hosting President Zelenskyy’s speech in the House and Senate and conveying our support to the people of Ukraine as they bravely defend democracy.”
The Red Cross warns of a “worst-case scenario” for hundreds of thousands of civilians in the besieged city of Mariupol unless the parties agree to ensure their safety and access to humanitarian aid. The agency said in a statement that hundreds of Mariupol residents “face extreme or complete shortages of basic necessities like food, water and medicine.”
The Red Cross statement describes Mariupol as overwhelmed by “bodies – of civilians and combatants – which remain trapped under the rubble or lie in the open where they fell. Life-changing injuries and chronic, debilitating conditions cannot be treated. The human suffering is simply immense.
The agency called on the parties to agree on the terms of a ceasefire and on safe crossing routes and to ensure compliance with the agreement. He offered to act as a neutral broker in the negotiations.
“Time is running out for the hundreds of thousands of people trapped in the fighting,” the statement said. “History will look in horror at what is currently happening in Mariupol if no agreement is reached between the parties as soon as possible.”
Much at stake for China in talks with the United States
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan will meet Chinese Foreign Policy Advisor Yang Jiechi in Rome on Monday. The White House stressed that Monday’s discussion will cover a range of topics. But these are the first high-level in-person talks between the United States and China since Russia invaded Ukraine last month.
As the war enters its third week and civilian casualties mount, Beijing has tried to stay away. President Xi Jinping called for peace but opposes sanctions against Russia. Xi could play a pivotal role – either strengthening Russia militarily and economically or pressing Putin to step down.
“Cutting moment for Xi, China and the 21st century,” tweeted Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations. Helping Russia would expose China to substantial sanctions and make it a pariah, Haass wrote. To refuse “would keep open the possibility of at least selective cooperation” with the United States and the West. Learn more here.
– Maureen Groppe
Pregnant woman and baby both die after bomb attack
A pregnant woman and her baby died after Russia bombed the maternity ward where she was due to give birth, the Associated Press reports. Images of the woman being rushed into an ambulance on a stretcher seen around the world epitomize the horror of an attack on humanity’s most innocent.
In video and photos taken by AP reporters on Wednesday after the attack on the hospital in the besieged city of Mariupol, the woman was seen fondling her bloody lower abdomen as rescuers rushed her through the rubble, his white face reflecting his shock at what had just happened. . It was one of the most brutal moments so far in Russia’s war on Ukraine, which has now lasted 19 days.
The woman was rushed to another hospital, even closer to the front line, where doctors worked to keep her alive. Realizing she was losing her baby, the doctors said she screamed at them, “Kill me now!”
Surgeon Timur Marin found the woman’s pelvis crushed and the hip detached. Doctors delivered the baby by caesarean section, but he showed “no signs of life”, the surgeon said.
Then they focused on the mother.
“More than 30 minutes of resuscitation of the mother did not yield results,” Marin said on Saturday.
“Both are dead.”
‘Russian TV channels’ will start broadcasting soon, says new mayor of Russian-occupied Melitopol
The newly installed mayor of the Russian-occupied Ukrainian city of Melitopol said “Russian TV channels” would soon be broadcasting to the region. Galina Danilchenko said in a TV video on Sunday that there was “a great deficit of reliable information circulating”, as the broadcast decision, according to CN.
His televised speech was later posted on social media by pro-Russian Telegram channels and the Ukrainian-controlled Zaporozhye regional administration.
Danilchenko was named mayor after mayor-elect Ivan Fedorov was arrested by gunmen on Friday. The prosecutor’s office of the separatist Russian-backed Lugansk region later charged Fedorov with terrorism offences.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for Federov’s immediate release, saying his “kidnapping” was a “crime against democracy”.