– New negotiations, “catastrophic” situation in Mariupol
Negotiations between Kiev and Moscow open earlier this week in Istanbul, where Ukraine says it is ready to discuss its neutrality “in depth”, as the humanitarian situation in Mariupol in the eastern part of the country is described as “catastrophic”.
In Mariupol, a city that has been besieged and bombed for weeks, “the population is struggling to survive. The humanitarian situation is catastrophic,” the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said on its Twitter account overnight.
“The Russian armed forces are turning the city into dust,” he added, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, for his part, condemned a total blockade of this city, which the Russian army has been trying to take for weeks. “All entrances and exits from the city are blocked (…) it is impossible to bring food and medicine into Mariupol,” he said Sunday night. “Russian forces bomb humanitarian aid convoys and kill the drivers,” he added.
About 2,000 children were also taken to Russia, he said. “And that means kidnapped. Because we do not know exactly where they are. Some are with their parents, others are not. It is a disaster,” he said.
More than 2,000 civilians were killed in Mariupol, according to a recent report communicated by City Hall. According to the Ukrainian president, about 100,000 people are still stranded in this strategic port on the Sea of Azov. Several attempts to establish safe routes for civilians have failed, with both sides accusing each other of ceasefire violations. And we still do not know, almost two weeks after the bombing of its theater, the fate of the hundreds of civilians who had sought refuge there: an almost impossible mission, according to an elected municipal official from Mariupol.
The French president said on Sunday that he would talk to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Monday or Tuesday to organize an evacuation operation from the city. Emmanuel Macron, who has already spoken to Vladimir Putin eight times since the beginning of the Russian invasion on February 24, remains convinced that dialogue with Moscow is still possible, “to stop the war that Russia has launched in Ukraine without going to war.
3.8 million refugees
Ukrainian and Russian negotiators are meeting in Istanbul on Monday or Tuesday, according to sources, to try to end this conflict, which has already forced more than 3.8 million Ukrainians to flee their country, according to a UN census on Sunday. to the country’s infrastructure, according to a study by the Kyiv School of Economics.
One of the key points in the negotiations concerns “security guarantees and neutrality, our state’s nuclear-weapon-free status,” Ukrainian President Voldymyr Zelensky told independent Russian media on Sunday, according to the Tel Aviv Grammy for the Ukrainian presidential administration. “This point in the negotiations is understandable to me and it is under discussion that it is being studied in depth,” he said. But it will have to be subject to a referendum and guarantees are needed, he warned, accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin and his entourage of “dragging on”.
Russian telecoms officer Roskomnadzor said in a statement to the Russian media that they should not publish this interview and indicated that an investigation was opened against those who had participated in the interview.
A negotiation meeting had already taken place on March 10 in Turkey in Antalya at Foreign Minister level, but had not resulted in any concrete progress. Since then, discussions have continued at video conferencing, which both camps have considered “difficult.” These new face-to-face talks are taking place after the Russian army announced at the end of the week that it was changing its “main target” in Ukraine.
On Friday, the Russian command had created a surprise by announcing “concentrating most of its efforts on the main goal: the liberation” of the Donbass mine basin. This change in strategy makes the Ukrainian authorities fear a Russian desire to eventually get “two Ukrainians” modeled on North and South Korea.
After failing to take Kiev and overthrow the Ukrainian government, Moscow could “impose a dividing line between the occupied and unoccupied regions of our country, (i) an attempt” to establish a Korean-style separation, said Ukrainian military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov. Sunday.
Referendum in Lugansk
A fear reinforced by the announcement of the holding “in the near future” of a referendum on joining Russia in the separatist region of Lugansk (east), whose independence Moscow has recognized. “All false referendums in the temporarily occupied territories are invalid and will have no legitimacy,” responded Oleg Nikolenko, spokesman for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry.
On the ground, fighting continues, but the loop seemed to loosen in certain besieged cities, such as Mykolaiv, a lock town on the way to Odessa, the largest port in Ukraine, looted for days by Russian artillery.
However, new fires have broken out in the area of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, occupied by Russian forces, according to the Ukrainian authorities, who have called for “demilitarization” of the sector under the auspices of the UN. “Massive fires have started in the exclusion zone, which could have very serious consequences,” Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshuk wrote in her Telegram account on Sunday night.
According to the Ukrainian regional authorities, the Russian army took control of the town of Slavutitch, where the staff of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is staying, briefly arresting the mayor and triggering pro-Ukrainian demonstrations.
And according to a statement from the Ukrainian General Staff on Monday, the Ukrainian Air Force destroyed four planes and a helicopter on Sunday. Ukrainian forces repel “five enemy attacks a day” on the eastern front against the separatist regions of Dontesk and Lugansk, where two Russian tanks were destroyed, according to the same source.
On the other hand, the inhabitants of Mykolaiv have found little hope, after terrible weeks in which the Russian army tried in vain to take the city. The front has even retreated significantly with a Ukrainian counter-offensive on Kherson, about 80 km to the southeast, the only major city that the Russian army has claimed to have occupied completely since the start of its invasion of Ukraine. .
When he visited Warsaw on Saturday, US President Joe Biden violently attacked the Kremlin’s lord, calling him a “butcher” and assessing that he “could not stay in power” after his invasion of Ukraine. “I do not want to use this kind of remark because I continue to discuss with President Putin,” Emmanuel Macron responded.
The White House had to very quickly qualify the comments from Joe Biden. “What the president thought was that Putin can not be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region,” she said. “He did not talk about Putin’s power in Russia or a regime change.”
At the diplomatic level, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kouleba called for a boycott of French supermarkets Auchan – which has chosen to stay in Russia – as well as the brands Leroy-Merlin (DIY) and Decathlon (sports), detained by the same family. group.
In Warsaw, music and sports stars took the stage on Sunday during a phone call in favor of Ukraine, broadcast by the Polish public channel TVP in more than 20 countries. And in Los Angeles, a minute of silence was called for as a tribute to Ukraine during the 94th Academy Awards on Sunday night. In this brief moment of contemplation, monitors send out messages calling for help to be sent by listing the essentials of the Ukrainians such as “food”, “medical treatment” or “blankets”.
Have you found an error? Tell us that.