Ukraine and its Western allies were skeptical of a Russian military withdrawal around Kiev and Cherniguiv on Wednesday, although Volodymyr Zelensky saw “positive” signs. Follow the latest information live.
The Russian Ministry of Defense on Wednesday night announced the establishment of a “regime of silence”, that is, a local ceasefire, from 10:00 Thursday (0700 GMT) in the besieged Ukrainian port of Mariupol to evacuate civilians. According to the ministry, this measure should make it possible to open a humanitarian corridor to the Ukrainian city of Zaporozhye.
“In order for this humanitarian operation to succeed, we propose to carry it out with the direct participation of representatives of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Committee of the Red Cross,” the ministry added in a statement.
The Russians are beginning to withdraw from the Chernobyl plant, the Pentagon reports.
“The Ukrainians who come to France are 36,000 today, they are not asylum seekers. They are temporarily protected.” #UKRAINE Asked by the Senate, the Ministerial Delegate in charge of public accounts, Olivier Dussopt, clarified the status of Ukrainians who have arrived in France.
“Offra (the office responsible for asylum applications) will not have to take a position on the asylum applications” formulated by the refugees, and “this will give the right to the benefit reserved for asylum seekers”, the minister said.
US President Joe Biden will meet with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday at 14.45 GMT (10.45 Washington time), the White House reports.
Joe Biden, who last week met with Ukraine’s foreign and defense ministers in Poland, has had regular talks with the Ukrainian president since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Boris Johnson calls for “tougher sanctions” against Moscow until all Russian soldiers withdraw.
Michelle Bachelet spoke on Wednesday about “war crimes” committed in Ukraine in a lengthy indictment by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights against the actions mainly carried out by the Russian army since the invasion on 24 February.
The arbitrary and large-scale attacks carried out by the Russian armed forces “could be war crimes”, launched Ms. Bachelet before the Human Rights Council, using the conditional by convention that the war crimes should be proved in a court of law, but left little doubt
Talks between Russian and Ukrainian delegations in Istanbul on Tuesday yielded no “very promising” or “breakthrough,” the Kremlin said Wednesday, dampening hopes of decisive progress in the negotiations.
“At the moment we can not report anything very promising or any breakthrough. There is a lot of work to be done,” Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
He nevertheless described as “positive” that the Ukrainian side “had finally begun to formulate its proposals in a concrete way and write them in writing”.
The number of Ukrainian refugees has exceeded the 4 million.
The city of Cherniguiv in northern Ukraine was the victim of bombing “all night long”, the governor of the region announced, despite the announcement from Moscow the day before about a reduction of its military activity in this zone.
“Chernigiv was bombed all night” with artillery and planes, Governor Vyacheslav Tchaous announced on Telegram, adding that civilian infrastructure had been destroyed and that the city was still without water or electricity.
Germany on Wednesday activated the first level of its emergency plan to guarantee the supply of natural gas in light of the threat of a halt to Russian supplies, the finance minister announced.
“A crisis unit has now been set up in the ministry” to monitor the situation as the G7 rejected Russia’s request for payment in rubles, Robert Habeck explained during a press conference.
This emergency plan includes three alarm levels, and at this stage the “security of supply” of gas is guaranteed in Germany, he specified.
Reserves are currently 25% full, the minister said, noting that halting supplies would have “serious consequences” but that Germany “will be able to cope”.
Mariupol City Hall on Wednesday condemned the forced evacuation to Russia of a maternity hospital in this besieged city in southeastern Ukraine, where another maternity hospital had been bombed by the Russians on March 9.
“More than 70 people, women and medical staff were forcibly abducted by residents of Maternity Ward No. 2 in the Left Wide District,” the town hall said on Telegram.
In all, more than 20,000 residents of Mariupol were evacuated “against their will” to Russia, according to the municipality, which claims that the Russians confiscated their papers and redirected them “to distant Russian cities”.
This information can not be verified from an independent source, Mariupol has been besieged since the end of February with failing communication.
“We can say that the signals we hear in the negotiations are positive, but they do not make us forget the explosions or the Russian grenades,” Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video message on Tuesday.
And after about five weeks of war, thousands of victims and millions of refugees, caution was also needed in the Ukrainian General Staff.
“The so-called withdrawal of troops is likely to be a rotation of individual units aimed at deceiving the military command of Ukraine’s armed forces,” he said in a statement Tuesday night.