As two “superpowered bombs” hit Mariupol on Tuesday, Volodymyr Zelensky announced that some 100,000 civilians are still stuck in the major port city. Situation on the ground, international reactions, sanctions, Europe 1 takes stock of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
It is the 28th day of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Mariupol (south) was hit Tuesday by two “superpowered bombs”, said the municipality without being able to give an assessment. According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, some 100,000 civilians are still stuck in the major port city, where Russian tanks entered after weeks of shelling.
Three humanitarian corridors were to be opened between the city of Zaporizhia and localities near Mariupol, which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of “simply destroying”. The town of Avdiivka, very close to Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, was the target on Monday evening of a Russian attack which left at least five people dead and 19 injured, a Ukrainian official announced on Tuesday. .
100,000 people besieged in Mariupol
Pending the possible beginning of a ceasefire, “nearly 100,000 people” are still blocked “in inhuman conditions” in the ruins of Mariupol, “in a state of total siege, without food, without water, without medicine, under constant bombardment,” Volodymyr Zelensky lamented in a video released early Wednesday.
New bombings in kyiv
In kyiv, where the curfew introduced Monday evening ended Wednesday morning, at least four people were injured in Russian bombardments, according to the town hall of the capital. They hit a shopping center, houses and apartment buildings.
In a video posted on Telegram on Tuesday evening, the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff called on Westerners to deliver “offensive weapons”, a “means of deterrence” against Moscow, before an extraordinary NATO summit on Thursday, at which Volodymyr Zelensky will address via videoconference.
“We will never surrender”, says the mayor of Kyiv
“In the worst case, we will die, but we will never surrender,” Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko exclaimed on Tuesday before the Council of Europe as Russian troops attempted to encircle his city. The Ukrainian capital has been under a new curfew since Monday evening and until Wednesday morning, the third since the start of the war. At least one person was killed Tuesday in a drone attack on a building in kyiv, AFP noted on the spot.
Russian offensive ‘bogged down’, says Scholz
The Russian offensive in Ukraine “is getting bogged down despite all the destruction it causes day after day”, Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday. The “truth is that war destroys Ukraine but that by waging war, (Vladimir) Putin also destroys the future of Russia”, added the German Chancellor before the Bundestag, assuring that kyiv could “count on the ‘help’ from Germany.
A senior Pentagon official said Tuesday evening that, “for the first time”, the Russians had gone “a little below 90% of their available combat power” massed in Belarus and on the Russian-Ukrainian border. However, the New York Timesrelying on Pentagon sources, explains that the loss of 10% of an army’s military personnel (dead or wounded) strongly hampers its ability to fight.
Moscow accuses Washington of obstructing negotiations
Moscow on Wednesday accused the United States of obstructing “difficult” Russian-Ukrainian negotiations, saying Washington’s goal was to “dominate” the world order, including through sanctions. “The negotiations are difficult, the Ukrainian side is constantly changing its position. It is difficult to get rid of the impression that our American colleagues are holding them by the hand,” according to Moscow.
The Ukrainian side also described the talks as “difficult”, stressing for its part that it had “clear and principled positions”.
New Western sanctions in sight
Westerners will announce Thursday “new sanctions against Russia and strengthen” those that already exist, the White House announced on Tuesday. Washington also assured that the United States had “not seen China supplying military equipment to Russia” since President Joe Biden’s recent exchange with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, while assuring that Washington “continued to watch” for such potential actions by Beijing.
French President Emmanuel Macron for his part denounced the use by Russia “of explosive weapons in densely populated areas”, considering that “everything in the aggression of Ukraine by Russia is unacceptable”.
Zelensky calls for UN reform says ready for compromise
Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday denounced the functioning of the UN, which was unable to prevent the invasion, and called for profound reforms of this institution, in a video conference before the Japanese Parliament. The Ukrainian president must also address the French parliament during the day.
The Ukrainian president also said he was ready to discuss with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin a “compromise” on Donbass and Crimea to “stop the war”, believing however that any compromise should be ratified by the Ukrainians by referendum. The Kremlin ruled for its part on Tuesday that the ongoing talks with kyiv were not “substantial” enough.
The Ukrainian army is carrying out counter-offensives which have made it possible, in the south in particular, to regain ground on the Russian troops, assured the Pentagon spokesman on Tuesday. The Ukrainian military “is now, in certain situations, on the offensive,” John Kirby told CNN, saying they “are chasing the Russians and pushing them out of areas where the Russians were in the past.”
Beijing opposes Moscow’s exclusion from the G20
China spoke out on Wednesday against excluding Russia from the next G20 summit, envisaged by Washington after the invasion of Ukraine. “Russia is an important member country (of the G20), no member has the right to expel another country,” a spokesman for Chinese diplomacy told reporters.
Russia will only use nuclear weapons in case of “existential threat”
Moscow will use nuclear weapons in Ukraine only in the event of an “existential threat” against Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told CNN International on Tuesday. “We have an internal security doctrine, it’s public, you can read there all the reasons for the use of nuclear weapons. And if it’s an existential threat to our country, then they can be used in agreement with our doctrine,” he said.