Home International War in Ukraine: truce in Mariupol, start of Russian withdrawal in Chernobyl

War in Ukraine: truce in Mariupol, start of Russian withdrawal in Chernobyl

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday that he did not believe Russia’s promises to reduce its military presence in kyiv, and that his army was preparing for new fighting in eastern Ukraine. Russia says nothing “promising” came out of the talks.

THE ESSENTIAL

Hopes of a breakthrough to end the conflict – in the wake of discussions held on Tuesday in Istanbul between the belligerents – were dashed on Wednesday evening, the spokesman for the Russian presidency Dmitry Peskov stating in particular that he could not “report on anything very promising or any kind of breakthrough.” For his part, Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday that he did not believe Russia’s promises to reduce its military presence in kyiv. Situation on the ground, international reactions, sanctions: update on the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers may meet soon

The Russian Foreign Ministers, Sergei Lavrov, and Ukrainian, Dmytro Kuleba, could meet “within one or two weeks” assured Thursday their Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Cavusoglu. “There could be a higher-level meeting, at least between the ministers within a week or two,” Mevlüt Cavusoglu said in a television interview, adding that it was “impossible to put a date forward” and without location accuracy.

Shooting at a humanitarian convoy near Cherniguiv, one dead

One person was killed and four injured in shootings at a convoy of five buses bringing volunteers to the besieged city of Cherniguiv in northern Ukraine, a Ukrainian official said Thursday.

“Russian fighters fired on a convoy of volunteers near Cherniguiv. Five buses heading for the city to evacuate civilians were fired upon,” said Lyudmyla Denissova, human rights officer at Parliament. “One person is dead, four are seriously injured,” she said.

She accused Russian troops of “not leaving the slightest possibility of evacuating civilians from besieged Cherniguiv, leaving tens of thousands of civilians without food, without water, without heating”. After Mariupol in the south, Cherniguiv, which had 280,000 inhabitants before the war, is the city hardest hit by bombing since the start of the war launched by Moscow on February 24.

The mayor of the city, Vladyslav Atrochenko, said Tuesday that 350 people had been killed there for more than a month, mostly civilians. Russia promised on Tuesday to “radically” reduce its military operations in the direction of kyiv and Cherniguiv, after Russian-Ukrainian talks in Istanbul.

“The enemy is moving into the territory of the Cherniguiv region. Can we call it a withdrawal of troops? I’m not sure. At a minimum, it’s a regroupment (…) We must not lower the guard,” regional governor Viatcheslav Tchaous said in a video on his Telegram account on Thursday.

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Truce Thursday in Mariupol

Russia’s Defense Ministry announced a ‘regime of silence’, or local ceasefire, on Wednesday evening from 10 a.m. Thursday (0700 GMT) in the besieged Ukrainian port of Mariupol to evacuate civilians. . This measure should make it possible to open a humanitarian corridor to the Ukrainian city of Zaporozhye with a stopover via the port of Berdiansk, under Russian control.

“For this humanitarian operation to succeed, we propose to carry it out with the direct participation of representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)”, added the ministry in a statement.

kyiv sends 45 buses to Mariupol for civilians

kyiv is preparing to send 45 buses on Thursday to evacuate civilians from Mariupol, a besieged city in southeastern Ukraine where Moscow has announced a truce, announced Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister. “Last night, we were informed by the International Committee of the Red Cross that Russia was ready to open access to humanitarian convoys from Mariupol”, in the direction of the city of Zaporozhye, via Berdyansk, she said. in a video posted on Telegram. “On the Mariupol corridor we send 45 buses,” she added.

Nothing “promising” in the talks

Appearing to go back on announcements made by Moscow following discussions between the belligerents on Tuesday in Istanbul, the spokesman for the Russian presidency Dmitry Peskov said that he could not “report anything very promising or some kind of breakthrough”.

“For the time being, we cannot talk about progress and we are not going to do it,” he insisted on Wednesday, specifying that there was “no progress” either in the organization of a possible meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky.

“We don’t believe anyone,” says Zelensky

Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman Oleksandre Motuzyanyk had earlier stressed that he had noted the departure of certain units from kyiv and Cherniguiv, but “no massive withdrawal of Russian troops from these areas”, contrary to the promise made. the day before by Moscow to “radically reduce” its military activity in this area.

On this subject, “we do not believe anyone, not a single beautiful sentence”, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in the evening, adding that Russian forces were regrouping to attack the Donbass region. “We won’t give in. We will fight for every meter of our territory,” he said.

Beginning of withdrawal at Chernobyl

Russian forces are beginning to withdraw from the Chernobyl nuclear site, which they took control of on the first day of the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, a senior Pentagon official said on Wednesday.

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The Russian army has started to withdraw from Gostomel airport, northwest of kyiv, and “Chernobyl is another area where they are starting to reposition themselves, leaving Chernobyl to go to Belarus”, told the press this senior official having requested anonymity.

Moscow accused of firing phosphorus shells

Ukrainian authorities have accused Russian forces of firing phosphorus shells at the small town of Marinka in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday.

“War crimes” in Ukraine

The High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations, Michelle Bachelet, spoke on Wednesday of “war crimes” committed in Ukraine in a long indictment against the actions carried out essentially by the Russian army. She left no doubt that she believes Russia is the main culprit even though she has not fully cleared the Ukrainian forces.

A little earlier, the UN Human Rights Council had appointed Erik Mose, a Norwegian judge who has sat on several international tribunals, to lead the investigation into the violations committed by Russia in Ukraine.

Tatars demand return of Crimea

Representatives of the Crimean Tatars demanded on Wednesday that the return to Ukraine of this peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014 be one of the conditions set by kyiv in negotiations with Moscow to end the armed conflict.

In the military field

The city of Cherniguiv (north) was bombed “all night”, announced the governor of the region, despite the announcement made the day before by Moscow of a reduction in its military activity around kyiv and this city. In Irpin, which is now “100% controlled by the Ukrainian army”, at least 200 people have died since the start of the conflict, according to its mayor.

In the east, the Ukrainian army regained control of a strategic highway linking Kharkiv to Chuguiv, and Russian forces left the town of Trostyanets (northeast) after a month of occupation. In Mariupol (south), Russian forces “deliberately bombed a building of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC),” a Ukrainian official said on Wednesday, without being able to give an assessment. The town hall for its part denounced the forced evacuation to Russia of a maternity hospital in the city.

South Ossetian separatists want to join Russia

The leader of South Ossetia, a pro-Russian territory in the Caucasus that seceded from Georgia, planned on Wednesday to organize a popular consultation to be attached to Russia.

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