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War in Ukraine: what to remember from the new telephone exchange between Macron and Putin?

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New negotiations begin on Tuesday in Istanbul to try to end the war that has raged in Ukraine since the Russian invasion more than a month ago, while Ukrainian forces claim to resist Russian assaults on major cities and even have regained ground. Europe 1 takes stock of the situation on the 34th day of the Russian invasion.

THE ESSENTIAL

In an attempt to end the war that has raged in Ukraine since the Russian invasion more than a month ago, new negotiations are beginning in Istanbul, Turkey. The Russian and Ukrainian delegations began their negotiations on Tuesday morning, after being welcomed by the Turkish president who urged them to put an end to the “tragedy” constituted by the invasion of Ukraine by troops from Moscow. This is the first time that the delegations of the two countries, who arrived the day before in Turkey, meet after several rounds of talks by videoconference.

No humanitarian operation in Mariupol

The conditions for launching in the coming days a humanitarian operation to help the inhabitants of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, besieged by the Russian army, “are not met at this stage”, announced the Elysée after a meeting between the presidents Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Putin.

The French head of state presented this evacuation operation – proposed by France, Turkey and Greece – to his Russian counterpart who said “he was going to think about it” before giving an answer, added the presidency.

“Ukrainian nationalists” must “lay down their arms”

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Ukrainian forces defending the strategic port of Mariupol, besieged for weeks by troops from Moscow, must surrender to help civilians there.

“To find a solution to the difficult humanitarian situation in this city, Ukrainian nationalist fighters must stop resisting and lay down their arms,” ​​Putin said, according to a Kremlin statement summarizing a telephone exchange with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.

According to this source, Mr. Putin informed his French counterpart of the “measures taken by the Russian army to provide emergency humanitarian aid and ensure the safe evacuation of civilians” in Ukraine.

The Kremlin adds that the two leaders discussed Tuesday’s Russian-Ukrainian talks in Istanbul and issues related to Moscow’s decision to demand payment in rubles for its gas exports. “It is agreed to continue the contacts” between MM. Putin and Macron, the Kremlin added.

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Ukrainian forces claim to be resisting Russian assaults on major cities and even to have regained ground, such as in Irpin, near the capital kyiv. On Monday, the country’s authorities were worried about a worsening situation in the besieged port of Mariupol, where at least 5,000 people have already died.

Russian attacks on Mariupol, “a crime against humanity” for Zelensky

The Russian attacks against Mariupol are a “crime against humanity”, denounced Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday, when a new round of negotiations between Russia and Ukraine opened. “What the Russian troops are doing in Mariupol is a crime against humanity, which is taking place live before the eyes of the planet,” he said during a videoconference intervention in front of the Danish Parliament, accusing Moscow to deliberately bomb civilian shelters in this besieged city.

“They even blow up shelters when they know full well that civilians are hiding there, women, children and old people,” said the Ukrainian president before the Prime Minister and the deputies of the Nordic country.

‘Positive’ signals to Russian-Ukrainian talks, says Zelensky

The signals from Tuesday’s Russian-Ukrainian talks in Turkey are “positive”, but Ukraine does not “intend to relax” its military efforts, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said. In this context, “negotiations (between Kyiv and Moscow) should not be expected to lead to the lifting of sanctions against the Russian Federation. This question can only be considered once the war is over and that we will have recovered what is ours,” said the Ukrainian president.

Resumption of evacuations in Mariupol

Ukraine announced on Tuesday a resumption of evacuations of civilians via three humanitarian corridors, in particular from the besieged city of Mariupol, after a day of suspension for fear of Russian “provocations”. “Three humanitarian corridors have been validated for today,” Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a video posted on Telegram.

kyiv will accept neutrality if it obtains an “international agreement” guaranteeing its security

Ukraine will agree to be neutral if it obtains an “international agreement” to guarantee its security, to which several countries acting as guarantors would be signatories, the chief Ukrainian negotiator indicated on Tuesday after several hours of Russian-Ukrainian talks in Istanbul .

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Chief negotiator David Arakhamia said that after these Russian-Ukrainian talks in Istanbul, the conditions were “sufficient” for a summit meeting between Russian Presidents Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Since the beginning of the Russian invasion on February 24, Moscow has always refused such a proposal from kyiv.

Moscow will “radically” reduce its military activity in Ukraine

Russia on Tuesday promised to “drastically” reduce its military activity in the direction of kyiv and Cherniguiv in Ukraine, after “substantial” Russian-Ukrainian talks in Istanbul.

“As the negotiations on an agreement on the neutrality and non-nuclear status of Ukraine entering a practical dimension (…), it was decided, in order to increase confidence, to drastically reduce military activity in the direction of kyiv and Cherniguiv,” Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin said in Istanbul after the talks.

A recapture of ground by the Ukrainian forces

Ukrainian authorities announced on Monday evening that Irpin, the scene of fierce fighting on the outskirts of kyiv, had been “liberated” from Russian forces. “The occupiers are pushed back from Irpin, pushed back from Kyiv. However, it is too early to talk about security in this part of our region. The fighting continues. Russian troops control the north of the Kyiv region, have resources and manpower,” Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video late Monday.

In the regions of Chernigiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, Donbass, and in southern Ukraine, “the situation remains tense everywhere, very difficult”, he underlined. The Ukrainian general staff said at the start of the night on Tuesday that its troops had “blocked the progress of the enemy in the Chernigiv region”. “The enemy is weakened, disoriented, most have no more logistical support and are cut off from the bulk of the troops,” he noted on the situation of the Russian army in general.

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