There are “fundamental contradictions” in talks aimed at ending Russia’s military attack on Ukraine but compromise is possible, a member of the Ukrainian delegation and presidential aide, Mykhailo Podolyak, said Tuesday.
“We’ll continue tomorrow. A very difficult and viscous negotiation process. There are fundamental contradictions. But there is certainly room for compromise,” Podolyak tweeted.
Talks resumed Tuesday, with both sides having signalled progress.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the Russians “have already begun to understand that they will not achieve anything by war” and called Monday’s talks “pretty good”.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday at a press conference that “talks are now continuing on giving Ukraine neutral military status, in the context of security guarantees for all participants in this process”, as well as on “demilitarising Ukraine”, Interfax news agency reported.
Lavrov is set to meet his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Moscow on Wednesday to discuss the Ukraine conflict, the Russian ministry said.
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President Joe Biden called Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin a “war criminal” on Wednesday over his bloody invasion of neighboring Ukraine.
“I think he is a war criminal,” Biden told reporters.
The European Court of Human Rights, the judicial arm of the Council of Europe which Russia exited Wednesday, said it was putting on hold all petitions against Moscow.
“The court has decided to suspend the examination of all applications against the Russian federation pending its consideration of the legal consequences of this resolution for the work of the court,” it said in a statement, referring to the resolution that saw Moscow leave the pan-European rights body.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday the alliance was looking to substantially bolster forces on its eastern flank after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but would not send troops to the war-torn country.
NATO member Poland on Tuesday suggested the alliance deploy an armed “peace mission” in Ukraine to provide humanitarian aid in the face of Moscow’s devastating onslaught.
“We support peace efforts, we call on Russia, on President (Vladimir) Putin to withdraw its forces, but we have no plans of deploying NATO troops on the ground in Ukraine,” Stoltenberg told journalists after a meeting of NATO defence ministers.
NATO has already rebuffed pleas from non-member state Ukraine to intervene in the conflict, including by imposing a no-fly zone to help halt Russian bombings.
Russia’s media watchdog Roskomnadzor on Wednesday blocked access to the BBC’s main news website, with Moscow’s foreign ministry warning of more retaliatory measures against the media.
“I think this is only the beginning of retaliatory measures to the information war unleashed by the West against Russia,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Telegram. Roskomnadzor listed the BBC News website as blocked in Russia.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Russia on Wednesday to stop the military actions it started in Ukraine on Feb. 24.
“The Russian Federation shall immediately suspend the military operations that it commenced on Feb 24, 2022 in the territory of Ukraine,” the judges said.
The judges added Russia must also ensure that other forces under its control or supported by Moscow should not continue the military operation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that the West would not succeed in what he called its attempt to achieve global dominance and dismember Russia.
If the West thought that Russia would step back, it did not understand Russia, Putin said on the 21st day of the war against Ukraine.
“Behind the hypocritical talk and today’s actions of the so-called collective West are hostile geopolitical goals. They just don’t want a strong and sovereign Russia,” Putin said.
He said Russia was ready to discuss Ukraine’s neutral status in talks aimed at ending hostilities, but it would still meet the objectives of its military operation, which was “going to plan”.
US national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke Wednesday with General Nikolay Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Security Council, in the first high-level contact between Washington and Moscow since Russia invaded Ukraine, the White House said.
Sullivan reiterated US opposition to the invasion, which began on February 24, and told Patrushev “that if Russia is serious about diplomacy then Moscow should stop attacking Ukrainian cities and towns,” the statement said.
President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that his military campaign in Ukraine was a success and that he would not allow the country to become a “springboard” used to threaten Russia.
“The operation is developing successfully and in strict accordance with plans,” Putin said at a televised government meeting, adding Russia had no choice but to send in troops. “We will not allow Ukraine to serve as a springboard for aggressive actions against Russia.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will address Israel’s parliament via video link on Sunday, as the Jewish state tries to walk a delicate line between Kyiv and Moscow.
“It will be an honour for me and the Knesset to host President Zelensky’s address… at this difficult time facing the Ukrainian people,” said Mickey Levy, the speaker of the Israeli parliament.
Zelensky will address an extraordinary session of the Knesset at 6:00 pm (1600 GMT) on Sunday.
Israel has attempted to balance relations since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, caught between its close ally Washington and Moscow, which has forces in neighbouring Syria.
Israel is reliant on coordination with Russia to carry out military strikes in Syria.
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine compared the horror of Russia’s war in his country to Pearl Harbor and the 9/11 attacks in an address to the US Congress on Wednesday.
“This is a terror that Europe has not seen, has not seen for 80 years,” Zelensky said.
Ukraine said Wednesday it wants its security to be guaranteed by international forces and rejected proposals pushed by Russia for it to adopt a neutral status comparable to Austria or Sweden.
“Ukraine is now in a direct state of war with Russia. As a result, the model can only be ‘Ukrainian’ and only on legally verified security guarantees,” its top negotiator Mikhailo Podolyak said in comments published by President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office.
He called for a legally binding security agreement, signed by international partners, who would “not stand aside in the event of an attack on Ukraine, as they do today.”
The Kremlin earlier Wednesday said that a neutral Ukraine along the lines of Sweden or Austria was being discussed at talks with Kyiv to end three weeks of fighting in Ukraine.
Russia said on Wednesday that a neutral Ukraine with its own army along the lines of Austria or Sweden was being looked at as a possible compromise in peace talks with Kyiv.
“This is a variant that is currently being discussed and which could really be seen a compromise,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by RIA news agency.
He was speaking nearly three weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, in what it calls a special military operation.
Peskov was commenting on remarks from Vladimir Medinsky, Russia’s chief negotiator, who earlier told state TV: “Ukraine is offering an Austrian or Swedish version of a neutral demilitarized state, but at the same time a state with its own army and navy.”
Ukraine on Wednesday dismissed Russian proposals to turn it into a neutral state, as the United States readied a huge package of military aid ahead of a historic address to Congress by Kyiv’s defiant leader.
On the ground, Russian rocket fire hit a train station in southern Ukraine used by thousands of fleeing refugees and fresh blasts hit the capital, which was under a total curfew.
Regional officials reported no casualties as Russian strikes blew out windows at the railway station in Zaporizhzhia, where people have been arriving from the besieged city of Mariupol.
Some 20,000 residents have been allowed to leave Mariupol. But exhausted, shivering evacuees speak of harrowing escape journeys and rotting corpses littering the streets.
Ukrainian nurse Oksana Martynenko and her colleagues have 21 babies to look after at a makeshift clinic in a residential basement on the outskirts of Kyiv – all of them surrogates whose parents cannot come to collect them because of the war.
All the while she has her own family to worry about. Her children are in the region around Sumy, a city some 200 miles (320 km) east of the capital which has been bombarded by Russian forces.
It is too dangerous for Martynenko to try to reach them, so they are living with their grandmother.
“We haven’t been able to get home since Feb. 24,” she told Reuters on Tuesday, as she changed one of the baby’s diapers.
Peter Maurer, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), has arrived in Kyiv on a planned five-day visit to Ukraine to insist on greater humanitarian access and protection of civilians, the organisation said on Wednesday.
“After enormous suffering by the civilian population and after our intensive virtual conversations with the Russian and Ukraine governments, I find it utterly important that we have person-to-person contacts, that we are able to go in-depth into the understanding of neutral, independent and impartial humanitarian work, and that our licence to operate in the country is fully understood by the authorities,” Maurer said in a statement that added he continued his regular humanitarian dialogue with government officials in Moscow as well.
- Ukraine has already been battered by the war triggered by Russian invasion. And now, the doctors fear a surge not only in cases of COVID-19, but also other infectious diseases like polio, cholera and measles.
- Kate White, an emergency program manager for Doctors Without Borders, told CNN that Ukraine already had low vaccination rates against those diseases.
- “In terms of what we call vaccine-preventable diseases, the status in Ukraine was that the population was not vaccinated to the extent which you would get herd immunity like you would in many other European countries or in the US,” White said.
- She added that the additional strain on Ukraine’s healthcare system due to the war will further lead to a huge drop in routine immunisation numbers.
- France on Wednesday called for the protection of journalists covering Russia’s war in Ukraine, following the deaths of a Fox News cameraman and a Ukrainian producer near Kyiv.
- “I recall the obligation incumbent on armed forces to protect journalists in line with international humanitarian law,” Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement.
- “I condemn any action targeting them with the greatest firmness,” he said, adding that “these events illustrate the extreme danger in the Ukrainian theatre today”.
- Fox News said Tuesday that French-Irish cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski and producer Oleksandra Kuvshynova died and correspondent Benjamin Hall was wounded when their vehicle was struck Monday by incoming fire in Horenka, outside the Ukrainian capital.
- Le Drian singled out Zakrzewski as someone “who covered a great number of theatres of war as a passionate fighter for the right to inform”.
- Russian forces on Wednesday targeted the southern Ukraine city of Zaporizhzhia, where thousands of refugees are taking shelter after escaping the besieged port city of Mariupol, regional officials said.
- “Civilian objects have been bombed for the first time in Zaporizhzhia,” the regional governor Alexander Starukh wrote on the Telegram social media platform.
- “The rockets landed in the area of the Zaporozhye-2 railway station,” he added, specifying that there were no casualties.
- The city of Zaporizhzhia is the first safe port of call for those fleeing Mariupol.
- Several explosions rocked Kyiv early Wednesday, according to AFP journalists in the city, with emergency services saying two residential buildings were damaged and two people wounded.
- The blasts came as Russia intensifies attacks on the Ukrainian capital, which was placed under curfew late Tuesday due to what its mayor called a “difficult and dangerous moment”.
- At least three loud explosions were heard just after dawn in the western part of the city, and thick clouds of smoke billowed into the sky.
- “Two residential buildings were damaged in an overnight bombardment in the central part of Kyiv, Shevchenkivskyi district. Two people reported wounded, 35 evacuated,” the Ukrainian state emergency service said on Telegram.
- Images released by the emergency services showed the top corner of one building had been partially destroyed, while the other had damage and scorch marks to its roof and upper part.
- The UN’s top court is set to rule Wednesday on Ukraine’s urgent request for Russia to immediately halt its invasion, with Kyiv claiming that Moscow falsely accused its pro-Western neighbour of genocide to justify the war.
- The International Court of Justice will hand down its judgement at 1500 GMT in The Hague after Ukraine filed an urgent application shortly after Russia’s attack on February 24.
- Ukraine accuses Russia of illegally trying to justify its war by falsely alleging genocide in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
- Kyiv wants the court to take provisional measures ordering Russia to “immediately suspend the military operations.”
- “Russia must be stopped, and the court has a role to play in stopping that,” Ukraine’s representative Anton Korynevych told the ICJ.
- India taking up Russia’s offer of discounted crude oil would not be a violation of American sanctions, the White House has said.
- “Our message to any country continues to be that abide by the sanctions that we have put in place and recommended,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at her daily news conference on Tuesday.
- Asked about a report on the possibility that India could take up the Russian offer of discounted crude oil, Ms Psaki said, “I don’t believe this would be violating that (sanctions).”
- “But also think about where you want to stand when history books are written at this moment in time. Support for the Russian leadership is support for an invasion that obviously is having a devastating impact,” Ms Psaki added.
- The U.S. Senate on Tuesday unanimously passed a resolution condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin as a war criminal, a rare show of unity in the deeply divided Congress.
- The resolution, introduced by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and backed by senators of both parties, encouraged the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague and other nations to target the Russian military in any investigation of war crimes committed during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
- “All of us in this chamber joined together, with Democrats and Republicans, to say that Vladimir Putin cannot escape accountability for the atrocities committed against the Ukrainian people,” Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a speech on the Senate floor ahead of the vote.
- Russia calls its actions a “special military operation” to demilitarise and “denazify” Ukraine. Putin has also called the country a U.S. colony with a puppet regime and no tradition of independent statehood.
- A Russian editor who protested Moscow’s military action in Ukraine during a prime-time news broadcast on state TV was fined and released on Tuesday following a court hearing.
- A judge with Moscow’s Ostankinsky district court ordered state TV employee Marina Ovsyannikova to pay a fine of 30,000 rubles ($280, 247 euros) after she barged onto the set of Russia’s most-watched evening news broadcast holding a poster reading “No War”.