Talks begin as Russia plans attacks

Heavy Fighting in Ukraine Damages Prospects for Russia Talks

epa09788439 A Ukrainian serviceman and his dog stands in a position looking at smoke from a burned petroleum storage depot behind after a Russian missile attacked near Kiev, Ukraine, 27 February 2022. Russian troops entered Ukraine on 24 February prompting the country's president to declare martial law and triggering a series of announcements by Western countries to impose severe economic sanctions on Russia. EPA-EFE/ALISA YAKUBOVYCH

Ukraine entered into talks with Moscow in a long-shot bid to end President Vladimir Putin’s invasion, as the Russian army’s offer of a humanitarian corridor out of Kyiv raised fears that it was planning a full-scale assault on the capital. 

By Daryna Krasnolutska

Word Count: 453
With battles in the suburbs of Kyiv and heavy fighting reported around the key cities of Kharkiv and Chernihiv, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy warned that Monday will be critical for Ukraine’s fate.“They are fighting against everyone and everything alive, against kindergartens, against residential buildings and ambulances,” Zelenskiy said of Russian forces in an address Sunday. Russia says that it is only attacking military targets.Five days in, and the stakes were rising ever higher for Russia, too. A wall of western sanctions imposed over the weekend targeting Russian banks, companies and individuals led to a collapse in the ruble and prompted the central bank to impose capital controls to try and avert investor panic and shore up the economy.

Read more: Russia Erects Financial Defenses to Shield Economy

In Ukraine, a delegation led by Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov met with Russian counterparts on the northern border with Belarus on Monday, the first opportunity for negotiations since Russia instigated the hostilities with a multipronged attack on its neighbor on Feb. 24.

Human shields

While Zelensky said that there were no preconditions, he also expressed skepticism the talks would yield results. The low profile of the Russian delegation, at deputy ministerial level, further weighed on expectations of any breakthrough.

On the ground, the fighting continued unabated. Russian troops seized the port of Berdyansk, while the Washington Post reported that Belarus was preparing to send troops into Ukraine in support of Russia as soon as Monday.

The Russian army told Kyiv residents that “all civilians located there can freely leave” the capital by a single highway, Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said, while warning that the Ukrainian authorities were using people as human shields.

Zelenskiy’s office responded by dismissing as fake news the notion that Kyiv is surrounded by Russian forces.

“Russians can only dream about it,” the presidential office said in a statement. “Kyiv is completely controlled by the Ukrainian forces, arrivals to Kyiv are available. Yes, in some suburbs the confrontation continues, there were heavy battles. But we will not give up the capital.”

The U.K. Defence Ministry said in a tweet that the bulk of Putin’s ground forces remained more than 30 kilometers (18 miles) to the north of Kyiv, “having been slowed by Ukrainian forces defending Hostomel airfield.” Despite heavy fighting in the key cities of Chernihiv and Kharkiv, both cities remain under Ukrainian control, it said.


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  • Rencia Cloete says:

    Its just unbelievable.
    How many people must die for the actions of a madman!!
    And I am ashamed again, to name myself South-African.
    Ramaphosa, you shame me! You may NOT condone war in my name!

    • rodbraude says:

      I agree with those sentiments Rencia!! Yet again the ANC is putting its own selfish needs above those of normal people and the Ukrainians. CR dares to call us fellow citizens and comrades, yet he and his clan of bandits are as hypocritical as Putin himself!

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