Situation at noon: Russia and Ukraine negotiate – while fighting continues
Dusseldorf Great expectations accompany the negotiations between Ukraine and Russia, which continued on Monday morning. The negotiators have been speaking via video link since 9.30 a.m. Central European Time. It is the fourth meeting in a larger group.
Russian foreign policy expert Leonid Slutsky said on state television: “If we compare the positions of the two delegations today with those at the beginning, we will see significant progress.” Slutsky is part of the Russian delegation.
The Ukrainian side has formulated clear expectations as to what goals it has for the negotiations. It is about peace, a ceasefire, the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops and security guarantees for Ukraine, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podoliak tweeted on Monday morning.
At the same time, he admitted that the talks were difficult. The Russian authorities had not made any statements about the content of the negotiations directly before the talks began.
Zelensky wants to meet Putin
Communication with the Russian side is difficult, but progressing, Podoljak wrote on Twitter during the negotiations. He also posted a photo of the talks.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky sees the organization of a meeting between the heads of state of the two countries as an important task in the negotiations between Ukraine and Russia. “Our delegation has a clear task – to do everything so that a meeting of the presidents takes place,” said Zelensky in a video speech published on Monday night.
Kremlin spokesman Peskov had not ruled out a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Zelensky on Russian state television.
Zelensky wants to negotiate directly with Putin
More and more Russian oligarchs are now campaigning for peace in Ukraine. The Russian coal and fertilizer entrepreneur Andrei Melnitschenko called for an end to the fighting.
“The events in Ukraine are really tragic. We urgently need peace,” the billionaire told Reuters in an email delivered via a spokesman on Monday. Like many other oligarchs who have made similar statements, Melnichenko is on the sanctions list of western countries.
The stock exchanges also showed the importance attached to the negotiations. The German stock market index rose on Monday morning, and speculation on the failure of Russian deliveries on the commodity markets eased. “While the Russia-Ukraine conflict is not going away any time soon, any announcement of a return to the negotiating table calms nerves,” said Vijay L. Bhambwani, chief analyst at research house Equitymaster.
Ten escape corridors are intended to enable civilians to escape from the combat zones
But hopes could be deceptive. The talks are made more difficult by the fact that the attacks on Ukrainian cities continue with undiminished severity. According to Ukrainian state television, at least two people were killed and three others injured in an attack in Kyiv in the morning. According to the Kiev city administration, Russian troops are said to have fired on the Antonov aircraft plant.
The situation in the particularly hard-fought eastern Ukraine was unclear. Russia reported land gains there on Monday. The Russian Defense Ministry said Russian forces advanced 11 kilometers in 24 hours and reached five towns north of the embattled port of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov.
The General Staff of the Ukrainian Army had previously said Russian troops had not made any major gains in territory despite escalating attacks westward in the previous 24 hours.
The head of the Russian National Guard, Viktor Solotov, admitted that the military operation in Ukraine is progressing more slowly than planned. The statements by President Putin’s confidant are the strongest public confirmation yet from Russian leaders that things are not going according to plan in Ukraine. “I would like to say, yes, not everything is going as quickly as we would like,” Solotov said in comments on the National Guard website.
>> Read also: All current developments related to the war in Ukraine in the Newsblog
According to Ukrainian sources, more than 2,500 residents have been killed in Mariupol. This is what the adviser to the Ukrainian President Zelensky, Olexii Arestovych, said in a television interview. Arestovych says he is referring to information provided by the Mariupol city administration. The Russian side, on the other hand, repeatedly emphasizes that they are only targeting military installations, not civilians.
According to the pro-Russian separatists, at least 20 people were killed by debris from a Ukrainian rocket in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk. Children are among the victims. Nine people were injured, said the leader of the separatists in the Donetsk region, Denis Puschilin. The projectile was intercepted over the city, debris then fell in the center, reported the agency Tass. The information could not be verified.
In order to get civilians out of the danger zone, the escape corridors are to be expanded. Ten such corridors are said to have been agreed between the warring parties for Monday. This affects, among other things, cities near the capital Kyiv and in the Luhansk region in the east, says Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Wereshchuk in a video message. Another attempt is also being made to bring aid convoys with food and medicine from Berdyansk in the south-east of Ukraine to the encircled Mariupol.
In Mariupol in particular, protective corridors that had already been agreed on repeatedly failed. Ukraine had accused each other of violating the agreed ceasefire.
According to unconfirmed reports, the federal government wants to equip the air force with F-35 stealth jets, among other things, as part of a modernization program worth billions. A government spokesman said in Berlin that the US F35 fighter aircraft could be used by the Bundeswehr as a carrier of nuclear sharing. However, he did not want to specifically confirm the purchase of the machines for the German armed forces.
Russia: Haven’t asked China for military support
After a military training area just a few kilometers from the Polish border was bombed on Sunday, concerns are growing that there could be rocket attacks in neighboring countries. Experts warn that this could contribute to an escalation of the war – even if it were only accidental.
The British Health Secretary told the BBC that this was “not impossible” but “very unlikely at this point in time”. At the same time, he made it clear that a response from NATO would then be unavoidable. “We made it very clear to the Russians before the start of this conflict that even if a single Russian toe enters NATO territory, this will be considered an act of war,” he emphasized.
Russia has not asked China for military support, Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. Russia has sufficient internal firepower to meet its goals in Ukraine on time and in full.
US officials, who declined to be named, said Russia had asked China for military equipment. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has already called this US disinformation.
Communist China has so far tried to maintain a more neutral stance in the conflict over Ukraine. Direct support for ally Russia is likely to bring China into conflict with supporters of Ukraine – and these Western states represent the bulk of the global economy.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has already warned the Chinese government of serious consequences if China helps Russia to circumvent international sanctions. Sullivan plans to meet with China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, in Rome on Monday for talks.
At least 150,000 Ukrainian refugees already in Germany
More and more refugees are also arriving in Germany. Since the Russian attack began on February 24, almost 150,000 people have come to Germany from Ukraine, the Federal Ministry of the Interior announced on Monday. But it is probably already significantly more, since the ministry’s figures only include those refugees who have been identified by the federal police.
There are no fixed border controls at the internal EU borders and Ukrainians are allowed to enter the country without a visa. It is also not recorded how many of them may be traveling on from Germany to friends or relatives in other countries.
According to the UN, around 2.7 million people from Ukraine have already sought refuge abroad. Most initially stayed in neighboring countries. Poland is the most affected. According to the government, almost 1.8 million Ukrainian refugees have now arrived in Poland.
This is how the Handelsblatt reports on the Ukraine war:
The war in Ukraine is also overshadowing the presentation of the budget by Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP), which is planned for next Wednesday. In the current year, there should already be 99.7 billion euros in new loans in the core budget due to the corona crisis. In addition, however, the planned 100 billion euro special fund for defense policy due to the war in Ukraine is to be added.
It is said that it has already been agreed that Lindner will bring in a supplementary budget parallel to the ongoing parliamentary deliberations, which will take into account the effects of the Ukraine war on the economy and consumers and other support measures by the federal government. Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) had already announced relief due to rising energy prices.
According to a report in the “Bild” newspaper, Lindner is planning a state fuel subsidy. The total amount should therefore be deducted when paying. The chairman of the FDP parliamentary group, Christian Dürr, told the broadcasters RTL/ntv on Monday: “The goal must be that we get the price of petrol in Germany below two euros again.”
With agency material
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