Russia and Ukraine to hold talks

14 March 2022, 03:02 pm | Updated: 07 December 2023, 01:50 pm

Russia and Ukraine to hold talks

Russia and Ukraine were set for a third round of talks Monday as Moscow's invading forces maintain their devastating assaults across the former Soviet state.

The discussions come as Russian troops edge closer to Kyiv and keep up their relentless bombardment of the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, where nearly 2,200 people have been killed in the onslaught, according to local officials.

Ukrainian and Russian representatives will meet via videoconference Monday, a Ukrainian presidential adviser and a Kremlin spokesman both said.

According to Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamia, the talks will begin at 0820 GMT.

“And our goal is that in this struggle, in this difficult negotiating work, Ukraine will get the necessary result... for peace and for security,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said early Monday, adding that both sides speak every day.

He said the aim was “to do everything to ensure a meeting of presidents. A meeting that I am sure people are waiting for”.

“We see significant progress,” Leonid Slutsky, a senior member of Russia’s negotiating team, told state-run television network RT Sunday.

Talks between Kyiv and Moscow have yet to yield a ceasefire and Russian forces have shown no sign of easing their onslaught.

In an attack dangerously close to NATO member Poland, Russian air strikes Sunday on a Ukrainian military training ground near the border killed at least 35 people and wounded more than 130.

Zelensky on Monday renewed his call for NATO to impose a no-fly zone following the attack near the western city of Lviv.

“If you do not close our sky, it is only a matter of time before Russian missiles fall on your territory, on NATO territory, on the homes of NATO citizens,” Zelensky said in a video address.

Washington and its EU allies have sent funds and military aid to Ukraine and imposed unprecedented economic sanctions on Russia. But the United States has ruled out any direct intervention, with President Joe Biden warning that NATO fighting Russia “is World War III”.

Biden spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron Sunday and the two leaders “underscored their commitment to hold Russia accountable for its actions and support the government and people of Ukraine,” the White House said.

Black Sea blockade

In its latest intelligence update Sunday, Britain’s defence ministry said Russia had established a naval blockade on the Black Sea coast, "effectively isolating Ukraine from international maritime trade”.

“Russian naval forces are also continuing to conduct missile strikes against targets throughout Ukraine,” it said.

But in a sign Moscow may have underestimated the challenge it would face, US officials told media Russia had asked China for military and economic aid for the war.

Moscow also asked Beijing for economic assistance against the crippling sanctions imposed against it, the New York Times said, citing anonymous officials.

A spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Washington told multiple outlets “I've never heard of that” when asked about the alleged requests.

The reports came hours after the White House said National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan would meet top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi in Rome on Monday.

US diplomat Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly asking for military help could be a “defining moment” for China's Xi Jinping.

“To do so means China would open itself to substantial sanctions and make itself a pariah; to refuse would keep open the possibility of at least selective cooperation with US and West,” he tweeted.

Beijing has declined to directly condemn Moscow's invasion, and has repeatedly blamed NATO's “eastward expansion” for worsening tensions between Russia and Ukraine, echoing the Kremlin's prime security grievance.

The latest fighting in Kyiv's suburbs left a US journalist dead--the first foreign reporter killed since Russia's invasion on February 24.

Award-winning video documentary maker Brent Renaud, was shot dead, and an American photojournalist with him, Juan Arredondo, was wounded Sunday in Irpin, medics and witnesses said.

Category : International