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The Kremlin today accused Ukraine of abandoning promises made during the peace talks, which it said would have a negative impact on the talks, at a time when the strategic city of Mariupol is collapsing, and Russia and Ukraine have agreed to open safer routes for civilians to leave.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the pace of talks was no longer adequate and that the ball was in Kiev’s court after Russia handed over a document to Ukraine. He said Moscow was waiting for a response. On Tuesday, Ukraine’s chief negotiator said it was difficult to predict when peace talks would resume.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Russia had lost faith in the Ukrainian negotiations, with Washington and NATO managing operations in Ukraine, not its president Volodymyr Zhelensky. “There is no need to talk about Selensky’s independence now or before,” he said, adding that he did not control the situation in the country. A spokesman for the RT Arabiya website said: “We have long since lost faith in them … from the office of someone who calls himself the President of Ukraine and has the appropriate powers, we have been asked to negotiate. The circus, in fact and symbolically, began on the side of the Kiev regime: first they come, then they do not come, sometimes they participate, sometimes they do not.
The strategic city of Mariupol in southeastern Ukraine seems to be on the verge of falling into the hands of the Russians, who are intensifying their military operations in the east and south of the country. “Maybe we will live our last days, otherwise our last days,” said the commander of the Ukrainian soldiers who besieged the city. “The number of enemies is 10 times greater than ours … We appeal to all world leaders to help us,” Sergei Volina of the 36th Marine Regiment wrote on Facebook. We ask them to transfer us to a third country border using the extraction procedure.
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said the Russian military was “concentrating most of its efforts on capturing Mariupol and continuing its operations near the Azovstal steel plant.” Moscow believers in the Donetsk region, where Mariupol is located, said five Ukrainian soldiers guarding the steel plant had laid down their weapons and 140 civilians had been evacuated.
Russia has also issued a new final warning to militants to surrender. Thousands of Russian soldiers, backed by artillery and rockets, are advancing on what Ukrainian authorities describe as the Battle of Donbass. “On the basis of purely humanitarian principles, the Russian Armed Forces re-proposed that the militants and foreign mercenaries of the nationalist battalions begin their military operations on April 20, 1400 Moscow time and lay down their arms,” the Russian Defense Ministry said.
Kiev announced that it had opened a corridor to allow Ukrainian forces to decide to surrender from Mariupol, while Kiev announced that it had reached an agreement with Russia on a humanitarian corridor for civilians to leave the city. “We have reached an agreement in principle on the humanitarian path for women, children and the elderly,” Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vareshchuk said in a telegram.
Kiev hopes to evacuate 6,000 women, children and the elderly from the city if an initial agreement is reached with Russia, according to Mariupol Mayor Vadim Boychenko. Boychenko, who had earlier left the city, said 90 buses were waiting to go to the devastated coastal city in the south of the country.
If the agreement goes into effect, it will be the first provision to provide a safe passage to the public from March 5th.
Controlling it would give Russia full control of the coast of the Azov Sea and a land route connecting the Russian mainland with Crimea-controlled areas of Crimea in the east.
Bombing in the south
Journalists said the bombing had intensified in the south, another front. The villages of Mala Tokmaska and Oregov saw the intensity of the bombing. The Russian Defense Ministry fired “high-precision missiles” from the Russian Air Force and neutralized 13 strongholds of the Ukrainian army, calling for the surrender of Ukrainian fighters. “Do not oppose the rule, the only right decision is to stop military action and lay down arms,” he said in a statement.
“Today, Ukrainians have more fighter jets at their disposal than they did two weeks ago,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters Tuesday. However, the Ukrainian Air Force Command stated that it had not “received new aircraft” but “spare parts for repairing existing aircraft”.
In early March, Poland proposed moving such MiG-29s through a U.S. base, but the United States opposed it, fearing that Moscow would consider it a direct NATO involvement in the conflict.
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