Ukraine, Russia resume talks as fighting nears Kyiv

Lviv, Ukraine (AFP) – Russian and Ukrainian negotiators held a new round of talks on Monday, even as Russia’s military continued its punitive campaign. To seize the Ukrainian capital with fighting and artillery fire on the outskirts of Kyiv.

After an air raid on a military base near the Polish border brought the war dangerously close to NATO’s threshold, the talks raised hopes for progress in evacuating civilians from besieged Ukrainian cities. and deliver emergency supplies to areas that lack sufficient food, water and medicine.

“Everyone is waiting for the news. We will report in the evening,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a new video speech.

The negotiations, which are being conducted via video conference, are the fourth round in which high-level officials from the two countries are participating, and the first in a week. Previous discussions took place in person in Belarus, and did not result in breakthroughs to end the fighting in Ukraine or lasting agreements on humanitarian routes.

“Contacts are ongoing, but difficult,” Ukrainian presidential aide Mikhailo Podolak wrote on Twitter with a photo of the two sides meeting via video link. Earlier, Podolak said negotiators would discuss “peace, a ceasefire, the immediate withdrawal of forces and security guarantees.”

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Alerts for air strikes sounded in cities and towns across the country through the night, from near the Russian border in the east to the Carpathian Mountains in the west, as fighting continued in the outskirts of Kyiv. Ukrainian officials have said that Russian forces have bombed several suburbs of the capital, a key political and strategic goal for their invasion.

Ukrainian authorities said two people were killed and seven injured after Russian forces bombed an aircraft factory in Kyiv, sparking a major fire. The Antonov plant is the largest aircraft manufacturer in Ukraine and is famous for the production of many of the largest cargo aircraft in the world.

Authorities said Russian artillery fire hit a nine-storey apartment building in the northern Obolonsky district of the city, killing two other people. Working to rescue the survivors, firefighters painstakingly carried an injured woman on a stretcher away from the still smoking black building.

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Officials said a member of the Brovary city council, east of Kyiv, was killed in fighting there. Local officials said the shells also landed on the Kiev suburbs of Irpin, Bucha and Hostomil, which have seen some of the worst fighting in Russia’s stalled bid to seize the capital.

Air raids were reported across the country, including in the southern city of Mykolaiv, and the northern city of Chernihiv, as heat erupted in most parts of the city. Explosions also occurred during the night around the Russian-occupied port of Kherson on the Black Sea.

And in the eastern city of Kharkiv, firefighters dumped the remains of a four-storey apartment building on a street of apartments and shops. Ukraine’s emergency services said a strike hit the building, leaving piles of wood and metal burning. It was not clear if there were any injuries.

The besieged southern city of Mariupol, where the war caused some of the greatest human suffering, remained isolated despite previous talks about establishing aid convoys or evacuation.

“The city is surrounded and civilians cannot get out of it today,” said Robert Mardini, director general of the International Committee of the Red Cross. He said the situation for trapped civilians is “nothing short of a nightmare.”

Pregnant woman became a symbol The Associated Press has learned that Ukraine’s suffering when she was photographed being taken from a maternity hospital in Mariupol died with her baby. Images of a woman being transported into an ambulance on a stretcher flew around the world, capturing the horror of the attack on the most innocent human being.

Ukraine announced plans for new humanitarian aid and evacuation corridors on Monday, although continued bombing has caused similar efforts to fail in the past week, including on Sunday.

The United Nations has recorded at least 596 civilian deaths since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, although it believes the true number is much higher. Millions more have fled their homes, with more than 2.8 million crossing into Poland and other neighboring countries in what the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has described as Europe’s largest refugee crisis since World War Two.

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Since the start of its invasion of Ukraine, Moscow has launched a multi-pronged offensive. The Russian army is larger and better equipped than the Ukrainian army, but its forces faced stronger than expected resistance, backed by Western arms support that frustrated Russian President Vladimir Putin..

Slowing their advance in several areas, they bombarded several cities with unrelenting bombardment, and wounded more than twenty medical facilities and a large number of apartment buildings.

The war expanded on Sunday when Russian missiles bombed a military training base in western Ukraine that was once an important center for cooperation between Ukraine and NATO.

Ukrainian officials said the attack killed 35 people, and that the base’s proximity to the borders of Poland and other NATO members had raised fears that the Western military alliance could be drawn into Europe’s largest ground conflict since World War II.

Speaking Sunday evening, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called it a “dark day” and again urged NATO leaders to create a no-fly zone over his country, a move the West rejected for fear of starting a direct confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia.

If our skies do not close, it will only be a matter of time before Russian missiles fall on your territory. NATO territory. on the homes of citizens of NATO countries,” Zelensky said.

Ukraine said Russian forces nonetheless failed to make significant progress between Sunday and Monday. The Russian Defense Ministry gave a different assessment, saying its forces advanced 11 kilometers and reached five towns north of Mariupol, whose capture could help Russia create a land corridor to Crimea, which it seized from Ukraine in 2014.

Russia’s latest attack on its ex-Soviet neighbor has destabilized the post-Cold War security system, and it has had unpredictable, dire consequences.

The United States says Russia has asked China for military equipment for use in Ukraine after the West imposed harsh economic sanctions to cripple the Russian economy, and the invasion met with stronger-than-expected Ukrainian resistance.

The request heightened tensions over the ongoing war ahead of a meeting on Monday in Rome between top aides to the US and Chinese governments. US President Joe Biden is sending his national security adviser to Rome to meet with a Chinese official over concerns that Beijing is amplifying Russian disinformation and may help Moscow Ah evasion of Western economic sanctions.

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In his talks with China’s top foreign policy advisor Yang Jiechi, Sullivan will look for limits on what Beijing can do to Moscow.

The Russian cruise missile strike on the military base in western Ukraine has international significance. International Center for Peacekeeping and Security near Yavoriv It has long been used to train Ukrainian soldiers, often with instructors from the United States and other NATO members. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said that in addition to the 35 dead, 134 were wounded in the attack.

The base is located less than 25 kilometers (15 miles) from the Polish border and has hosted NATO exercises, making it a potent symbol of Russia’s long-standing fears that the expansion of the 30-member Western military alliance to include the countries of the former Soviet Union threatens its security. Something that NATO denies.

NATO said on Sunday that it currently has no personnel in Ukraine, although the United States has increased the number of US forces deployed in NATO member Poland, and the West will respond if Russian strikes leave abroad, said Sullivan, the White House’s national security adviser. . And Ukraine hit any member of NATO, even by mistake.

Inna Badi, a 40-year-old Ukrainian who crossed the border with her family, was sheltering at a fire station in Wielki Ozy, Poland, when she was woken by explosions Sunday morning across the border that shook her windows.

“I understood at that moment, even if we were freed from it, (the war) still haunted us,” she said.

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Associated Press journalists from around the world contributed to this report.

Follow the Associated Press’ coverage of the Ukraine crisis at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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