Despite the ongoing fighting, peace negotiations are also continuing, including under the leadership of Turkey. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has been very cautious about this. He said Russia and Ukraine were “a little closer to agreeing on some critical issues”. He even hoped for a ceasefire.
Ukrainian President Zelensky again tirelessly called for the Ukraine issue over the weekend. Zelensky will soon do the same in the Netherlands. And he will deliver a speech before the House of Representatives via video call, reports telegraph† According to the newspaper, the idea was presented by the Ukrainian ambassador to the head of the chamber, Vera Bergkamp. It is not yet known when Zelensky will speak before the House of Representatives. The Ukrainian president has addressed many parliaments since the Russian invasion, including the parliaments of Germany, Great Britain, the United States and the European Union.
Zelensky is becoming increasingly harsh in his words against Putin, whom he accuses of war crimes. “The more terrorism the Russians use against Ukraine, the more serious the consequences.” And in an interview with CNN, he said that despite this he is ready to negotiate: “I am ready to negotiate with Putin, but if they fail, we will witness a third world war.”
More than 4,000 people managed to flee Mariupol through a “humanitarian corridor” on Saturday in between the fighting. In recent weeks, about forty thousand people are said to have left the besieged city, barely 10 percent of the population. This means that around 400,000 people remain in air-raid shelters beneath destroyed buildings, deprived of food, water, medicine, electricity and a telephone.
On Saturday and Sunday, a total of 6,000 people were evacuated from seven besieged places in Ukraine, including 4,000 from Mariupol. They were allowed to leave via “safe” corridors that rarely turned out to be safe because they came under fire. Therefore, throughout Ukraine, only 190 thousand people were brought to safety through these corridors until Saturday. In Mariupol alone, at least half of the population wants to leave, that is, more than 200,000 people. Russian bombing makes such a mass exodus impossible.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the number of 190,000 pales in comparison to the total of 10 million Ukrainians already displaced by the war. Of those 10 million, about 3.5 million have now fled abroad, according to the United Nations.
The Russian ground forces barely managed to gain any ground this past weekend. “The front lines are practically frozen,” said Oleksiy Aristovich, an advisor to President Volodymyr Zelensky. The Russian army is said to have lost unprecedented amounts of equipment and men in the month the war now continues. According to Ukraine, Russia lost more than 14,000 men, Russia itself says that there were 500 dead, and Western observers say there are “thousands” even according to the most conservative estimates.
Therefore, the Russian forces prefer to be satisfied in most places with aerial bombardment, artillery shelling and missile attacks. Mariupol also came under fire from land, air and water, as Russian warships fired missiles at the city. An art academy was hit on Sunday, where 400 people are said to have taken refuge. It was impossible to ascertain whether and how many casualties. On Wednesday, a theater in Mariupol was said to have seated more than a thousand people. Most of them would have survived this bombardment in the cellars.
A Ukrainian army base was bombed in the city of Mykolaiv this weekend. At least forty marines were killed, according to Ukrainian sources, but the number of casualties may be much higher. In the vicinity of Mykolaiv, an armory was also targeted. In this attack, Russia was said to have used the Hisonic missile for the first time, which can fly several times faster than sound.
The impact of the war is increasing in neighboring countries. And in the Polish border town of Koroczyn, protesters blocked the road on Sunday, causing a 40-kilometre long traffic jam. Polish and Ukrainian demonstrators are calling for a blanket ban on trade with Russia and its ally Belarus.
The first Patriot missiles promised to NATO neighbor Ukraine arrived in Slovakia. Patriot facilities must protect Slovak airspace. The facilities will be run by German and Dutch soldiers. On Sunday, Pope Francis called the fighting in Ukraine “abhorrent” and “a senseless killing spree”. “There is no justification for that,” the pope said, addressing a crowd of 30,000 people in St. Peter’s Square in Rome.
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