The noise of bombs and attacks in different regions of Ukraine continues to silence possible progress in diplomatic talks to reach an agreement to end the war after 19 days of Russian invasion. A projectile launched on an eight-story residential building in Obolon, a neighborhood north of kyiv, left at least one dead on Monday. Another attack near the Antonov aircraft factory left another fatality. It is, once again, a clear sign that, although he has not yet achieved his goal of subjugating the capital or even bringing his soldiers closer to the urban center, Russian President Vladimir Putin has not forgotten the country’s main city, which appears more and more surrounded.
Approximately half of its three million inhabitants have already left looking for a safer place, although President Volodímir Zelenski endures there without showing any intention of leaving and with constant appearances on social networks. Several of his representatives returned this Monday to maintain telematic contacts with the Kremlin, but, for now, there is no more announcement than to continue trying to advance this Tuesday. The president himself, who is committed to seeing Putin face to face, acknowledged in a video that the negotiations are being “difficult.”
Meanwhile, in eastern Ukraine, where the war has not ceased since 2014, the pro-Russian separatists supported by Moscow and opposed to kyiv have denounced on Monday a bombing in the city of Donetsk of which they accuse Ukraine and which left, at least, 16 dead. kyiv has denied responsibility. The harassment continues in cities already heavily punished in these almost three weeks of war, such as Kharkov, the second in the country, in the northeast, or the port of Mariupol, on the shores of the Sea of Azov. The mayor of Kharkov, Igor Terejov, denounced an incessant shelling of the town. At least two people were killed in a missile attack on a residential building in the city in eastern Ukraine. Emergency services and rescuers searched for hours under the rubble to try to locate the missing neighbors. The building, near the historic center, was hit in the morning, which caused a “massive fire” due to damage to the pipes that supply gas to the building, according to information from the emergency services cited by the Reuters agency. Kharkov, a strategic city just a few kilometers from the Russian border, has suffered from bombing since the beginning of the Russian invasion.
Also in the west, an area through which hundreds of thousands of people have fled the conflict, especially across the border with Poland, attacks have been taking place in recent days. In the surroundings of Lviv you could hear the passage of several planes and see the trace of a missile in the sky. So far, according to UN figures, 2.8 million people have left the country. Another two million are internally displaced.
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In addition, nine people have died and another nine have been injured as a result of a bombing of a television tower in the city of Antopil, west of kyiv. The governor of the Rivne province, Vitali Koval, has indicated this Monday that there are still people under the rubble, so the balance of deaths and injuries could increase, according to the Ukrainian news portal Babel.
“We have to stand firm and fight to win, to achieve a peace that the Ukrainians deserve, an honest peace with security guarantees for our state, for our people. And put it in writing during the difficult negotiations,” President Zelensky said in a recording on Monday. According to the Ukrainian negotiator Mijailo Podoliak on Twitter, the kyiv authorities attended the meeting of this fourth negotiating round with the intention of achieving a ceasefire, the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from their territory and security guarantees. All this seems very far away as events are unfolding on the battlefront. “A technical pause has been made in the negotiations until Tuesday” so that the working groups can “clarify definitions,” Podoliak added.
“The parties are actively expressing their positions, which have already been clarified, communication is difficult, but it continues,” explained Podoliak, for whom “the reason for the disagreements” is due to the “very different” political systems that both countries have. “Ukraine is a country that maintains free dialogue in society and binding consensus. Russia practices, in short, the suppression of its own society,” he added. Despite this, negotiators from both parties detected some small progress. “The Russians are not making any more ultimatums and are listening to our proposals,” Podoliak said. For his part, Leonid Slutsky, chairman of the Duma Committee on International Affairs [Cámara baja del Parlamento ruso]highlighted a “substantial progress” in the progress of the negotiations.
The diplomatic effort had a second stage on Monday in Rome, where envoys from the United States and China met after learning that Russia requested economic aid and military material from the Asian giant shortly after starting the invasion of Ukraine. From China, the Foreign Ministry has described this news on Monday as “misinformation”. The Kremlin also denies the request for help.
Zelensky said on Sunday night that his representatives were negotiating a possible meeting with Putin. “Our mission is clear: to do everything possible to ensure a meeting between the two presidents,” he said in a video. And he stressed that one of Ukraine’s demands is the opening of humanitarian corridors for besieged cities. In total, some 150,000 people have been evacuated, according to data offered this Monday by the senior official of the Ukrainian presidency Kirilo Timoshenko. Despite the high number of evacuations, Zelensky lamented that there are still many people trapped in enclaves such as Mariupol, in the southeast of the country.
The mayor’s office of this city indicated that some 160 cars with civilians were able to leave the town on Monday. The information was confirmed by the Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, Irina Vereshchuk, who also criticized that Russia continues to block the entry of humanitarian aid. One of the residents of Mariupol who managed to escape the siege and communicate with his relatives in another municipality in the country explained that the humanitarian corridor was open until 5:00 p.m. local time (4:00 p.m. in mainland Spain), but that most of the Mariupol’s population was not informed of the possibility of leaving the city. According to this source, the Kremlin forces prevented the population from leaving the town in buses and only allowed the use of private cars, reports Margaret Yakovenko.
The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed on Monday a total of 31 attacks on health centers since the beginning of the invasion in Ukraine, in which 12 people died and another 34 were injured. One of the victims is the pregnant woman who survived the Russian attack on the Mariupol maternity hospital and whose image went around the world, lying on a stretcher and holding her belly. Both she and her baby eventually died. The bombings against civilians, and especially against hospitals, point to the commission of war crimes by Moscow. According to the Ukrainian Prosecutor’s Office, at least 90 children have died since the beginning of the aggression.
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