The first round of talks between the Foreign Ministers of Russia and Ukraine has failed to yield progress on a ceasefire, Ukraine said.
Speaking after the meeting in Turkey, Ukraine’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, disclosed that the demands from his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, amounted to a surrender.
Meanwhile, Mr. Lavrov, said his country’s military operation is going as planned. He pointed out that the West is behaving dangerously by supplying weapons to Ukraine.
The talks came a day after Ukraine accused Russia of bombing a children’s hospital in the city of Mariupol, calling it a “war crime”. According to officials, three people including a child died in the attack. Russia said it would seek answers from its military about what had happened.
Report suggests that the worst humanitarian situation was in Mariupol, Mr Kuleba said, adding that Russia is not committed to establishing a humanitarian corridor there. The Foreign Minister averred it was not easy to listen to Mr. Lavrov during the meeting.
Mr. Kuleba revealed that his counterpart’s broad intention is that Russia would continue attacking until Ukraine met Moscow’s demands. But he said it would not surrender, even though it was ready to seek balanced diplomatic solutions and continue meeting.
Mr. Lavrov pointed out that Moscow is waiting for a response to its list of demands from Kyiv.
What is Russia’s Demand?
Russia announced earlier that Ukraine should abandon its plans to join the NATO military alliance and becomes a neutral-status state. Additionally, Russia also suggested that Kyiv should consider Moscow’s jurisdiction over Crimea, the southern Ukrainian peninsula, invaded by Russia in 2014, and must recognise two self-proclaimed rebel-held regions, Luhansk and Donetsk as independent.
The Russian Foreign Minister also alleged that Ukraine has been planning an attack on the two regions of eastern Ukraine.
Outcry at hospital bombing
United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, António Guterres, described the attack as “horrific” and the United States (US) accused Russia of a “barbaric use of military force to go after innocent civilians”.
In Mariupol, where about 400,000 people live, is now surrounded by Russian forces for several days, and attempts at a ceasefire to allow civilians to leave have failed.
Olena Stokoz of Ukraine’s Red Cross, on Wednesday, March 9, 2022, revealed that “The whole city remains without electricity, water, food, whatever and people are dying because of dehydration”.
Chemical weapons warning
Western officials, including the White House, have warned that Russia could use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine or create a “false flag” operation, which is usually used to justify a supposed counter-attack.
According to Russian authorities, Ukrainian forces transported some 80 tonnes of ammonia in the country’s north-east, without providing evidence.
The US House of Representatives voted in favour of nearly $14bn (£10.6bn) in aid for Ukraine, as well as voting to ban US imports of Russian oil and other energy products earlier this week. However, the measures still must pass through the Senate, which is expected to vote later this week.
Meanwhile, US Vice-President, Kamala Harris, is in Poland, a day after Washington rejected the country’s [Poland’s] plan to transfer military jets to the US, rather than directly to Ukraine.
In Europe, European Union (EU) leaders are meeting in France’s Palace of Versailles for a two-day summit to discuss Ukraine’s possible future membership, more sanctions on Russia, and a new common defence policy.
US officials forecast that between 5,000 to 6,000 Russian troops have died in Ukraine since the war began on Thursday, February 24, 2022.
Ukraine has also revealed that more than 12,000 Russian service personnel have died, while Russia last week acknowledged some 498 fatalities, but these competing claims are yet to be verified.