The cease-fire talks in Ukraine have begun, Russia takes control of two Cities

The cease-fire talks in Ukraine have begun, Russia takes control of two Cities
The venue of the forthcoming talks between Russian and Ukrainian delegations is seen, in Rumyantsev-...

MOSCOW/KYIV, Feb 28 (Reuters) – According to the Interfax news agency, Russian forces seized two small cities in southeastern Ukraine and the area surrounding a nuclear power plant on Monday. Still, they ran into stiff resistance elsewhere as Moscow’s diplomatic and economic isolation deepened.

According to a senior Ukrainian official who spoke to Reuters via text message after four days of fighting and a slower-than-expected Russian advance, talks between Ukraine and Russia began on Monday at the border with Russian ally Belarus.

 

According to the Ukrainian president’s office, the goal was an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian forces.

 

After President Vladimir Putin launched the largest attack on a European state since World War Two on Thursday and put Russia’s nuclear deterrent on high alert on Sunday, it was unclear whether progress could be made.

The Western-led response was swift, with sanctions effectively cutting off Moscow’s major financial institutions from Western markets, driving the rouble down 30% against the dollar on Monday. Weapons supplies to Ukraine have also increased.

 

According to Ukrainian authorities, blasts were heard early Monday in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, and Kharkiv, a major eastern city. However, they added that Russian ground forces’ attempts to take major cities had been repelled.

 

The towns of Berdyansk and Enerhodar in Ukraine’s southeastern Zaporizhzhya region and the area around the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant were taken over by Russian forces, according to Interfax. However, the plant’s operations were unaffected, according to the statement.

 

According to the news agency, Ukraine denied that the nuclear plant had fallen into Russian hands.

 

On Monday, Pavlo Kyrylenko, the head of the Donetsk regional administration, said on television that fighting continued throughout the night around the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol.

 

He didn’t say whether Russian forces had gained or lost ground, and he didn’t give any figures for casualties.

 

Since Thursday, at least 102 civilians have been killed in Ukraine, with another 304 injured, according to UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet. Still, the true figure is likely to be “considerably higher.”

 

According to the UN Refugee Agency, more than 360,000 people have fled to neighboring countries.

 

Since Thursday, Russia has fired over 350 missiles at Ukrainian targets, some of which have hit civilian infrastructure, according to a senior US defense official.

 

“It appears that they are adopting a siege mentality,” the official said on condition of anonymity. “Any student of military tactics and strategy will tell you that adopting siege tactics increases the likelihood of collateral damage.”

 

WEAPONS

 

According to Chief Jens Stoltenberg, partners in the US-led NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) defense alliance provide Ukraine with air defense missiles and anti-tank weapons.

 

The Russian government accused the European Union of hostile behavior, claiming that weapons supplies to Ukraine were destabilizing and demonstrated that Russia was correct in its efforts to demilitarize its neighbor.

 

It refused to say whether a confrontation between Russia and NATO was possible. However, Russia has demanded that Ukraine never be admitted to NATO.

Germany announced a massive increase in defense spending, ending decades of reluctance to match its economic might with military might.

 

On Monday, Russia’s rouble fell nearly 30% against the dollar after Western nations announced sweeping sanctions Saturday, including excluding some Russian banks from the SWIFT international payments system.

 

Russia’s central bank scrambled to contain the escalating fallout, announcing that it would resume gold purchases on the domestic market, launch a no-limit repurchase auction, and relax restrictions on banks’ open foreign currency positions.

 

It also instructed brokers to prevent foreigners from selling Russian securities.

 

Japan and South Korea have stated that they will join the action to prevent some banks from using SWIFT. In addition, South Korea, a major semiconductor exporter, announced that it would also prohibit the export of strategic items to Russia.

According to the European Central Bank, several European subsidiaries of Sberbank Russia, which is majority-owned by the Russian government, have failed or are about to fail as a result of the war in Ukraine’s reputational cost.

 

Britain announced on Monday that it was taking additional sanctions against Russia in coordination with the US and the European Union.

 

Corporate behemoths reacted as well, with British oil major BP BP, Russia’s largest foreign investor, announcing that it would sell its stake in the state oil company Rosneft (ROSN.MM) for up to $25 billion.

 

Rolling anti-invasion protests have taken place worldwide, including in Russia, where nearly 6,000 people have been detained at anti-war protests since Thursday, according to the OVD-Info protest monitor.

PROTESTS

 

As more Western governments backed sanctions against Russia, diplomatic maneuvering continued, with the Vatican joining in by offering to “facilitate dialogue” between Russia and Ukraine.

 

Ukraine’s request for an urgent debate on Russia’s invasion this week was granted by the UN Human Rights Council on Monday, just minutes after Kyiv’s envoy told the Geneva forum that some of Moscow’s military actions “may amount to war crimes.”

 

The 47-member council approved the proposal with 29 votes in favor and five votes against it, including Russia and China.

Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, asked the European Union to grant Ukraine immediate membership on Monday.

 

“Our goal is to be with all Europeans and, above all, to be on an equal footing. That seems reasonable to me. Moreover, I am confident that we are deserving of it. “In a video speech that was shared on social media, he said.

 

According to the White House, US President Joe Biden will hold a conference call with allies and partners on Monday to coordinate a coordinated response.

 

According to the US, Putin is escalating the conflict with “dangerous rhetoric” about Russia’s nuclear posture amid signs that Russian forces are preparing to besiege major cities in the democratic country of 44 million people.

A skater passes a Ukrainian flag back to a protester, during a rally against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, February 27, 2022. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

Russia refers to its actions in Ukraine as a “special operation,” claiming that they are not intended to occupy territory but rather to destroy Ukraine’s military capabilities and capture what it considers to be dangerous nationalists.

 

The European Union and Canada banned all Russian planes from their airspace, forcing Russian airline Aeroflot to cancel all flights to European destinations until further notice.

 

The EU also banned the Russian media outlets RT and Sputnik.

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