Conflict at a “crossroads”, could end in April, says adviser to Ukraine’s PresidentReading Time: 2 minutes
The BBC reported that Russian troops were holding 400 doctors and patients captive in a hospital in the coastal city of Mariupol on Tuesday evening. In a separate development, the city’s local authorities said that around 2,000 cars were able to leave the besieged city, and the ICRC said that more than 100 buses carried civilians out of the city of Sumy in north-east Ukraine to a safe area. Russia’s Defence Ministry said that its forces had taken full control of Ukraine’s southern Kherson region, according to Russian news agencies. Before dawn, Russian air strikes had hit an apartment building in Kyiv on Tuesday, killing four people.
Peace talks between Ukraine and Russia continued on Tuesday, and are scheduled to continue on Wednesday. However, an adviser to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, Oleksiy Arestovych, said that the two sides would either come to an agreement or Russia would launch a new offensive. “We are at a crossroads,” he said, predicting that the conflict could come to an end by mid-April if Russia brings in more reserves. Al Jazeera writes that the stiff resistance put up by Ukraine’s forces has taken Moscow by surprise, according to military analysts.
President Zelensky continued his diplomatic offensive on Tuesday. Speaking to Western leaders in the morning, The Guardian reported that he said Russia’s “war machine” would be coming for them next. “We can stop Russia. We can stop the killing of people. It will be easier to do it together, to stop the destruction of democracy and stop it now on our land,” Zelensky said.
He also gave a virtual address to Canada’s House of Commons on Tuesday, thanking Canada and European nations for providing weapons and humanitarian aid but also making an appeal to Ukraine’s allies to provide more help against the Russian invasion of his country, including establishing a no-fly zone, writes Al Jazeera. “We like to root for the underdog,” said Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, referring to Ukraine. “We believe that when a cause is just and right, it will always prevail, no matter the size of the opponents.” Trudea added, “This illegal and unnecessary war is a grave mistake. Putin must stop it now.”
The EU agreed a fourth package of sanctions against Moscow on Tuesday, The Guardian reported. It includes an import ban on many steel products, new energy investments (with some exceptions) and an export ban on luxury goods over EUR 300. EU credit rating agencies will also be prohibited from rating Russia and Russian companies, resulting in limiting access to EU financial markets.
The UK also introduced a latest round of sanctions on wealthy Russian elites, including Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov and foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova, writes Al Jazeera.
Al Jazeera reported that the Prime Ministers of Poland, Czechia and Slovenia arrived in Kyiv on Tuesday night to meet with leadership, present a European Union aid package, and show their support for Ukraine. Ahead of the visit, Czechia’s Prime Minister Petr Fiala tweeted, “The aim of the visit is to express the European Union’s unequivocal support for Ukraine and its freedom and independence.”