Politics

Peace talks underway in Istanbul


Russian and Ukrainian delegations were meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, for a fresh round of peace talks as fighting continued across Ukraine on Tuesday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said he is willing to discuss his country’s neutrality to bring an end to the war “without delay.” However, over the weekend, he said he would not sacrifice his country’s territorial integrity. Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has said Moscow could not talk about “progress yet,” but said “the very fact that it was decided to continue the talks in person is certainly important.”

In an interview with PBS Monday, Peskov clarified on Moscow’s stance on the use of nuclear weapons, saying Russia would only consider the use of nuclear weapons if there is a threat to the “existence of the state in our country.” But he said that “any outcome of the operation (in Ukraine), of course is not a reason for usage of a nuclear weapon.”

On the ground, Britain’s ministry of defense said Ukrainian forces were seeing “some success” with localized counter attacks to the north west of Kyiv, including in Irpin, where local officials said the city had driven out Russian forces. The Russians still posed a significant threat to the capital through their strike capability, the ministry added.

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Russian strike hits regional government building in Mykolaiv, governor say

A Russian strike hit the regional government building in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv, regional governor ​​Vitaliy Kim said on Telegram Tuesday. 

The southern port city has been under attack for weeks. The governor said the regional administration building was hit, adding that his personal office was destroyed too. 

Kim said most people appeared to have survived the incident. However, he said at least eight civilians and three military personnel were trapped under the rubble. It was not immediately clear whether anyone died as a result of the attack or how many were injured. 

Destruction caused by Russian shelling at an administrative building in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, on Tuesday.
Mykolaiv State Emergency Service / AFP – Getty Images

Firefighters tackle a blaze in Lutsk, western Ukraine, after Russian attacks struck a fuel storage facility on Tuesday.

Firefighters tackle a blaze in Lutsk, western Ukraine after Russian missiles struck a fuel storage facility on March 29, 2022.
Ukrainian State Emergency Service / AFP – Getty Images

Ukraine calls on countries to criminalize the use of Pro-Russia ‘Z’ symbol

Ukraine’s foreign minister has called on states to criminalize the use of the “Z” symbol, which has been used as a way to publicly show support for Russia’s invasion. 

“’Z’ means Russian war crimes, bombed out cities, thousands of murdered Ukrainians. Public support of this barbarism must be forbidden,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in a tweet Tuesday.

The original meaning of the “Z” symbol has remained something of a mystery since it was first spotted on Russian tanks.

In the weeks since, the letter ”Z” has become a symbol used to show support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Two German states have already banned the portrayal of the symbol.

Russia would only use nuclear weapons if faced with threat to existence, Kremlin says

Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov has said that Russia would only consider using nuclear weapons if there was a threat to the “existence of the state in our country.” 

However, he said that “any outcome” of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would not be a “reason for usage of a nuclear weapon.” Peskov made the comments during an interview with PBS on Monday

He said that Moscow has a “security concept that very clearly states that only when there is a threat for existence of the state, in our country, we can use and we will actually use nuclear weapons to eliminate the threat for the existence of our country.”

Pressed to clarify more on Russia’s position on the use of nuclear weapons, he said: “No one is thinking about using … even about the idea of using a nuclear weapon.” 

3 humanitarian corridors set to open

Three humanitarian corridors have been agreed to open on Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a Telegram post.

The decision came a day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address Monday that “the Russian army did not let us organize a single humanitarian corridor today, did not provide cease-fire.”

The corridors will open at the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions, allowing citizens to go from Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia using individual vehicles. Thirty buses have already left Zaporizhzhia to evacuate Mariupol residents from Berdyansk.

Civilians will also be able to travel from Melitopol to Zaporizhzhia and from the city of Enerhodar to Zaporizhzhia by private transport.

Delegations meet for peace talks in Istanbul

Russian and Ukrainian negotiators are meeting in Istanbul for the latest round of peace talks Tuesday morning.

In the below photo, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses Russian and Ukrainian negotiators before their face-to-face talks in Istanbul on Tuesday.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses Russian and Ukrainian negotiators before their face-to-face talks in Istanbul on Tuesday.
Murat Cetinmuhurdar / Reuters

Japan to ban export of luxury goods to Russia

Japan will ban the export of luxury goods to Russia from April 5, the country’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in a statement on Thursday.

The ban comes as the latest effort to pressure Russia to end its invasion of Ukraine. The banned goods include luxury cars, laptop, jewelry, alcohol and tobacco.

The ban is based on a revised Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Law. Before the revision, Japan had banned the export of weapons, carbon fiber and semiconductors to Russia.

Russia resetting forces in parts of Ukraine, British defense ministry says

Ukrainian forces have seen “some success” conducting “localized” counter attacks north west of Kyiv as Russian forces elsewhere attempt to “reorganize and reset their forces,” Britain’s defense ministry has said.

In its daily intelligence update Tuesday, the British defense ministry said Russian forces had been pushed back from a number of positions north west of Kyiv. However, it said Russian forces still poses a significant threat to the capital through their strike capability.

Russian forces have maintained their offensive on the besieged port city of Mariupol, with continued heavy shelling of the city, it said. However, it noted that the center of the city remains under Ukrainian control. 

It said that in other regions, Russian troops were maintaining blocking positions while attempting to reset their forces. 





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