With the Russia-Ukraine war entering Day 20, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address released early on Wednesday that the positions of both countries at peace talks were sounding more realistic but more time was needed.
“The meetings continue, and, I am informed, the positions during the negotiations already sound more realistic. But time is still needed for the decisions to be in the interests of Ukraine," said Zelensky.
More than 3 million have fled Ukraine amidst Russian bombardment, according to the United Nations.
Russia has slapped sanctions on US President Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and other officials, barring their entry into the country, Moscow had said. The move comes after the US imposed massive restrictions on Russian officials.
Here are the top developments:
1. According to Reuters, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said they are concerned that Moscow could stage a false flag operation, possibly, including chemical weapons, in Ukraine. “Any support to Russia, be it military or any other support will help it conduct brutal war against Ukraine," he said.
2. Air raid sirens were heard in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, which is around 65 km from the Polish border. Sirens were heard last time in the city two days ago when the joint NATO-Ukrainian Yavoriv Military Training Ground and the western party of the city were struck by a Russian missile.
3. Fox News cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski and Ukrainian journalist Oleksandra ‘Sasha’ Kuvshynova were killed in Ukraine after the vehicle in which they were travelling was struck by incoming fire, the US network said on Tuesday. Zakrzewski, 55, was reporting with another Fox News journalist, Benjamin Hall, on Monday when they came under attack near the capital Kyiv, Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott said in a note to staff. Hall remains in hospital.
4. The US is providing over $186 million in additional humanitarian assistance to support refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine and those internally displaced by the conflict, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday.
5. US President Joe Biden will meet NATO and European Union leaders in Brussels next week for a summit to discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced the March 24 meeting in a Twitter post on Tuesday and the White House confirmed Biden would attend, as well as a European Council Summit the same day.
6. The Prime Ministers of Poland, Czech Republic and Slovenia reached Kyiv on Tuesday in a show of support for Ukraine.
7. Russian finance minister Sergeĭ Lavrov said today that Ukraine cannot have weapons that pose threat to his country.
8. According to a report by AFP, Russia and Ukraine expressed progress at the end of their talks on Wednesday. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky’s aide Mykhailo Podolyak said that there are, however, ‘fundamental contradictions’ in ending Russia’s war on Ukraine. Podolyak said that there is still some room for compromise.
9. A U.S. Air Force cargo jet began shipping on Wednesday helmets and other non-lethal military kit donated by Japan to Ukraine, marking the first time an American aircraft has carried Japanese Self Defense Force gear to another country.
10. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday that some formulations for agreements with Ukraine were close to being agreed, with neutral status for Kyiv under “serious" consideration.
11. Thousands of Ukrainian children who have found shelter in hastily converted housing facilities across central and eastern Europe are struggling to come to terms with their new reality as refugees fleeing Russia’s invasion of their country. According to figures released by UNICEF on Tuesday, children account for about a half of the more than 3 million Ukrainians who have crossed into Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Moldova since the invasion began on Feb. 24.
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