Ukraine: Civilian evacuations suspended over Russian ‘provocations’

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Ukraine: Civilian evacuations suspended over Russian ‘provocations’ — live updates

Officials said humanitarian corridors are being suspended over safety concerns. Meanwhile, face-to-face talks are planned between Ukraine and Russian negotiators in Turkey. Follow DW for the latest.

People stand with bags next to a shot-up carCivilians preparing to leave the besieged city of Mariupol last week

  • Ukraine suspends humanitarian corridors
  • Airstrikes hit several Ukrainian cities
  • Ukraine’s ministry of foreign affairs has described the humanitarian situation in Mariupol as “catastrophic”
  • Ukraine and Russia talks pushed to Tuesday

This story was last updated at 1251 GMT/UTC.

New Ukraine-Russia talks to be held in Istanbul on Tuesday

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov and the head of the Russian delegation, Vladimir Medinsky, have said that new face-to-face talks between Ukraine and Russia would take place in Istanbul on Tuesday.

The Ukrainian and Russian delegations have so far met three times in face-to-face talks. All three rounds of negotiations were held in Belarus. The two sides have also engaged in two weeks of online negotiations.

Ukrainian newspaper Ukrayinska Pravda said the two delegations would travel to Turkey on Monday ahead of negotiations.

Referring to the talks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Ukraine would seek peace “without delay.” Zelenskyy added that Ukraine would be willing to discuss the neutrality of the country if given security guarantees.

Zelenskyy also urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to withdraw Russian troops from Ukraine and speak to him directly in talks. Zelenskyy has long called for a meeting between him and Putin.

“We must come to an agreement with the president of the Russian Federation, and in order to reach an agreement, he needs to get out of there on his own feet … and come to meet me,” Zelenskyy said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that direct talks between the Russian and Ukrainian presidents would be “counterproductive.”

According to Lavrov, Putin “has said he has never refused to meet President Zelenskyy. The only thing that he considers fundamentally important is for these meetings to be well prepared.”

“The meeting is necessary once we have clarity regarding solutions on all key issues,” Lavrov said.

Zelenskyy: Ukraine prepared to consider neutrality

Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine set up war crimes probe

European Union judicial coordination agency Eurojust said that it helped establish a joint investigation to probe war crimes, crimes against humanity and other crimes committed in Ukraine.

Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine signed an agreement on Friday establishing the team, Eurojust said. The agency said that the team will help the three countries cooperate with the International Criminal Court prosecution office.

Eurojust said that the aim of the team is to “support the support the gathering of evidence and its swift and secure exchange between partners, as well as the transmission of information and evidence.”

Polish prosecutors said they had collected some 300 witness testimonies from Ukrainian refugees within the firs tmonth of the war.

Ukraine suspends humanitarian corridors over Russian ‘provocations’

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said that no escape corridors for the evacuation of civilians will be possible in Ukrainian cities on Monday.

While explaining the decision, Vereshchuk cited intelligence that warned the escape routes would not be safe for passage.

“Our intelligence has reported possible ‘provocations’ by the occupiers on the humanitarian corridor routes. So, for reasons of public safety, we are not opening any humanitarian corridors today,” Vereshchuk said.

Vereshchuk had announced two humanitarian corridors on Sunday, one from Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia and one between two towns in the Luhansk region.

Ukraine has accused Russia of sabotaging evacuation corridors from contested areas, while Moscow has placed the blame on Kyiv for failures to agree on safe corridors.

Early in March, Ukraine rejected a Russian proposal to establish humanitarian corridors that would lead to Russia and Belarus.

A map of Ukraine refugees

Ukrainian official: Turkey could give security guarantees

Senior Ukrainian official Ihor Zhovka said on Monday that Turkey could be one of the countries to give Kyiv security guarantees.

Zhovka made the comments ahead of peace talks scheduled between Ukraine and Russia in Turkey.

“Turkey is among those countries that could become guarantors of our security in the future,” Zhovka said.

Ukraine has demanded legally binding guarantees that would give the country protection from allies in the event of a future attack.

A lot of conflicting messages ahead of peace talks in Turkey: Fanny Facsar

Ukraine: Russia has turned Mariupol to ‘dust’

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ukraine tweeted on Monday that Russian forces have turned the besieged city of Mariupol “into dust.”

“While Mariupol besieged and bombed, people fight to survive. The humanitarian situation in the city is catastrophic. Russian Armed Forces is turning the city into dust,” the ministry tweeted.

Mariupol is the main obstacle preventing Russia from connecting Crimea to the two self-proclaimed “people’s republics” in the eastern Donbas region. Russia has focused its efforts on taking Donbas since Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “new phase” in the war.

British military intelligence said on Monday that Russian forces had gained ground in the vicinity of Mariupol.

Several German states ban pro-Russian “Z” war symbol

In Germany, several states have declared they will punish by law any public use of the “Z” symbol associated with Russia’s war against Ukraine.

On Friday, Lower Saxony and Bavaria announced their plans to make it a crime to use the symbol. Lawmakers in city of Stuttgart and in the state of North Rhine Westphalia spoke in support of a ban.

Russian military exits town for Chernobyl workers

Russian troops have left Slavutych, a town that is home to workers at the nearby Chernobyl nuclear plant, site of the world’s worst manmade nuclear catastrophe, in 1986.

Slavutych Mayor Yuri Fomichev said Russian forces that took over the town over the weekend left early Monday after surveying the town.

Oscars: Solidarity gestures with Ukraine

The Oscars, Hollywood’s premier red carpet award show event, held a minute of silence for Ukraine.

Among those showing gestures of support for Ukraine were Oscar-winning actress Youn Yuh-jung, nominated songwriter Diane Warren, composer Nicholas Britell and the actress Jamie Lee Curtis. They wore blue ribbons that read #WithRefugees to show support for those who have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24.

Actor Mila Kunis, who was born in Ukraine, was among the presenters.

A message is projected showing support for Ukraine at the 94th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles on March 27, 2022The Academy Awards held a minute of silence for Ukraine

Biden: US not seeking regime change in Russia

When asked whether he is seeking regime change in Russia, US President Joe Biden told reporters: “No.”

His rejection of the notion comes after a speech in Warsaw where he said Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power.”

Airstrikes hit several Ukrainian cities

Ukrainian media has reported that Russia targeted the cities of Kyiv, Luzk, Rivne and Kharkiv with air strikes on Sunday. Among the targets was a fuel depot in Luzk in the northwest.

Earlier in the day, air raid sirens rang out in all regions of Ukraine.

Presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak said the port city Mariupol was being carpet-bombed.

Russia ramps up bombardments of Ukraine’s cities

Ukraine reports successful counterattacks near Kharkiv

Ukrainian military commander Oleg Synegubov said on Telegram that Ukrainian forces had launched successful counterattacks around the eastern city of Kharkiv.

Synegubov said Russian troops had been repelled in several locations.

He said: “We are driving the occupiers back in the direction of the Russian border.”

Russian air strikes hit civilian residences in the village of Oskil in the Izium region. A family of four was killed, Synegubov wrote.

Retired US Lieutenant General Ben Hodges talks to DW

Summary of Sunday’s events in Ukraine-Russia crisis

Russia targeted military structures in the western city of Lviv using high-precision cruise missiles, the Russian Defense Ministry said. Long-range missiles were used to hit a fuel depot used by Ukrainian forces, and cruise missiles targeted a plant being used to repair anti-aircraft systems, radar stations and sights for tanks in Lviv.

According to the United Nations, more than 3.7 million refugees have fled Ukraine. Most have gone to neighboring Poland.

Significant destruction in Chernihiv means residents of the northern Ukrainian city are without water, heating or electricity, according to the regional administration. Chernihiv is currently surrounded by Russian troops and has been “completely devastated,” Mayor Vladyslav Atrozhenko said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that his government was “carefully” considering the option of adopting neutral status to broker a peace deal with Russia. Zelenskyy’s comments came in a video interview with Russian journalists that the country’s media watchdog Roskomnadzor said could not be aired within Russia.

Russian and Ukrainian delegations will meet in Turkey for face-to-face talks on Monday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke on the phone with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Erdogan called for an immediate cease-fire and a peace agreement between the two sides.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told public broadcaster ARD that he believes more than 10,000 Russian soldiers have died in the war.

sdi,ar/wmr (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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