new negotiations in Istanbul, kyiv claims to have taken back territories from the Russians

As the war unleashed by Russia in Ukraine continues for the 34th day, new negotiations are to be held this Tuesday in Istanbul, Turkey. At the same time, the Ukrainian authorities claim to have regained ground against the Russian front and are struggling to keep control of Mariupol.

The essential

  • New negotiations between Ukraine and Russia are due to start this Tuesday in Istanbul
  • Ukrainian authorities claim to have regained ground against the Russians
  • At least 5,000 people have died in Mariupol, according to Ukrainian authorities
  • Listen: Radio France’s daily podcast on the situation in Ukraine

The situation on the military front

Ukraine claims to have regained ground against the Russians

Ukraine announced on Monday evening that the symbolic town of Irpin, located at the northwestern entrance to kyiv, had been recaptured from Russian forces. « The city is now liberated, but it is still dangerous to be there », said Ukrainian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky. « The occupants are pushed back from Irpin, pushed back from kyiv. However, it is too early to talk about security in this part of our region. The fighting continues. Russian troops control northern Kyiv region, have resources and manpower“Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video late Monday.

A US defense official said the Russians were « static » around Kyiv. « Not only have they stopped advancing towards the city but (…) they are making no effort to advance“, contenting himself with firing missiles, he noted.

« The situation remains tense everywhere, very difficult », according to Ukraine

In the regions of Chernigiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, Donbass, and in southern Ukraine, « the situation remains tense everywhere, very difficult« , he underlined. The Ukrainian general staff affirmed at the beginning of the night on Tuesday that its troops had « blocked the advance of the enemy in the Chernigiv region« . »The enemy is weakened, disoriented, most of them no longer have logistical support and are cut off from the main body of troops“, he noted on the situation of the Russian army in general. Other fighting was taking place in several localities around the capital.

« The enemy is trying to break through around kyiv and block the roads« , said Ganna Malyar, Deputy Minister of Defence, stressing that « the defense of kyiv » was continuing. Fierce fighting was also taking place in the east, in particular around Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city, close to the Russian border. In this region are deployed Russian mercenaries from the Wagner group, the British ministry said on Monday. of Defense, estimating that more than a thousand of these men could be brought to fight in the country

Ukraine: the advance of Russian troops (update Monday March 28 at 7:30 p.m.)
Ukraine: the advance of Russian troops (update Monday March 28 at 7:30 p.m.) © Visactu

Ukrainian soldiers also regained control of Mala Rogan, a small village about four kilometers east of Kharkiv, AFP noted, which saw two bodies of Russian soldiers lying in an alley and several Russian armored vehicles destroyed. In the south, the Russian noose also seemed to be loosening around certain cities, such as Mykolaiv, a lock-town on the road to Odessa, Ukraine’s largest port.

The front has even retreated significantly, with a Ukrainian counter-offensive on Kherson, some 80 km to the south-east, the only major city which the Russian army has claimed to have taken completely since its invasion on February 24. Not far from there, in the north of the Crimean peninsula annexed by Moscow in 2014, the military official of the city of Kryvyi Rih affirmed on Tuesday night that the Russian forces had « were pushed back 40-60 km from the city« .

The Ukrainian authorities claimed to have « evidence » of the use by Russian forces of cluster bombs – weapons prohibited by international conventions – in the Odessa and Kherson regions, in the south.

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Blockade of Mariupol

The situation remains very tense in Mariupol, a port city in southeastern Ukraine. While the Russian army is still trying to seize it, some 160,000 people are still stuck there, according to the mayor of the city. A US official noted « lots of intense fights« but with long-range missiles because the Russian army « was not able to take Mariupol« .

According to Tetyana Lomakina, adviser to the Ukrainian presidency, « about 5,000 people were buried (in Mariupol, editor’s note), but people have not been buried for ten days because of the continuous bombardments« . She felt that there might actually be « around 10,000 dead« .

French President Emmanuel Macron is due to discuss Tuesday with Vladimir Putin « to secure the humanitarian operation in Mariupol“, he said on the sidelines of a trip to Dijon (France), specifying that the objective was to launch it”in the next few days« . »Today there is a failure on the part of Russia to respect international humanitarian law“, he lamented.

« All entrances and exits from the city are blocked (…), it is impossible to bring food and medicine into Mariupol« , affirmed Monday the Ukrainian president, accusing the Russian forces of bombarding the convoys of humanitarian aid. A feeling shared by the NGO Amnesty International « We are in intentional attacks on civilian infrastructure, homes« , bombings of schools, said Tuesday the secretary general of the NGO Agnès Callamard, accusing Russia of allowing humanitarian corridors to transform them into a « death trap« . The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a « repetition » of Syria with a « increasing war crimes“, alerted the NGO during the presentation Tuesday in Johannesburg of its 2021-2022 report.

The diplomatic situation and international reactions

New negotiating session scheduled for Tuesday

Russian and Ukrainian delegations are due to meet normally on Tuesday in Istanbul, Turkey for a new round of face-to-face negotiations. Russian negotiators arrived in the capital on Monday, according to images from the Turkish channel NTV. The last discussions between the two parties were held on March 10, already in Istanbul, without leading to any progress.

One of the important points of the negotiations relates to « security guarantees and neutrality, the nuclear-free status of our state« Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told Russian independent media on Sunday, according to the Ukrainian presidential administration’s Telegram channel. »This point of the negotiations is understandable to me and it is under discussion, it is studied in depth« , he said. But it will have to be submitted to a referendum and guarantees are needed, he warned, accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin and his entourage of doing « drag things out« .

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba later stated on his ministry’s website that President Zelensky had « given very clear instructions to our delegation. We do not trade people, territory or sovereignty« . According to him, the minimum objective of the talks in Turkey is to solve the humanitarian problems and the ultimate goal is to achieve a stable ceasefire.

The head of Russian diplomacy Sergei Lavrov judged that a meeting between Putin and Zelensky, whom the latter calls for, would be for the time being « counter-productive« .

The possible « poisoning » of a Russian oligarch

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, owner of the English football club Chelsea, and two Ukrainian negotiators suffered from symptoms which point to a possible « poisoning ». The billionaire who is trying to mediate between Moscow and kyiv, considered close to Vladimir Putin, reportedly showed symptoms after a meeting with senior Ukrainian officials in kyiv in March. Symptoms described as red and watery eyes, peeling face and hands, although « their lives are not in danger » the newspaper said, adding that Western experts could not determine the cause of the symptoms.

Joe Biden accepts his remarks on the departure of Putin

Monday evening, Joe Biden indicated that he was not withdrawing his comments wishing the departure of Vladimir Putin, made last Friday during his visit to Poland. The US president said it was a « indignation« personal and not one »Politics » in favor of regime change. « I don’t take them off » and « I don’t apologize“, he declared in front of the press.

« I was just expressing my outrage that he shouldn’t stay in power, the same way the bad guys shouldn’t keep doing bad things.« , « but that does not mean that we have a fundamental policy change“, he added. He referred to his “moral outrage over the way Putin is acting« . »The actions of this man, it’s just brutality« , he hammered, but « nobody believes » than « I was talking about overthrowing Putin« .

Russia plans to limit access to its territory to certain countries

The head of Russian diplomacy Sergei Lavrov announced that a decree was in preparation to limit access to Russian territory to nationals of countries responsible for acts « unfriendly ». He did not name any specific country, but Moscow had published a list of unfriendly countries in early March, including the United States and European Union countries.

The humanitarian situation and solidarity with Ukrainians

About 3.9 million refugees

About 3.9 million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian army invasion, according to the UN tally, but the flow of refugees has slowed markedly since March 22. Just over 40,000 people have fled Ukraine in the past 24 hours. The UN estimates the number of internally displaced persons at almost 6.5 million.

1,119 civilians killed according to the UN

According to the UN human rights office, 1,119 civilians have been killed and 1,790 injured since the start of the invasion. Among them, a hundred children.

The toll could rise considerably, warns the global body, as reports are delayed in some areas where fighting is intense.

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