4th round of Russia Ukraine talks begin – as Russian 40-mile armoured column advances on Kiev

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Aftermath of a rocket attack by the Ukrainian army on Donetsk yesterday morning. Seventeen people were killed, twenty-eight injured

RUSSIAN and Ukrainian negotiators began a fourth round of talks yesterday.

Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak said the talks focused on establishing a ceasefire, the withdrawal of Russian troops, and security guarantees for Ukraine, while the Ukraine President Zelensky has called for direct talks between him and Russian President Putin.
Zelensky’s deputy head of office, Ihor Zhovkva, said: ‘Instead of giving us an ultimatum or red lines or asking Ukraine to capitulate, they now seem to start the constructive negotiations.’
However, Russia’s demands remain firm that Ukraine ‘officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join NATO’ and that the Ukrainian regime recognise the People’s Republic of Donetsk and the People’s Republic of Lugansk in Donbass, and the Crimea as independent from the Ukraine.
The Russian army has taken control of Kerson and the majority of Mariupol linking the Crimea with Donetsk and Lugansk, and they control Kharkiv and Chernihiv in the north.
They have also encircled and cut off the Ukrainian capital, with troops now moving towards the city from multiple positions.
A 40-mile Russian armoured column has now dispersed into the area west of Kiev, moving more artillery and rocket launchers to within range of the capital.
Russian naval forces have also cut Ukraine off from maritime trade by controlling its Black Sea coast.
Zelensky said in a video address on Sunday night: ‘Our delegates have a clear task – to do all they can so the meeting between presidents takes place, the meeting I’m sure the people are waiting for.’
Meanwhile, a Tochka-U ballistic missile was launched into Donetsk, the capital of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), yesterday morning.
DPR military spokesman Eduard Basurin said the missile was intercepted and destroyed mid-air, but one of its explosive parts managed to hit the city. DPR defence officials reported that at least 17 people were killed and 28 wounded.
‘If the missile hadn’t been shot down, we’d have had a lot more casualties,’ DPR head Denis Pushilin told the media. He added that the missile part fell in the centre of Donetsk, not far from the main government building.
Pushilin insisted the missile was loaded with cluster munitions.
Responding to a reporter’s question whether Moscow views the incident as an act of terrorism, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov replied: ‘Beyond any doubt, it’s an attack on the civilian population.’

  • The EU ‘is not at war with Russia’ European Council President and former Belgian prime minister Charles Michel told El Pais in an interview published yesterday following Friday’s EU summit in Versailles, France.

He added: ‘Russia is a nuclear power and we are well aware that if this conflict turns into a conflict between NATO and Russia, we will roll down into the Third World War.’