RUSSIA will finish the demilitarisation of Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in an interview yesterday, underlining that the Ukraine must stick to a ‘neutral status’ and recognise Crimea, the Democratic Republic of Donetsk and the Democratic Republic of Lugansk.
‘We really are finishing the demilitarisation of Ukraine. We will finish it.
‘But the main thing is that Ukraine ceases its military activity. They should stop their military action and then no one will shoot,’ he said.
Russia is not seeking to make any further territorial claims on Ukraine, Peskov stressed.
‘They should make amendments to their constitution according to which Ukraine would reject any aims to enter any bloc. We have also spoken about how they should recognise that Crimea is Russian territory and that they need to recognise that Donetsk and Lugansk are independent states. And that’s it. It will stop in a moment,’ Peskov added.
From the Crimea to the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, Russia now controls Kherson, Melitopol, Berdyansk, and Mariupol. They have recently taken Mykolaiv on the way to the strategic port city of Odessa.
Russia and the Ukraine opened their third round of ‘peace talks’ in Belarus yesterday.
Russian Presidential aide Vladimir Medinsky said: ‘All the same issues will be discussed: three blocks of issues — the issue of internal political settlement, international humanitarian aspects and issues of military settlement.
‘Russia will try again to discuss the organisation of humanitarian corridors with Ukraine,’ Medinsky said.
‘We will try again today to discuss with the Ukrainian side the mode of operation of humanitarian corridors, since in all the cities in which we promised these, these corridors are open from the side of our army and the armed forces of Donbass, the fire has ceased,’ he said.
Moscow said yesterday it was opening routes for Ukrainian civilians to evacuate to Russia amid the ongoing offensive.
The Russian Defence Ministry said a temporary ceasefire would start at 10.00am local time yesterday morning, citing the ‘catastrophic’ humanitarian situation on the ground.
A safe passage was opened from Kiev to Belarus, where refugees would be airlifted to Russia, the ministry said. Exit routes to Russia were set up from the eastern Ukrainian cities of Kharkov and Sumy, as well as Mariupol on the Azov Sea coast.
Moscow warned Ukraine not to prevent civilians from leaving. It also said any attempts by the Ukrainian side to shift the blame for undermining humanitarian efforts would be ‘senseless,’ as Russia would monitor the evacuation by using drones.
‘Charge Russia with war crimes’–Johnson
TORY PM Boris Johnson, after holding talks with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in London yesterday, gave a joint press conference with the two leaders.
‘We are submitting a list of Russia’s actions to the International Criminal Court (ICC)’ he said.
‘This is the largest such action the court has ever seen and will allow the Chief Prosecutor to open an investigation to ensure Putin cannot commit these crimes with impunity.
‘As Ukrainians resist Russia’s onslaught with courage and tenacity, the international community must aid their struggle in every way that we can.
‘We will only succeed if the whole international community moves together with the same spirit of unity as has been seen in recent days.
‘Justin and Mark and I have been discussing that today, and later this afternoon I am going to be speaking to the leaders of the United States, France and Germany further to coordinate our actions.’
He added: ‘This is the moment for Ukraine’s friends to create a coalition of humanitarian, economic and defensive military support to ensure that Putin fails. And that is why today I am announcing a further £175m of UK aid.’
Trudeau said: ‘We are standing up for democracy, against authoritarianism and standing with Ukraine every step of the way.’
He added: ‘When I met earlier with Boris we discussed stronger security ties, continuing to defend our shared values, continuing our work on advancing free trade, but of course, throughout, the focus is on the people of the Ukraine, our solidarity with the Ukraine and the pushing back against the illegal Russian invasion of the Ukraine and standing up for democracies across the world.’
Rutte said: ‘Canada, UK and the Netherlands are close defence partners, working together to mobilise the global community to step up to support Ukraine and will continue to defend democracy and the values that underpin it, and continue to make sure that Putin is held accountable.’