LIVE – War in Ukraine: Kyiv and Westerners are skeptical of Moscow’s statements

On the 35th day of Russia’s war in Ukraine, negotiations between the two countries moved forward. The talks in Turkey on Tuesday were hailed as “positive” by the Ukrainian president, but he stressed that the country has no intention of easing its military efforts. For its part, Washington prefers to wait until Russia, which has promised to “drastically” reduce its military activity in the direction of Kyiv and Chernigov, “keeps its word.”

There the fighting continues. However, Ukraine claims that it is gradually regaining its positions, especially near the capital. US Defense Department spokesman John Kirby claims to have observed small numbers of Russian troops “begin to move” around Kyiv, but believes this is not a “real withdrawal.” The position set out this Wednesday morning in the daily situation update published by the Ukrainian headquarters. “The enemy’s plan to encircle the capital remains relevant,” the General Staff said in a message on its Facebook page.

Information to remember

> Zelensky sends ‘positive’ signals to talks with Russia

> A humanitarian operation in Mariupol is impossible “at this stage”, according to the

> France is against paying for Russian gas in rubles, Macron told Putin

>>> Follow the events of this Wednesday, March 30, live

7:30 am – Canada simplifies formalities for some Ukrainian refugees

Justin Trudeau’s government has decided to ease the formalities for certain categories of Ukrainians wishing to temporarily settle in the country under its new Canada-Ukraine Emergency Travel Permit (AVUCU) program. Their biometric data will no longer be required.

This allowance applies to all minors (until now only those under 14 years of age) as well as people over 60 years of age. Ukrainians, who have already received a visa to stay in Canada in the past, are also concerned. Provided that they were not informed of any wrongdoing during their stay. AVUKU was officially launched on March 17, with nearly 60,000 Ukrainians and their families registered.

07:15 — New Russian shelling of several Donbas cities

“The Russians shelled Lisichansk (in the Donbass — ed.), there are victims. At about 6:30 am, the enemy opened fire on residential areas. […] There is significant destruction of buildings,” writes Sergey Gaidai, head of the Lugansk regional administration, on Telegram.

Airstrikes were also reported in the same area against some parts of Kremennaya. Also, battles are going on in Popasnaya and Rubezhnoye, again according to Sergei Gaidai.

6:00 – Caring for the Baltic States

Not listened enough – despite Russia’s consistent annexation of territories in Georgia, Donbass and Crimea – and feeling even more vulnerable after the invasion of Ukraine, the Baltic states are constantly calling for greater protection for the important member of the Atlantic Alliance, which they joined in 2004. .

They are calling for help on land, at sea and in the air to have “the necessary muscle to block Putin” from seeking to “restore the 1997 NATO borders and create a new iron curtain in Europe.”

5:30 am – Lavrov in China… but talking about Afghanistan

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has arrived in China, the Russian embassy in Beijing said on Wednesday. His first visit to the Middle Kingdom, which refused to condemn Moscow’s intervention but condemned Western sanctions against Russia after the invasion of Ukraine.

The head of Russian diplomacy arrived in Tunxi (eastern China) for a two-day meeting, which is attended by seven neighboring countries of Afghanistan (in addition to Russia and China: Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan). The head of Taliban diplomacy in Kabul, Amir Khan Muttaki, is also expected, a week after a surprise visit to Kabul by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

4:00 am – In Nikolaev, the number of victims is growing.

A Russian rocket that hit the building of the Mykolaiv regional administration on Tuesday resulted in more casualties than originally stated. The latest report, released on Wednesday by the Ukrainian aid service, reported at least 12 dead and 33 injured. A previous report by the Prosecutor General’s Office reported 9 dead and 28 injured.

03:00 – Ukraine shuts down more than a third of steelmaking capacities

“Mariupol plants account for more than a third of steel production in Ukraine. This means that today Ukraine has lost about 30-40% of its steel production capacity,” Yuriy Ryzhenkov, CEO of Metinvest, said in an interview with Ukrainian television. However, according to him, the facilities, like the city, remain under the control of the Ukrainian security forces.

>>> Highlights of the night

> US remains wary of Moscow’s intentions

Joe Biden said Tuesday that Westerners are waiting to see “Russia keep its word” to reduce its military activity towards Kyiv and Chernihiv, Ukraine. “We’ll see if they keep their word,” the American president told reporters shortly after meeting with the leaders of France, Britain, Germany and Italy. “There seems to be a consensus on what you should look at, what they have to offer. »

A little earlier, the Pentagon calculated that there had been a “shuffle” of Russian troops on the ground, and not a “real withdrawal.” “The vast majority of the (Russian) forces they have concentrated near Kiev are still there,” Defense Department spokesman John Kirby said. But “we must be ready for a major offensive against other regions of Ukraine,” and “this does not mean that the threat to Kiev has passed,” he warned.

> Lifting sanctions against Russia “is only conceivable after the end of the war”, according to Zelensky

“It should not be expected that the negotiations will lead to the lifting of sanctions against the Russian Federation. This issue can only be considered after the war is over and we will restore what belongs to us,” the Ukrainian president assured.

“Ukrainians are not naive, they have learned during these 34 days of the invasion and over the last eight years of the war in Donbass that one cannot believe words, only facts,” he repeated. “Russian troops must leave the occupied territories. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine must be guaranteed. There can be no compromise (on these two points, editor’s note),” he added.

He also said that the signals of the Russian-Ukrainian talks in Turkey are “positive”, but Ukraine “does not intend to weaken” its military efforts. “You can say that the signals that we hear in the negotiations are positive, but they do not drown out either the explosions or Russian shells,” he said in a video message posted on Telegram. “The Russian army still has significant potential to continue attacks on our state,” he said.

> The UN accused Russia of causing the “global food crisis”

“Vladimir Putin started this war. He created this global food crisis. And he is the one who can stop it,” said US diplomacy number two Wendy Sherman during a meeting of the Security Council on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine.

“Only Russia and President Putin are responsible for unleashing a war with Ukraine and for the consequences of this war for world food security,” the Deputy Secretary of State emphasized. The French ambassador to the UN, Nicolas de Rivière, carried this through, saying that “Russian aggression against Ukraine has increased the risk of famine around the world.”

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