War in Ukraine: Europe tightens sanctions against Russia, negotiations continue

Firefighters on a crane put out a fire in a residential building in Kyiv, March 15, 2022. (©AFP/Aris Messinis)

USA to announce Wednesday, March 16, 2022 new $800 million envelope to help Ukraine face Russian troops tightening their grip despite new talks between Kiev and Moscow that the Ukrainian president called “more realistic.”

This was stated by US President Joe Biden after a video message from his Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Zelensky before the US Congress. “In total, the president has committed $2 billion to security since the beginning of the administration,” Biden said, a White House official said.

Washington has already provided Ukraine over the past year about 2600 weapons He added Javelin anti-tank missiles and more than 600 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles.

To the no-fly zone over Ukraine?

Vladimir Zelensky is due to speak at 13:00 GMT. before US parliamentarianswho regularly call on President Biden to be tough on Russia.

The President of Ukraine should once again call establishment of a no-fly zone over his countrya measure supported by a few elected members of Congress, but so far rejected by the American president.

“Imagine your cities being shelled, surrounded,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy told Canadian parliamentarians on Tuesday, again calling for this no-fly zone. Elected US officials from both camps are also calling on Joe Biden to facilitate the supply of Polish MiG-29 aircraft to Ukraine, which Washington has vehemently refused.

U.S. President Joe Biden before both houses of the U.S. Congress during his State of the Union address in Washington on March 1, 2022.
U.S. President Joe Biden before both houses of the U.S. Congress during his State of the Union address in Washington on March 1, 2022. (© POOL/AFP/SAUL LOEB)

“The Russians have already killed 97 children by bombing schools, hospitals, houses”– Vladimir Zlensky confirmed again in front of the Canadian deputies, who cheered him up for several minutes.

Half of Kyiv fled

Despite these calls for help, Russian fire on several Ukrainian cities intensified on Tuesday, especially Kiev, which its mayor Vitali Klitschko said is in a “dangerous moment.” Long queues formed in front of supermarkets throughout the day. locals ordering.

“We hold on,” one of them, 26-year-old Vlad Volodko, assured. Kyivwhich Russian troops are trying to surround, lost at least half of its 3.5 million inhabitants since the beginning of the conflict on 24 February.

At least four people were dragged from an apartment building in the Sviatoshyn district in western Kyiv, and about 40 others were rescued alive after a Russian strike started a fire, local authorities said.

“Hard” leak

IN Mariupolanother martyr city in the southeast of Ukraine, the situation remains direbut about 20,000 civilians were able to leave the port city on Tuesday in 4,000 vehicles, according to the Ukrainian president.

All described the grueling journey during which they were forced to pull off the road to avoid Russian troops and roadblocks, in constant fear of enemy fire.

“Moving forward, we saw a burnt car. The soldiers told us that it exploded with a woman inside. after a mine explosion, an hour before we get there,” said Nikolai, who fled Mariupol with his wife and two children. Russia is expanding its offensive throughout Ukraine, now also targeting the West.

Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Russian invasion of Ukraine. (©AFP/Clea PECULIER)

Ray of hope with negotiations

Following attacks on a military base near Poland on Sunday, a TV tower near Rivne (northwest) on Monday killed 19 people, according to local authorities.

In that in the context of intense strikesNegotiations between Moscow and Kiev, which began on Tuesday, are due to resume on Wednesday in hopes of stopping the carnage. The Ukrainian president gave some hope on Tuesday, believing that the positions have now become “more realistic.”

However, he acknowledged, “even more time is needed for decisions to be in the interests of Ukraine. He also did gesture towards Moscowdeclaring that he is ready to give up any membership of his country in NATO, which is a casus belli for Russia.

However, this is not enough to break Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a press release issued after his Tuesday meeting with European Council President Charles Michel. During this conversation, Vladimir Putin “underlined that Kyiv does not show any serious interest in finding mutually acceptable solutions,” according to this press release.

Turkish and Western Mediation

Turkey’s mediation efforts, a NATO member country that has refused to join the sanctions against Moscow, are also continuing. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is in Moscow, where he will hold talks on Wednesday.

According to Ankara, on Thursday he will travel to Ukraine to seek a ceasefire. Westerners also want reaffirm their unity and commitment next to Ukraine.

Kyiv received on Tuesday visit of the Prime Ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia. mm. Mateusz Morawiecki, Piotr Fiala and Janez Jansa met with the President of Ukraine, to whom they promised their support. “We will never leave you alone. We will be with you because we know that you are fighting not only for your freedom, for your home and for your safety, but also for us,” Morawiecki wrote on Twitter.

This is the first visit by foreign leaders to Kyiv since the start of the Russian attack on February 24.

A resident stands in her bombed-out apartment in Kyiv, March 15, 2022.
A resident stands in her bombed-out apartment in Kyiv, March 15, 2022. (©AFP/FADEL SENNA)

Europe tightens sanctions

At the same time, Warsaw demanded the creation of a “peacekeeping mission” of NATO, “under the protection of the armed forces” to come to the aid of Ukraine. The topic can be discussed at an extraordinary NATO summit scheduled for March 24 in Brussels.

According to the White House, Joe Biden will go there to reaffirm the “iron commitment” of the United States to its allies. And, not being able to intervene militarily, the Westerners continue increase their fines.

The European Union will deprive Russian oligarchs of luxury sedans, champagne and other luxuries through a fourth round of sanctions that went into effect on Tuesday. The United Kingdom did the same by adding punitive customs duties on vodka and additional holding gels.

Moscow responded with counter-sanctions against Joe Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and several members of their governments.

Over three million exiles

Russia is also striving to promote “humanitarian” draft resolution before the UN Security Council, which could be voted on Thursday.

The text, in Russian, obtained by AFP, expresses the Security Council’s “deep concern” at “reports of civilian casualties, including children, in and around Ukraine.”

People demonstrate their support for Ukraine outside the White House in Washington, March 15, 2022.
People demonstrate their support for Ukraine outside the White House in Washington, March 15, 2022. (©AFP/Nicholas Kamm)

In its current form, it is unlikely to gain the required number of votes. This text, which “does not call for an immediate cessation of hostilities” – this is a “joke”responded Western diplomat on condition of anonymity.

On Wednesday, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) will deliver its verdict as part of a procedure launched by Kiev that is asking the UN’s highest court to order Moscow to stop its invasion of Ukraine immediately.

Almost three weeks of war more than three million people left Ukrainemainly to Poland, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Including 1.4 million childrenor “virtually one child per second,” according to UNICEF.

Source: © 2022 AFP

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