Russian and Ukrainian negotiators will resume face-to-face peace talks on Monday, looking to see if a near stalemate in the fighting has forced Moscow to temper its demands. Follow all developments in Ukraine on our live blog. All times shown are in Paris time [GMT+1].
6:30 am: Talks in Turkey, “catastrophic” situation in Mariupol: here is what you need to know
Russian and Ukrainian negotiators will resume face-to-face peace talks on Monday, looking to see if a near stalemate in the fighting has forced Moscow to temper its demands.
President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed the new negotiations, saying he hoped they would bring peace ‘without delay’, and lamented a month-long Russian invasion that has already killed thousands and devastated many Ukrainian towns .
The new talks are expected to begin in Turkey on Monday or Tuesday, with Zelensky desperate to stop the bombardment of towns like Mariupol, where officials said the situation was “catastrophic”.
About 170,000 civilians remain trapped in Mariupol without adequate food, water or medicine, as the southern port city is turned “to dust” by Russian shelling, according to Ukraine’s foreign ministry.
— MFA of Ukraine 🇺🇦 (@MFA_Ukraine) March 28, 2022
France, Greece and Turkey hope to launch a “humanitarian operation” to evacuate civilians within days, according to French President Emmanuel Macron, who has asked for the agreement of his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
Several previous rounds of peace talks have failed to end the fighting or overcome fundamental disagreements over kyiv’s alignment with the West and Russia’s occupation of Ukrainian territory.
But with the much larger Russian army humiliated by fierce Ukrainian resistance and forced to abandon efforts to capture kyiv, there is new hope for talks.
“Our goal is obvious: peace and the restoration of normal life to our home state as soon as possible,” Zelensky said in a late-night video message that also laid out his negotiating red lines.
“The sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine are beyond doubt. Effective security guarantees for our state are mandatory,” he said.
Zelensky said he was “carefully” considering a Russian request for Ukrainian “neutrality”.
“This point of the negotiations is understandable to me and it is being discussed, it is being carefully considered,” Zelensky said in an interview with several independent Russian news outlets on Sunday.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)