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Ukraine sees room for compromise, as 20,000 escape Mariupol – Press Telegram

By ANDREA ROSA

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) – Ukraine says it sees a possible compromise on Tuesday in talks with Russia as Moscow forces intensify its bombing of Kiev and some 20,000 civilians flee the port city of Mariupol, desperately surrounded by a humanitarian corridor . .

Rapid advances on the diplomatic front and on the ground occurred on the 20th day of the Russian invasion, as the number of Ukrainians fleeing the country amid the most intense fighting in Europe since World War II exceeded 3 million.

A top Ukrainian negotiator, Presidential Adviser Mykhailo Podolyak, described the latest round of talks with the Russians, held by video conference, as “very difficult and sticky” and said there were “fundamental contradictions” between the two sides, but added that “there is certainly space for engagement “. He said talks will continue on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, another aide to Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelenskyy, Ihor Zhovkva, took a more optimistic note, saying that negotiations had become “more constructive” and that Russia had softened its position by failing to convey its demands for Ukraine’s surrender. .

At other events, leaders of three European Union countries – Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia – visited the besieged capital, arriving by train in a bold show of support amid the danger.

Meanwhile, large explosions thundered in Kiev before the dawn of what Ukrainian authorities said were artillery attacks, as Russian bombing of the capital appeared to be becoming more systematic and approaching the city center, destroying apartments, a subway station and other civilian places.

Zelenskyy said the bombings hit four multi-storey buildings in the city and killed dozens. The attacks disrupted the relative calm that returned after a first advance by Moscow forces was halted in the early days of the war.

A senior U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the Pentagon’s assessment, said the Russians were using long-range fire to attack civilian targets inside Kiev more and more often. their ground forces were making little or no progress around the country. The official said Russian troops were still about 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the center of the capital.

The official said the United States has seen indications that Russia believes it may need more troops or supplies than it has in Ukraine and that it is considering ways to get more resources in the country. The official did not give further details.

Ahead of Tuesday’s talks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow would insist on its demands that Ukraine abandon its candidacy to join NATO, adopt a neutral status and “demilitarize.”

In a statement that seemed to indicate possible reasons for a deal with Moscow, Zelenskyy told European leaders meeting in London that he understands that NATO has no intention of accepting Ukraine.

“We’ve been hearing about open doors for many years, but we’ve also heard that we can’t get into those doors,” he said. “That’s the truth, and we just have to accept it as it is.”

NATO does not support nations with unresolved territorial disputes. Zelenskyy has repeatedly said in recent weeks that he realized that NATO would not offer accession to Ukraine and could consider it a neutral status for his country, but that it needs strong security guarantees from both the West and Russia.

The UN has said the deaths of about 700 civilians in Ukraine have been confirmed, with the actual figure likely to be much higher.

Two journalists working for Fox News were killed when the vehicle they were traveling in caught fire on the outskirts of Kiev on Monday, the network reported. Fox identified the two as video journalist Pierre Zakrzewski and Ukrainian journalist Oleksandra “Sasha” Kuvshynova, who was helping Fox crews navigate the area. Another journalist was killed on Sunday in Ukraine.

New efforts were under way throughout the country to secure civilians and deliver aid. The Red Cross said it was working to evacuate people on about 70 buses in the northeastern city of Sumy, near the Russian border.

The Mariupol exodus has marked the largest evacuation to date of the southern city of 430,000, where officials say a week-long siege has killed more than 2,300 people and left residents fighting for food, water, heat and medicine. The bodies were buried in mass graves.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, a senior assistant at Zelenskyy, said about 20,000 people managed to get out of Mariupol in 4,000 private vehicles via a designated safe corridor leading to the town of Zaporizhzhia.

On a day when thousands managed to leave Mariupol, Russian troops seized the city’s largest hospital, said regional leader Pavlo Kyrylenko. He said troops forced about 400 people from nearby homes to enter the Regional Intensive Care Hospital and were using them and about 100 patients and staff as human shields as they were not allowed to leave.

Kyrylenko said the bombings had already severely damaged the main hospital building, but medical staff had been treating patients in makeshift wards in the basement.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Army General Staff said Tuesday night that Russian troops had launched another assault on the city of strategic importance.

Fighting has intensified in recent days on the outskirts of Kiev, and sirens of airstrikes have crashed inside the capital. The mayor has imposed a curfew that will last until Thursday morning.

Tuesday’s artillery attacks hit Svyatoshynskyi district in western Kiev, adjacent to the suburb of Irpin, which experienced some of the worst fighting of the war.

The flames erupted from a 15-story apartment building and smoke puffed through the air as firefighters climbed the stairs to rescue people. The assault blackened several floors of the building, made a hole in the outside ground and shattered windows in the blocks of neighboring houses. Lifeguards said at least one person was killed.

“It simply came to our notice then. It’s very difficult, “said a firefighter who only gave his name, Andriy, outside the building, tears welling up in his eyes.” People are dying, and the worst thing is that children are dying. ”.

City officials also tweeted an image of the cracked facade of a downtown subway station that had been used as an anti-aircraft shelter and said trains would no longer stop at the station.

A 10-story apartment building in the Podilsky district of Kiev, north of the government district, was damaged. Russian forces have also intensified overnight attacks in Irpin and the suburbs of Hostomel and Bucha, northwest of Kiev, according to the capital’s region chief Oleksiy Kuleba.

“Many streets have become a mass of steel and concrete. People have been hiding in basements for weeks and are afraid to go out even for evacuations, “Kuleba told Ukrainian television.

In the east of the country, Russian forces launched more than 60 attacks overnight Monday through Tuesday against Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv, according to regional administration chief Oleh Sinehubov. The strikes affected the historic center of the city, including the main market.

He said the bodies of dozens of civilians were removed from destroyed apartment buildings.

On Tuesday night, Ukrainian forces repulsed Russian troops trying to storm Kharkiv from their positions in Piatykhatky, a suburb 15 kilometers (9 miles) north, and managed to “push the enemy beyond its previous position,” he said. Sinehubov. Telegram. He called it a “shameful defeat.”

In Mykolaiv, a strategic southern city near the Black Sea where airstrikes killed nine people on Sunday, residents were preparing for more attacks. Volunteers prepared food and sorted the donated clothes. Molotov cocktails were stored for use against invaders.

“We are bombed during the day and at night,” said Svetlana Gryshchenko, whose son-in-law died in combat. “It is a nightmare that Russia is doing on the territory of Ukraine.”

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Associated Press writers Lolita C. Baldor in Washington, Raf Casert in Brussels, and AP journalists from around the world contributed to this report.

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Follow AP coverage of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

Ukraine sees room for compromise, as 20,000 escape Mariupol – Press Telegram Source link Ukraine sees room for compromise, as 20,000 escape Mariupol – Press Telegram

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