Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that there had been no major breakthrough in talks with Ukraine aimed at ending the Russian invasion.
Negotiators from the two countries met for about three hours on Tuesday in Istanbul, Turkey. Then Russia said its military was reducing operations around the capital, Kyiv – but US and Ukrainian officials say missile attacks on the city continue unabated.
Peskov said the Kremlin would not discuss issues “that are largely on the negotiating table.” He said that what Ukraine’s representatives publish on social media, including those who did not participate in the talks, does not contribute to the success of the negotiations.
“No one said that the parties advanced. Who said that the parties advanced?” Peskov said none of the officials involved in the talks described them as positive.
Peskov also rejected a Ukrainian proposal to negotiate the status of Crimea over the next fifteen years.
“Crimea is part of the Russian Federation,” Peskov said. According to our Constitution, we cannot discuss with anyone the fate of the Russian lands, the fate of the Russian regions. This is out of the question.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said there was no reason to believe Russia’s announcement that it would reduce military activity near Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv, given what is still happening on the ground.
“We can call those signals we hear in negotiations positive,” he said in his nightly speech on video to the Ukrainian people. But these signals do not muffle the sound of the explosions of Russian missiles.
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Ukraine asked Norway for long-range weapons to protect the stricken Ukrainian cities.
“A meeting between President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin is only possible after a significant de-escalation in Ukraine,” White House communications director Kate Bedingfield said on Tuesday. On Monday, Biden said the meeting was possible “depending on what he (Putin) wants to talk about.”
German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said on Wednesday he had triggered the early warning level for gas supplies amid Russia’s continued demand for payment in rubles.
► US Department of State Level 4 travel advisory renewed to Russia and Ukraine, warning Americans that they could be exposed or detained by Russian officials if they travel there.
Asian stock markets followed Wall Street higher on Wednesday after the latest round of peace talks.
Estonia wants to rebuild Ukraine with Russian energy funding
Estonia wants Europe to help build Ukraine — with the money Europe will pay Russia for its energy. Estonian Foreign Minister Eva Maria Lemets said on Wednesday that the money should be deposited in a bank for Ukraine “to make an immediate impact and make Russia pay for what has been done.”
But there are also concerns that Russia may reject any delay in payments and sell to other countries. European Union leaders have been unable to impose sanctions on Russia’s energy exports, fearing that such a move would harm member states that rely heavily on Moscow’s fossil fuel supplies.
Leimets also stressed the importance of the European Union’s commitment to cut fossil fuel supplies from Russia by two-thirds before the end of the year, saying that “the cost of military action for Russia should be very high.”
Estonia, with a population of about 1.5 million, shares a border with Russia and was part of the Soviet Union until its independence in 1991. Estonia became a member of NATO in 2004.
Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations, Sergei Kislitsya, told the UN Security Council on Tuesday that Russia’s disarmament was “in full swing”. The conflict in Ukraine has entered its second month. Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that his invasion was aimed solely at “disarmament and de-Nazification” of Ukraine. But according to Kyslytsya, Russian forces lost more than 17,000 military personnel, more than 1,700 armored vehicles and about 600 tanks in the invasion.
Russia announced on Tuesday that it would scale back military operations near Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. But Ukrainian military officials have said they do not trust Russia’s announced withdrawal, and US officials remain skeptical.
Inside the frantic journey of one convoy to rescue refugees in Ukraine
USA TODAY He rides with the Ukrainians in a convoy from their war-torn homeland, crossing the border into Moldova. Some will remain there, hoping for a quick end to the war and a safe return home. Others are heading west to the European Union, which provides aid and work permits to some Ukrainian refugees. Salam El-Din, 39, drives one of the buses carrying women and children to safety. Alden is also the founder of the international rescue nonprofit Team Humanity, which organized the caravan. Read more here.
“The car owners are left on their own,” Eldin says. “This leaves the poor.”
– Trevor Hughes
Ukraine and Russia together produce 30% of the world’s wheat supply. It contributes 20% of the global corn supply, and 75 to 80% of sunflower seed oil.
The United Nations food coordinator warned on Tuesday that the war in Ukraine was threatening the global food supply. He said the global impact would be the most severe the world had seen since World War II, and that the invasion had created “a disaster on top of a catastrophe.”
Many farmers from Ukraine, sometimes referred to as the “breadbasket of the world,” have left their farms and fight Russian soldiers amid already soaring food prices.
David Beasley, executive director of the United Nations World Food Program, told the UN Security Council on Tuesday that his agency had already begun cutting rations due to rising food, fuel and shipping costs for millions of families around the world.
– Selena Tibor
Contributing: The Associated Press
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