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Moscow plays down hopes for ‘breakthrough’ in Peace Talks

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

RUSSIA, UKRAINE, SWITZERLAND: Russia on Wednesday played down hopes of a breakthrough in peace with Ukraine, a day after delegations from both sides held talks over the ongoing invasion. Speaking to reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia had “not noticed anything too promising or that looked like a breakthrough” during the Istanbul talks. Welcoming the proposal of listing out demands by Ukraine, Peskov said, “Moscow considered it “positive” that Kyiv had started outlining its demands in writing.” “There is still a lot of work remains before a deal is possible,” he added.

After several rounds of failed negotiations, the peace talks made little progress on Tuesday after Russia promised it would scale back its military operations near Kyiv and Chernihiv. However, on Wednesday, the shelling by Russian forces continued in the north and west of Kyiv, despite Russia’s declaration. After Tuesday’s talks, Moscow also held out the prospect of direct talks between Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, something Kyiv has long sought.

Meanwhile, Peace talks between Russia and Ukraine have led to calming down of the global commodity price rise. While prices remain high but the rate of appreciation has come down. Lately, the conflict which started over a month ago, seems to reach a partial resolution, after the two sides entered another round of talks.

The conflict has strained global commodity supplies, consequently, pushing up prices. Accordingly, crisis has led to a global spike in international prices of crude oil, natural gas, coal, nickel, copper, aluminium, potash, titanium and palladium.

Moreover, higher commodity cost will be reflected in retail prices of petrol, diesel, fertiliser, steel as well as cement prices.

Meanwhile, More than four million Ukrainians have now fled the country to escape Russia’s “senseless war”, the United Nations said Wednesday.

UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, said 4,019,287 Ukrainians had fled across the country’s borders since the February 24 invasion, with more than 2.3 million having headed west into Poland.

“Refugees from Ukraine are now four million, five weeks after the start of the Russian attack,” UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Ukraine accused Russia on Wednesday of planting mines in the Black Sea and said some of those munitions had to be defused off Turkey and Romania as risks to vital merchant shipping in the region grow.

The Black Sea is a major shipping route for grain, oil and oil products. Its waters are shared by Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia and Turkey as well as Ukraine and Russia.

In recent days Turkish and Romanian military diving teams have been involved in defusing stray mines around their waters. Ukraine’s foreign ministry said Russia was using naval mines as “uncontrolled drifting ammunition”.

“It was these drifting mines that were found March 26-28, 2022 off the coasts of Turkey and Romania,” it said in a statement. – THE HINDUSTAN TIMES, THE BANGKOK POST,INDIAN EXPRESS

Friday, April 1, 2022 – 01:00

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