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Ukraine talks yield no breakthrough

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UN calls for immediate ceasefire
Over 660,000 people flee Ukraine

BELARUS,UN: The first round of talks aimed at stopping the fighting between Ukraine and Russia ended Monday with no agreement except to keep talking, while an increasingly isolated Moscow ran into unexpectedly fierce resistance on the ground and economic havoc at home.

Five days into Russia’s invasion, the Kremlin again raised the spectre of nuclear war, while an embattled Ukraine moved to solidify its ties to the West by applying to join the European Union – a largely symbolic move unlikely to sit well with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has long accused the U.S. of trying to pull Ukraine out of Moscow’s orbit.

A top Putin aide and head of the Russian delegation, Vladimir Medinsky, said that the talks lasted nearly five hours and that the envoys “found certain points on which common positions could be foreseen.” He said they agreed to continue the discussions in the coming days.

As the talks wrapped up, several blasts could be heard in Kyiv, though few details were immediately known. Russian troops, while attacking on multiple fronts, continued to advance slowly on the capital city of nearly 3 million people.

Meanwhile, the United Nations on Monday called for an immediate ceasefire by all parties involved in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. UN Secretary General António Guterres said there was a need for exercising maximum restraint and initiating dialogue. “Diplomacy and dialogue must prevail,” he said at the 11th Emergency Special Session on the ongoing crisis.

“Escalating violence is resulting in civilians’ death. Enough is enough. Soldiers need to move back to barracks. Civilians must be protected,” Guterres said. The special session began with a minute of silence.

“Humanitarian aid is vital, it’s not a solution, the only solution is through peace… I have assured the Ukraine President that the UN will continue to assist, will not abandon them, will provide them with humanitarian assistance,” Guterres further said.

More than 70 Ukrainian servicemen were killed by a Russian rocket attack and dozens of civilians have died in “barbaric” shelling, Ukrainian authorities said on Tuesday, as a huge Russian military convoy approached the capital Kyiv.

Meanwhile, The U.N. refugee agency said Monday that more than 660,000 people have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded the country last week. U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi gave the estimate in a tweet.

(The Hindustan Times, Japan Today)

Wednesday, March 2, 2022 – 01:00

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