Red Cross travels to Mariupol as Ukraine-Russia peace talks resume Here’s the latest – National

The Red Cross was en route to the besieged city of Mariupol on Friday to attempt evacuations while Ukraine and Russia resumed talks to end the war.

The three-car Red Cross team with nine employees was to lead a convoy of about 54 Ukrainian buses and several private vehicles out of the city, a spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

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Meanwhile, the two warring nations met via video link to negotiate a peace deal to end the war that began on February 24.

Here’s a recap of what’s happening on Friday.

Red Cross heads to Mariupol but with no aid in tow: spokesman

After receiving permission from Ukraine and Russia, the Red Cross was on its way to Mariupol to hopefully begin evacuations, spokesman Ewan Watson said.

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Watson stressed that the organization was still working out some important details, such as the exact timeline and the target, which will be an unspecified location in Ukraine.

Maxar satellite images show before-and-after photos released March 29 of a residential area in Mariupol damaged by ongoing fighting. – Satellite Image ©2022 Maxar Technologies

The Red Cross is not allowed to accept humanitarian aid and left without the medical and other supplies it had pre-positioned in the nearby town of Zaporizhia, he said, adding the Red Cross is working to change that.

“The situation is catastrophic and escalating. It is now a humanitarian imperative that people be allowed to leave the country and relief supplies be allowed in,” Watson said.

Earlier this week, Mariupol’s mayor said some 170,000 residents were trapped there without electricity and limited supplies. The city, which had a population of about 400,000 before the start of the war, was a strategic Russian focus and was almost constantly bombed.

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Ukraine and Russia sit down for virtual peace talks

Ukraine and Russia resumed peace talks, but in an online format, Ukraine’s Presidential Office said, citing key negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak. It did not provide any further details.

Delegations from both countries held talks in Turkey on Tuesday, after which Podolyak was optimistic.

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Ukraine’s UNESCO buildings could be threatened in the wake of the Russian invasion

Ukraine’s UNESCO buildings could be threatened in the wake of the Russian invasion

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday Moscow was preparing its response to Ukraine’s proposals at Tuesday’s talks.

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On Tuesday, Ukraine’s delegation in Istanbul suggested that the country would declare itself neutral and drop its bid to join NATO, as Moscow has long been demanding, in exchange for security guarantees from a group of other nations, possibly including Canada.

Tank farm strike not helping talks, Russia says

Russia pointed the finger at Ukraine for being responsible for the attack on a fuel depot in Russia earlier in the day. Ukraine’s foreign minister said he could neither confirm nor deny reports of Ukraine’s involvement in the strike as he had no military information.

The governor of Russia’s Belgorod region accused Ukraine of flying gunships into Russian territory aimed at the fuel depot in what, if confirmed, would be the first such attack. It was not immediately possible to verify the report.

Territorial Defense Units volunteers undergo military training on March 31 on the outskirts of Zaporizhia, Ukraine.

Andrea Carrubba/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said President Vladimir Putin had been briefed on the incident, adding the strike could jeopardize peace talks.

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“Of course, these cannot be considered comfortable conditions for the continuation of talks,” Peskov said, adding that everything is being done to prevent fuel supply disruptions in the city.

Ukraine is pushing Russian troops back into the Kyiv region: official

Ukrainian forces pushed back Russian troops northeast and northwest of the capital Kyiv, an aide to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

Political adviser Oleksiy Arestovych also said Russian forces are now attempting to encircle the northern city of Chernihiv.

A Ukrainian soldier takes a selfie photo standing on top of a destroyed Russian tank after Ukrainian troops overran a Russian position outside Kyiv on March 31.

Vadim Ghirda/AP

After promising to scale back operations near Kyiv and Chernihiv to “boost mutual trust and create conditions for further negotiations,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday that Russia is sending troops to the eastern Donbass region instead relocated.

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Late last week, Russia said it would shift its military focus to the Donbass region, where fighting between Russian-backed rebels and Ukrainian forces has been ongoing for eight years.

– with files from The Associated Press and Reuters

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc. Red Cross travels to Mariupol as Ukraine-Russia peace talks resume Here’s the latest – National

Joel McCord

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