Putin 'open to resume' frozen talks. Kyiv 'will win war' - Zelensky: 10 points
Ukraine war: In three months of raging conflict, multiple rounds of peace negotiations have been held with no result in sight.
Russia’s Vladimir Putin on Saturday underlined Moscow’s “openness to resume” the frozen dialogue with Ukraine, a Kremlin handout read, in an 80-minute call with France’s Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Olaf Scholz. The 69-year-old Russian leader, however, reportedly criticised the countries supplying military aid to Kyiv amid growing sanctions against Moscow. The German Chancellor and French president urged Putin for serious and direct negotiations with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. Russia has blamed Kyiv for the roadblocks in peace talks. The two sides have held multiple rounds of negotiations in three months of war.
Here are ten points on the Ukraine war:
1. Moscow has been aiming to widen the Ukraine offensive with smaller cities on target now. On Saturday, the Kremlin said Lyman was “completely liberated”, the second small city to fall this week. The forces have been closing in on Severodonetsk and nearby Lysychansk in Lugansk province, news agency AFP reported.
2. "The situation is very difficult, especially in those areas in Donbas and Kharkiv region, where the Russian army is trying to squeeze at least some result for itself," Zelensky said in his nightly address, news agency AFP reported, as Russia presses eastern Ukraine.
3. "Ukraine will definitely win this war," Zelensky told Dutch television station NOS. "The question is at what cost."
4. Amid an escalating food crisis, Putin on Saturday gave an assurance to France and Germany - "Russia is ready to help find options for the unhindered export of grain, including the export of Ukrainian grain from the Black Sea ports," the Kremlin quoted him as saying. Putin blamed anti-Russian sanctions for the emerging situation.
5. The three leaders have agreed to stay in contact, it said, after not being in touch during the spring.
6. Amid rapid advances in Ukraine, the Russian defense ministry on Saturday said it had launched a new hypersonic missile - from the Barents Sea - to strike its target about 600 miles (1,000 kilometers). The Zircon is said to be the world’s fastest non-ballistic missile.
7. Ukrainian command posts in Bakhmut and Soledar were destroyed with Russian missile strikes, Moscow claimed.
8. Any peace talks with Russia cannot be trusted, Ukrainian presidential adviser and peace talks negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak has said.
9. Russia has been progressive in the midst of an offensive in Donetsk and Luhansk, the two provinces that make up the Donbas.
10. “If Russia did succeed in taking over these areas, it would highly likely be seen by the Kremlin as a substantive political achievement and be portrayed to the Russian people as justifying the invasion,” the British Ministry of Defense said in a Saturday assessment.
(With inputs from Reuters, AP, AFP)