Russia-Ukraine war: ‘Kyiv not keen to end hostilities’

Published on May 19, 2022 05:34 AM IST

“Talks are indeed not moving forward and we note the complete lack of will of Ukrainian negotiators to continue this process,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Rescuers carry the body of a civilian at a site of an apartment building destroyed by Russian shelling in Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, on Wednesday. AP
Rescuers carry the body of a civilian at a site of an apartment building destroyed by Russian shelling in Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, on Wednesday. AP
Agencies |

The Kremlin on Wednesday accused Kyiv authorities of not wanting to continue talks to end hostilities that started after Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops into pro-Western Ukraine.

“Talks are indeed not moving forward and we note the complete lack of will of Ukrainian negotiators to continue this process,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Russia accused Ukraine of hardening its stance and the West for bolstering the government in Kyiv, with foreign minister Sergei Lavrov saying that Washington, London and Brussels want to use Ukraine to their strategic advantage.

Lavrov said he believes no pace deal can be made if negotiators try to “transfer the dialogue” to focus on what the West had to say instead of the immediate situation in Ukraine. That rules out chances for progress in talks, he added.

“We always say that we are ready for negotiations ... but we were given no other choice,” Lavrov said.

Ukraine and Russia have held intermittent peace talks since the end of February 2022, just days after Russia invaded its neighbour, but there has been little communication between them in recent weeks.

Russian soldier pleads guilty in war crimes trial

The first Russian soldier on trial in Ukraine for war crimes during Moscow’s invasion pleaded guilty on Wednesday, facing possible life imprisonment in Kyiv.

Asked in court if he was guilty of the allegations, including war crimes and premeditated murder, 21-year-old sergeant Vadim Shishimarin responded “yes”.

He is accused of killing a 62-year-old civilian in northeast Ukraine in the first days of the Kremlin’s offensive.

Meanwhile, Russia’s defence ministry said on Wednesday that 959 Ukrainian soldiers had surrendered this week at the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Ukraine’s port city of Mariupol.

“Over the past 24 hours, 694 militants surrendered, including 29 wounded,” the ministry said in its daily briefing on the conflict. “In total since May 16, 959 militants surrendered, including 80 wounded.”

Russia expels 85 embassy staff

Russia has said it was expelling a total of 85 embassy staff from France, Spain and Italy in response to similar moves by those countries, highlighting the damage to relations with leading EU members since it launched its war on Ukraine. The foreign ministry said it was ordering out 34 diplomatic staff from France, 27 from Spain and 24 from Italy.

Meanwhile, the US embassy in Kyiv reopened on Wednesday after a three-month closure. “We are officially reopening operations,” spokesperson Daniel Langenkamp told Reuters shortly before the US flag was raised above the embassy.

Finland, Sweden apply to join Nato alliance

Finland and Sweden formally applied to join Nato on Wednesday, prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and triggering one of the most significant changes in Europe’s security architecture in decades.

Finland and Sweden were both neutral throughout the Cold War and their decision to join Nato reflects the sweeping shift in public opinion in the Nordic region since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Zelensky’s life story told in new comic book

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky’s life story - from comedian to war-time leader - has been given the graphic novel treatment in TidalWave Comics’ latest biography, Political Power: Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The 22-page glossy, set for release on Friday, tells the story of how Zelensky, who once played a fictional president in a TV show, swept to power in 2019 promising to end a war with Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

He had no political experience when he took office as the country’s sixth president.

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