War in Ukraine: Russian negotiators dissatisfied with talks, Ukrainians cite 'some positives'

A man opens his arms as he stands near a house destroyed in the Russian artillery shelling, in the village of Horenka close to Kyiv
A man opens his arms as he stands near a house destroyed in the Russian artillery shelling, in the village of Horenka close to Kyiv Copyright AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky
By Alasdair SandfordEuronews with AP, AFP
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The third round of talks at the Belarus border failed to produce concrete results, but while the Kremlin negotiators claim dissatisfaction, the Ukrainian side said there were 'some positives.'


This was Monday's live blog. For the latest updates on Tuesday click here.

The third round of negotiations between Russian and Ukrainian officials on the Belarus border did not result in any major agreements, the two sides stated on Monday evening.

Earlier in the day, Ukraine has rejected a purported Russian plan for humanitarian corridors and local ceasefires, as it involves transporting civilians to Belarus and Russia.

Moscow claims its proposal is to allow civilians to be moved out of Kyiv, Kharkiv, Mariupol and Sumy. France's President Macron denounced Putin's "moral and political cynicism".

Follow the latest developments in our live blog below:


Monday's key points:

  • Ukraine has called a Russian offer for local ceasefires and humanitarian corridors "unacceptable" and "immoral", as it involved transporting civilians to Belarus and Russia. 
  • Attacks by Russian forces have left over 900 communities in Ukraine without electricity, water or heating -- a Ukrainian presidential adviser says.
  • Oil prices soared to a 13-year high as Washington weighs up a potential ban on Russian oil imports.
  • Polish officials say more than a million people have crossed the border from Ukraine since the Russian invasion began. UN figures on Monday said more than 1.7 million overall have fled abroad.
  • President Zelenskyy said Ukraine will not forgive Russia for the victims and suffering inflicted, accusing Putin's forces of "deliberate murder".
  • Click here for a review of Sunday's developments.
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IAEA: News of nuclear research facility in Kharkiv damaged by shelling adds to 'worrying developments'

The UN nuclear watchdog says Ukraine has informed it that a new research facility producing radioisotopes for medical and industrial uses has been damaged by shelling in Kharkiv.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said the Ukrainian regulator told it that Sunday’s incident didn’t cause any increase in radiation levels at the site. It said the nuclear material at the facility is “always subcritical”, and there is a very low stock of it, so the IAEA assesses that the reported damage would have no “radiological consequence”.

However, it adds to a string of concerns the Vienna-based IAEA has over nuclear facilities and materials in Ukraine.

It reported “another worrying development” Monday at the Zaporizhzhia power plant, Ukraine’s biggest, which was seized last week by Russian forces. The IAEA said the Ukrainian regulator informed it that it is not currently possible to deliver spare parts or medicine to the plant.

The IAEA reiterated that “having operating staff subject to the authority of the Russian military commander contravenes an indispensable pillar of nuclear safety.”

The Ukrainian regulator said eight of the country’s 15 reactors were operating, including two at Zaporizhzhia.


No conscripts or reservists to be sent to Ukraine, Putin announces amid contradicting reports

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Monday that he would not send conscripts or reservists to fight in Ukraine, saying the offensive was being carried out by "professionals" fulfilling "set objectives".

"I want to emphasise that conscripted soldiers are not and will not participate in the fighting. Nor will there be any additional conscription of reservists," Putin said in a televised address on the occasion of the 8 March International Women's Day.

Statements from captured Russian troops and their families that have become public and Western intelligence alike claim that conscripts have been deployed in Ukraine since the beginning of the invasion.


Russia announces local ceasefires to allow for evacuation of civilians

"The Russian Federation announces a ceasefire from 10 am Moscow time (8 am CET) on March 8" for the evacuation of civilians via humanitarian corridors from Kyiv, as well as the cities of Sumy, Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Mariupol, the Russian defence ministry's office in charge of humanitarian operations in Ukraine said in a statement quoted by Russian news agencies.


UN calls for safe delivery of humanitarian aid to fighting zones, civilians to be protected

The UN "needs safe corridors to deliver humanitarian aid to areas of hostilities" in Ukraine, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths told the Security Council on Monday.
"Civilians in places like Mariupol, Kharkiv, Melitopol and elsewhere are in desperate need of aid, especially life-saving medical supplies," he added, at an emergency meeting of the Council on the humanitarian crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
"The parties must ensure at all times that civilians, civilian homes and infrastructure are spared in their military operations," he also said. "This includes allowing safe passage for civilians leaving areas of active hostilities on a voluntary basis, in the direction of their choice," the official insisted, as planned humanitarian corridors by Moscow lead to Russia or Belarus.
"All civilians, whether they stay or go, must be respected and protected," Griffiths said, deploring "an unnecessary conflict".

Italy to use seized Mafia properties to host Ukrainian refugees

The Italian authorities are identifying properties taken from the Mafia to house arriving Ukrainian refugees, the interior minister said on Monday.

Luciana Lamorgese said in a statement that the agency that manages property seized from the Mafia had begun to study properties "that can be used in the short term, even temporarily, to house refugees from Ukraine".

According to the Interior Ministry, some 17,286 Ukrainians, primarily women and children, have arrived in Italy since the Russian army began its invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.

Although most of these refugees have found shelter with relatives and friends, private and public initiatives have been reported in the country to organise accommodation for many others.

"This is the beginning. Hundreds of thousands of refugees are going to arrive and we have to be up to the task," the leader of the Democratic Party, Enrico Letta, said on Monday.

"We must also prepare to welcome Russians fleeing Russia, a country that is increasingly becoming a prison," he added.


FIFA allows foreign players in Russia to leave until end of season

FIFA intervened to allow foreign players and coaches based in Russia to leave their clubs on Monday, although only for the rest of the season.

Clubs in other countries will be allowed to sign up to two players who had been at clubs in Russia or Ukraine outside of the transfer window.

Ukraine’s league has been suspended since war engulfed the country, and its players are also allowed to temporarily leave until June 30.


Russia warns of 'catastrophic' crude oil price hike due in case of Western sanctions

Moscow has warned on Monday of "catastrophic consequences" for the world market if a Western embargo on Russian oil -- discussed by the US and the EU as a response to Russia's military intervention in Ukraine -- is put in place.

"It is quite obvious that the refusal to buy Russian oil will lead to catastrophic consequences for the world market," said Russian Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Alexander Novak.

"The price surge is likely to be unpredictable and reach more than $300 per barrel or more," he added, as quoted by Russian news agencies.


Kremlin negotiators dissatisfied with talks, Ukrainian counterparts cite 'some positives'

The third round of Russian-Ukrainian talks ended Monday evening in Belarus, with the Ukrainians saying that there were "some positive results" regarding humanitarian corridors. At the same time, the Russians said the session "did not live up to expectations".

The Ukrainian side has achieved some positive results "in improving the logistics of humanitarian corridors," Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the Ukrainian presidency and member of the delegation at the talks, said on Twitter.

"Changes will be made, and more effective help will be provided to people suffering from the Russian Federation's aggression," he added.

He stated that on key issues such as a ceasefire, "intensive dialogues will continue". However, there are "not yet any results that could improve the situation", according to him.

At the same time, the session did not "live up to Moscow's expectations", Russian representative Vladimir Medinsky said.

Medinsky expressed his views in a press briefing broadcast by Russia's public television channel Rossia 24, adding: "We hope that next time we will be able to make a more significant breakthrough."

Additional sources • Reuters

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