Ukraine enters the 13th day of the war and the exhausted and besieged cities are hoping for the truce announced this morning by the Russians, the fourth after three consecutive falls on deaf ears. After a night of apparent decrease in violence on the ground – but in which a radiological medical center was hit, without consequences -, the Moscow Ministry of Defense announced humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians from Kiev from 9 local (8 Italian) , Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv and Mariupol, arousing some hope after the stalemate of the latest attempts for which Moscow and Kiev have exchanged accusations of sabotage.
The Pentagon yesterday said it noticed very little movement in Russian troops on the ground. But the night had opened with the news of explosions in Odessa, which has been awaiting the Russian attack for days. As Kiev is waiting for, where the Russians are gathering their forces, waiting for the final offensive on the capital. In Mariupol the siege has lasted for a week now and the 200,000 souls who live there – in the words of Human Rights Watch – are “trapped in a frozen nightmare without water or light and live under the constant threat of Russian bombing”.
In the unnerving wait, the Ukrainian president, with yet another video message, wanted to reiterate that he was in Kiev: “I am staying here, I am staying in Kiev, in Bankova (the presidential offices), without hiding and without fear of anyone. win this war, “he thundered, accusing the enemy of using” medieval tactics “to punish the Ukrainians.
In the meantime, the IAEA has announced that another dangerous site has been hit, after the night of global terror due to the fire at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant: a research facility that produces radioisotopes for nuclear medicine has been damaged by Russian bombings near in Kharkiv, said the secretary general of the agency, Rafael Grossi, who however specified that there are no leaks of radioactive materials.
During the night, the direction of the Ukrainian military intelligence service announced that a senior Russian military commander was killed in combat in Kharkiv: General Vitaly Gerasimov, 45, deputy commander of the 41 / a Russian Army, decorated for operations in the second Chechen war. in Syria and Crimea in 2014. If the news is confirmed – in the meantime the Bellingcat investigation agency has confirmed it and the Guardian has relaunched it – it is the second Russian general killed by the Ukrainians in a week. A few days ago, in fact, the same Russian media confirmed the killing in Ukraine of the deputy commander of operations, General Andrei Sukhovetsky, also deputy commander of the 41 / m Army.
Pending the fourth round of talks between the Russian and Ukrainian delegates, the meeting in Antalya is expected for Thursday, the first since the war, between the two enemy foreign ministers, the Russian Serghei Lavrov and the Ukrainian Dmytro Kuleba . The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, proves mediation this time after the silence that has fallen on the attempt by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
And while sanctions on Russia are tightening more and more and in the United States a bipartisan agreement in Congress to boycott Russian oil could see the light, today President Emmanuel Macro and the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz – announced the Elysée – they will meet Chinese leader Xi Jinping in a videoconference summit. The hope is that Beijing, a strategic ally of Moscow, can try something. If not a mediation initiative, let China at least exercise its influence on the Russian ally.
Loud explosions were heard in the evening in the port city of Odessa. The BBC correspondent reports. “We just heard three or four loud explosions coming from the west. We were told it was the Ukrainian defense system that shot down incoming Russian missiles launched from one of the numerous warships located off the coast here.”
Ukrainian intelligence services claim to have Russian general Vitaly Gerasimov killed in Kharkiv, Deputy Commander of the 41st Russian Joint Force, during a fight in Kharkiv. The news, whose veracity cannot be independently verified, is relaunched by various Ukrainian social networks, including the Kyiv Independent in a tweet, in which it is said that Gerasimov had been decorated “for having conquered Crimea”.
“I’m staying here, I’m staying in Kiev, in Bankova (ed, the building that houses the presidential offices), without hiding and without fear of anyone. This is to win this war. “This was said by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who returns to be seen in a new video released tonight on Telegram, quoted by local media.
Meanwhile, Russia has announced a ceasefire to allow humanitarian corridors in Ukraine from 9 am (8 am in Italy) for the evacuation of civilians from Kiev, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv and Mariupol. This was stated by the Moscow Ministry of Defense, quoted by TASS. The humanitarian corridors had already been announced this morning, but then they were not put in place with mutual accusations of sabotage.
“Small positive developments in improving logistics for humanitarian corridors”. The drama of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians trapped under Russian bombing is all contained in these meager statements by Kiev negotiator Mikhaylo Podolyak.
At the end of the third round of talks with Moscow in Belarus in the Bialowieza forest area, which lasted almost four hours, President Volodymyr Zelensky’s adviser took home only the faint hope of a temporary deal on creating exits for civilians from cities under attackwhich Moscow would only concede to the hostile territories of Russia and Belarus.
Ukrainian delegation arrived in Belarus for talks
We hope that “the humanitarian corridors will finally work tomorrow,” said Russian chief negotiator Vladimir Medinsky, the trusted man Vladimir Putin sent to deal with the enemy. “The Ukrainians have provided us with reassurance,” he explained. After three meetings in a week, negotiations will resume “shortly”, but with no breakthroughs on the horizon. “We are under no illusions of obtaining definitive results in the next round of talks, it is a difficult job”, commented Russian negotiator Leonid Slutksy coldly.who leads the Duma’s Foreign Commission.
The tug-of-war over the actual availability of humanitarian corridors had lasted all day. The Moscow Ministry of Defense had announced a ceasefire to start six safe routes: one from Kiev to Gomel (Belarus), two from Mariupol to Zaporizhzhya (south-east Ukraine) and Rostov-on-Don (southern Russia), one from Kharkiv to Belgorod (western Russia) and two from Sumy to Belgorod and Poltava (central Ukraine). But Kiev immediately denied it. “In violation of previous agreements, Russia has sabotaged the opening of humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of the civilian population.
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It continues to bomb Kiev, Mariupol, Volnovakha, Sumy, Mykolaiv, Kharkiv and other cities, towns and villages “, denounced the Foreign Ministry, only to receive the new reply from Moscow, which denounced sabotage by Ukrainian” nationalists “. parties met with the same formations sent last Thursday, when the Ukrainian negotiator Denis Kireyev was already missing, on whose fate a mystery has opened: Kiev had announced his killing while carrying out a “special task”, and according to rumors he could have ended up under friendly fire for suspected treason, but Moscow has questioned its death, in a propaganda war that continues parallel to that on the ground. “Intense consultations continued on the basic political blockade of the rules, as well as on a ceasefire and security guarantees,” added Podolyak.
Russia has produced substantial documentation on possible targeted agreements. But the stalemate remains the figure of these negotiations, which increasingly appear as a tool to buy time. If on the ground, on the twelfth day of the war, the siege becomes increasingly heavy and has reached the buildings on the outskirts of the capital, while the refugees are now 1.7 million and the damage to infrastructures already amounts to ten billion, some opening instead it came from the announcement of the first high-level meeting between the warring parties on Thursday in Turkey. Foreign ministers Serghei Lavrov and Dmytro Kuleba will meet in Antalya, a historic center on the Mediterranean which is the destination of millions of Russian tourists and has long since been transformed into the laboratory of diplomacy in Ankara. After the phone call with Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has obtained the chance of mediation on which the eyes of the world will be focused.
And China too has said that it is willing to make its own contribution, without questioning the axis with Russia. However, the conditions imposed by Moscow remain draconian: the recognition of the separatist republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in Donbass, and of Russian sovereignty over Crimea, and military “neutrality” to be printed in the Ukrainian Constitution, together with the farewell to the aspirations of NATO membership . While the Pentagon has ordered the sending of another 500 soldiers to Europe, aiming to have 100,000, the Western Chancellors are continuing to prepare sanctions. But Zelensky insists with calls to arm Ukraine. “How many deaths do you need to secure our skies? We are waiting for this decision – he said – either with the forces you have or by providing us with aircraft and anti-aircraft systems to give us the strength to do so.”
Meanwhile, the Russian government today approved a list of “hostile countries”, for having applied or for joining sanctions against Moscow in which Italy also appears as a European country. Tass reports it.