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LIVE: Russia says de-escalation not a ceasefire; talks have long way to go

Russian negotiators earlier on Tuesday gave an undertaking to sharply scale back military activity around Ukraine's capital Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv

Image BS Web Team New Delhi
Mariupol, Ukraine

A man walks with a bicycle in a street damaged by shelling in Mariupol (Photo: AP/PTI)

Live news updates: India's COVID-19 tally climbed to 4,30,21,982 on Tuesday with 1,259 fresh cases, while the number of active cases of the infection further declined to 15,378, according to the Union health ministry. The death toll due to the viral disease has gone up to 5,21,070 with 35 more fatalities, the ministry's data updated at 8 am stated. The active cases account for 0.04 per cent of the total caseload, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate remained at 98.75 per cent, the ministry said. 

A special unit of the Ukrainian defence forces, fighting the Ukraine war, has claimed that it has managed to destroy the 40-mile convoy of the Russian army heading towards Kyiv, according to media reports. The drone operators of the 30-strong Ukrainian special forces were drawn from an air reconnaissance unit Aerorozvidka, according to The Guardian. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Sunday his government is “carefully” considering a Russian demand of Ukrainian neutrality, a key point of contention as negotiators for both sides prepare for a fresh round of talks aimed at ending the brutal month-long war.

US President Joe Biden on Monday said that his weekend comment in Europe that his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin cannot remain in power was a moral outrage for his invasion of Ukraine, and that does not reflect any change in American policy with respect to regime change. As such, Biden refused to apologize for his comments, on which his administration has been having a tough time in explaining over the past few days.

11:42 PM

Scholz, Biden and allies agree to keep pushing for Russian ceasefire: German govt

The leaders of Germany, the United States, France, Britain and Italy agreed in a phone call on Tuesday afternoon to keep pushing Russia for a ceasefire and for the withdrawal of its troops from Ukraine, a German government spokesman said.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, U.S. President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi also agreed to keep up the high sanctions presure on Russia, spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit said in a statement.
And they urged Russian President Vladimir Putin "to finally allow the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian help for people in Ukraine and to erect effective humanitarian corridors ... esepcially in the city of Mariupol," Hebestreit.
Finally, the leaders discussed measures to secure energy security and to counter high energy prices.
11:30 PM

Russian oligarch Deripaska loses US court battle to lift sanctions

A US appeals court in Washington on Tuesday rejected a bid by Russian aluminum tycoon Oleg Deripaska to lift sanctions imposed on him by the United States in 2018, finding that American officials had sufficient evidence to back up their action.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled against Deripaska's appeal of a federal judge's ruling last year dismissing the oligarch's lawsuit challenging the sanctions. U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta had ruled that Deripaska's numerous claims in the lawsuit lacked merit.
11:22 PM

Biden says 'we'll see' if Russia de-escalates in Ukraine

US President Joe Biden on Tuesday said it remains to be seen whether Russia follows through with any actions to scale down its military operations in Ukraine, saying Washington and its allies will continue with strong sanctions and aid for Ukraine.
"We'll see if they follow through with what they're suggesting" as Moscow-Kyiv negotiations continue, he told reporters at the White House following his meeting with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore. "We're going to continue to keep a close eye on what's going on."
10:45 PM

Russia-backed Donetsk Republic will consider joining Russia

The Russian-backed self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic in eastern Ukraine may consider joining Russia once it controls all of Ukraine's Donetsk region, its news outlet cited separatist leader Denis Pushilin as saying on Tuesday.
"The main task is to reach the constitutional borders of the republic. Then we will determine that," Pushilin was quoted by the Donetsk News Agency as saying.
10:41 PM

Poland moves to block coal imports from Russia

Poland's government decided Tuesday to block imports of coal from Russia, part of a strategy to reduce energy dependence on Russia that gained new urgency after Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.
Poland will impose financial penalties on any private entities importing Russian coal into Poland, with Polish customs officials carrying out checks, government spokesman Piotr Mueller said as he announced the new policy. He added that Poland could no longer wait for the whole 27-nation European Union to embrace the policy.
Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the EU, the United States and some other powers imposed a range of economic sanctions on Russia. But Europe, which is historically dependent on Russian energy primarily oil and gas but also coal to some extent has had trouble weaning itself off of Russian energy.
10:33 PM

Putin, Macron discussed Ukraine, rouble payments for gas: Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron discussed developments in the situation around Ukraine, including the latest round of Russia-Ukraine talks in Istanbul, in a phone call on Tuesday, the Kremlin said.
Putin and Macron also discussed Russia's decision to request payments in roubles for Russian gas supplies to the European Union, the Kremlin said in a statement.
10:04 PM

US, allies weigh another $500 mln in Ukraine aid: Source

The United States and its allies are discussing another possible round of assistance for Ukraine that could reach a collective $500 million, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters on Tuesday.
A U.S. official declined to confirm the figure but said the United States was "actively working on how best to continue our support for the Ukrainian government through security, humanitarian and financial assistance."
10:04 PM

US official warns any Russian troop movement 'not a withdrawal'

Any movement of Russian forces from around Kyiv would constitute a "redeployment, not a withdrawal", a U.S. official said on Tuesday after Russia promised to scale down military operations near the Ukrainian capital.
"We believe any movement of Russian forces from around kyiv is a redeployment, not a withdrawal. And the world should be prepared for continued major offensives against other areas of Ukraine," the official said, adding: "They are shifting gears ... No one should mistake that for Russia ending the conflict."
9:52 PM

Western official says Russia seems to be playing for time with peace talks

Russia has not yet demonstrated it is serious about peace talks with Ukraine and appears to be using negotiations as a tactic to play for time, a Western official said on Tuesday, adding the hope was still that a ceasefire could be agreed eventually.
"In terms of the negotiations, nothing that we have seen so far has demonstrated to us that President (Vladimir) Putin and his colleagues are particularly serious about that, it's more of a tactical exercise in playing for time," the Western official.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, added that talks were "nevertheless the best way forward in due course".
"We would hope that at some stage it would become real and lead to a ceasefire... We are sceptical that it is real just yet. Nevertheless, we do want to see a ceasefire which will emerge ultimately from a negotiation," the official said.
9:41 PM

Russia mulls delisting Russian firms' depositary receipts from foreign exchanges: IFX cites source

Russia's economy ministry has proposed delisting Russian companies' depositary receipts from foreign exchanges, the Interfax news agency reported on Tuesday, citing a source familiar with the proposal prepared by the ministry.
The price of the depositary receipts of major Russian companies on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) plunged after Moscow started what it calls "a special military operation" in Ukraine on Feb. 24 but Kyiv say is an unprovoked war of aggression.
The LSE suspended trading in the depositary receipts - which represent shares in a foreign company - of Russian companies in early March.
9:02 PM

No change in law needed for rouble gas payments: Russian lawmaker

Foreign consumers of Russian natural gas should simply acquire roubles to pay at the Moscow Exchange and no change in the law is required, a senior Russian lawmaker was quoted as saying after Moscow said foreign currency would no longer be accepted.
Putin's order last week to charge "unfriendly" countries in roubles for Russian gas has boosted the currency after it fell to all-time lows when the West imposed sweeping sanctions against Moscow over its military operation in Ukraine, which also sent European gas prices higher.
The move has drawn strong criticism from European countries, which pay for Russian gas mostly in euros and say Russia is not entitled to redraw contracts, with the G7 nations rejecting Moscow's demands this week.
8:44 PM

Britain wants full withdrawal of Russia from Ukraine: PM Johnson's spokesman

Britain wants to see a full withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine and will judge tentative steps towards a possible peace deal by actions rather than words, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's spokesman said on Tuesday.
Asked if Johnson was encouraged by Russia's promise to scale down military operations around Kyiv and northern Ukraine as a confidence-building step, Johnson's spokesman said "we will judge Putin and his regime by his actions, not by his words".
"There has been some reduction in Russian bombardment around Kyiv, largely because Ukrainian forces have been successfully pushing back the Russian offensives in the northwest of the city," he told reporters.
"But fighting continues. There's heavy bombardment in Mariupol and other areas. So we don't want to see anything less than a complete withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukrainian territory."
8:35 PM

Russia says promised de-escalation falls short of ceasefire

Russia's promise to scale down military operations around Kyiv and northern Ukraine does not represent a ceasefire, Moscow's lead negotiator in talks with Ukraine said on Tuesday.
"This is not a ceasefire but this is our aspiration, gradually to reach a de-escalation of the conflict at least on these fronts," Vladimir Medinsky said in an interview with the TASS news agency, referring to the promise to scale down operations near the cities of Kyiv and Chernihiv.
8:00 PM

Blinken says no sign Russia serious on Ukraine peace efforts

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has not seen "signs of real seriousness" from Russia in pursuing peace after its invasion of Ukraine, he said on Tuesday, adding that Moscow should end its aggression now and pull its forces back.
7:52 PM

Ships stranded in Ukraine as conflict slows UN rescue efforts

With more than 1,000 seafarers stranded on ships in Ukrainian ports and food supplies running low, the United Nations is pressing for their safe passage out of danger but security risks and disagreements are hobbling those efforts, maritime sources say.
Russia's military took control of waterways when it invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, in what Moscow calls a "special operation".
Since then at least 100 foreign flagged ships with over 1,000 seafarers have been stuck inside Ukrainian ports with food supplies running low, shipping officials say.

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First Published: Mar 29 2022 | 8:13 AM IST

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