By Charles Nwabardi
Ukraine and Russia on Monday will hold talks to negotiate a cease-fire and safe passage for civilian evacuations, according to a Ukraine official, after the evacuation of the southeastern city of Mariupol was halted.
According to the Ukrainian president’s office, Russia has continued to shell the area in violation of a cease-fire.
The decision to halt the evacuations came roughly two hours after the cease-fire began after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered a rousing speech on video to crowds of demonstrators in major European cities on Friday night, and Russian forces remain largely stalled in their advance on Kyiv.
Davyd Arakhamia, the head of Zelenskyy’s political party and a member of Ukraine’s delegation for the nations’ talks, said Monday would be the third round of talks.
On Friday, Zelenskyy urged listeners to rally behind Ukraine’s resistance against Russian invaders, warning them that “if we fall, you fall.” On an hour-long zoom call with nearly 300 US lawmakers on Saturday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko made a pitch for aid.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has warned that the crisis will likely worsen before it improves. And Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the West that imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine, as Zelenskyy wants, would be considered an act of war.
According to the Ukrainian Parliament’s Commissioner for Human Rights, 32 children have been killed and 70 have been injured since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began.
During an event with the party’s top donors in the United States, former Vice President Mike Pence told Republicans, “There is no room in this party for apologists for Putin.” His remarks directly contradict former President Donald Trump’s statements from a few days ago. On the day Russia launched its war against Ukraine, Trump referred to Putin as “smart” and “savvy.”