Russia is bombing areas in Ukraine where it has pledged to reduce
Russian forces shelled areas around kyiv and another city, Ukrainian authorities said on Wednesday, just hours after Moscow pledged to reduce military operations in those places to facilitate negotiations.
The shelling – and intensified Russian attacks on other parts of the country – have dampened optimism about any progress in talks aimed at ending the punitive war.
Announcing de-escalation plans near the capital and northern city of Chernihiv on Tuesday to “increase mutual trust”, the Russian military did not specify what it planned to do, and the move was met with deep mistrust by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. and the West.
Shortly after, Ukrainian officials said Russian shelling had hit homes, shops, libraries and other civilian sites in Chernihiv and on the outskirts of Kyiv. Russian troops have also stepped up their attacks around the eastern town of Izyum and eastern Donetsk region, after redeploying some units from other regions, the Ukrainian side said.
Five weeks after the start of the invasion, the number of Ukrainians fleeing the country has exceeded a staggering 4 million, according to the United Nations, while the economic repercussions of the war and the West’s sanctions against Moscow are are expanded.
Germany, Europe’s industrial power, has issued a warning over its natural gas supplies, fearing Russia will cut off deliveries unless it is paid in rubles. Poland has announced measures to end all Russian oil imports by the end of 2022.
In a series of talks held in Istanbul on Tuesday, the outlines of a possible peace agreement appeared to emerge as the Ukrainian delegation proposed a framework under which Ukraine would declare itself neutral – abandoning its candidacy for the NATO, as Moscow has long demanded – in repayment of security guarantees from a group of other countries.
Vladimir Medinsky, head of the Russian delegation, said Ukraine’s willingness to consider neutral status would meet a key Russian demand.
Medinsky said in televised comments that the proposals demonstrated Ukraine’s willingness to reach an agreement “for the first time in years”, adding that if Ukraine sticks to its offer, “the threat of creating a head NATO bridge over Ukrainian territory will be lifted”. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also issued a positive note, but added: “We cannot say that there has been anything promising or breakthrough.” After the Kremlin announced that it would reduce some of its military operations, Zelenskyy reacted by saying that when it comes to dealing with the Russians, “you can only trust concrete results”. “We judge the Russian military machine by its actions, not just its words,” British Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab also told Sky News. “There is obviously some skepticism that he will regroup to attack again rather than seriously engage in diplomacy.” He added: “Of course, the door to diplomacy will always remain ajar, but I don’t think you can trust what comes out of the mouth of Putin’s war machine.” The skepticism appeared founded on Wednesday.
“The so-called reduction in activity in the Chernihiv region was demonstrated by enemy strikes, including airstrikes on Nizhyn, and all night long they shelled Chernihiv,” regional governor Viacheslav Chaus said. “Civil infrastructure, libraries, shopping malls, many houses were destroyed in Chernihiv.” Oleksandr Pavliuk, head of the kyiv region military administration, said the Russian shells targeted residential areas and civilian infrastructure in Bucha, Brovary and Vyshhorod regions around the capital.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said the military had targeted fuel depots in two towns in central Ukraine with long-range air-launched cruise missiles . Russian forces also hit a Ukrainian special forces headquarters in the southern Mykolaiv region, he said, and two ammunition depots in the Donetsk region.
The barrages came as the British Ministry of Defense warned that while heavy casualties have forced some Russian units to return to Belarus and Russia to regroup and resupply, Moscow will likely make up for any reduction in ground maneuvers by using a mass artillery and missile strikes.
Senior Russian military officials have said in recent days that their main goal now is the “liberation” of Donbass, the predominantly Russian-speaking industrial heartland in the east, where Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian forces since 2014. Western officials said Moscow is strengthening its troops in the Donbass.
Some analysts have suggested that the Kremlin’s apparent reduction in war aims and its promise of de-escalation might simply be an effort to put a positive spin on reality: Moscow’s ground troops were thwarted – and suffered heavy casualties – in their attempt to seize the capital and the other cities.
Meanwhile, a missile destroyed part of a building in the rebel-held city of Donetsk early Wednesday, and two people were reportedly killed. Separatists blamed Ukrainian forces for the attack.
“I was just sitting on the couch and – bang! – the window blew out, the frames came off. I didn’t even understand what happened,” resident Anna Gorda said.
The UN food aid agency said it was providing emergency aid to 1 million people in Ukraine. He said the food includes 330,000 freshly baked loaves of bread for families in the heavily bombed eastern city of Kharkiv.
“Children are suffering, and our city, and everything,” said Tetyana Parmynska, a 28-year-old woman from the Chernihiv region who is currently in a refugee center in Poland, as a man played songs on a dented piano decorated with an emblem of peace. “We have no more strength.
(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)