Live updates: Ukraine-Russia video link talks to resume


By the Associated Press



The latest developments on the Russia-Ukraine war:

LVIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak says peace talks with Russia have ended for the day but will resume on Tuesday..

The two countries held negotiations by video link for the first time on March 10 in what is considered the fourth rounds of talks after three largely fruitless meetings held in person on the Belarusian border.

“A technical pause has been taken in the negotiations until tomorrow. For additional work in the working subgroups and clarification of individual definitions. Negotiations continue,” Podolyak wrote on Twitter.

He earlier said that “communication is being held yet it’s hard.”

__

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — A planned NATO exercise with about 30,000 troops from more than 25 countries from Europe and North America began in northern Norway on Monday.

NATO said that the drill, named Cold Response that includes 200 aircraft and 50 vessels, was “not linked to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine.”

The drill in NATO-member Norway, which shares a nearly 200-kilometer (124-mile) land border with Russia, will be held just a few hundred kilometers (miles— from the Russian border and was planned long before Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Russia has declined to be an observer at the exercise that aims at having Alliance members and partners practicing working together on land, in the air and at sea, said the armed forces.

The Norwegian armed forces said it provided “thorough information” to the Russians, including the Russian Ministry of Defense, saying that was “vital for preventing misunderstandings and unnecessary conflict.”

The drill, which is held every other year, is due to end on April 1.

___

WASHINGTON — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will deliver an address via video to the U.S. Congress as the Russian war on his country intensifies.

Zelenskyy will speak on Wednesday to members of the House and Senate, the Democratic leaders announced.

“The Congress, our country and the world are in awe of the people of Ukraine,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in a statement Monday.

ongress recently approved $13.6 billion in emergency military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine.

“We look forward to the privilege of welcoming President Zelenskyy’s address to the House and Senate and to convey our support to the people of Ukraine as they bravely defend democracy,” the leaders said.

___

BERLIN — The German government says it won’t provide any further details about weapons supplies to Ukraine.

Government spokesman Wolfgang Buechner told reporters Monday that “to avoid security risks” Germany would not divulge any more information on what arms are supplied to Ukraine or how.

Defense Ministry spokesman Arne Collatz added that “it is the goal of the Russian aggressors to cut Ukraine’s supply routes and make (their) defense harder, and we don’t want to facilitate this.”

Germany’s Transport Ministry said separately that it has switched off the online streams of cameras on the country’s highways for security reasons, but declined to elaborate.

Along with other NATO countries, Germany has stepped up supplies of defense equipment to Ukraine since the start of the war. This includes lethal weapons such as anti-tank missiles.

___

MOSCOW — Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Monday denied media reports alleging that Russia asked China for military assistance to help advance its offensive in Ukraine.

“No, Russia has its own potential to continue the operation, which, as we have said, is unfolding in accordance with the plan and will be completed on time and in full,” Peskov told his daily conference call with reporters.

Peskov also stressed that the operation in Ukraine was going as planned and that the Russian military were ensuring “the maximum security of the civilian population.”

He said that at the “beginning of the operation” that Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered the military to refrain from “the immediate storming” of large cities including Kyiv because “armed nationalist formations set up firing points, place heavy military equipment directly in residential areas, and fighting in densely populated areas will inevitably lead to multiple casualties among civilians.”

He added that “at the same time, the Defense Ministry, while ensuring the maximum security of the civilian population, does not rule out the possibility of taking full control of large settlements that are now practically surrounded, expect for areas used for humanitarian evacuation.”

___

MOSCOW — The Russian military says that 20 civilians have been killed by a ballistic missile launched by the Ukrainian forces.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said that the Soviet-made Tochka-U missile on Monday hit the central part of the eastern city of Donetsk, the center of the separatist Donetsk region.

He said that another 28 civilians, including children, were seriously wounded by the missile that carried shrapnel warhead.

Konashenkov said the missile was fired from an area northwest of Donetsk controlled by Ukrainian forces. He charged that the shelling of the area of Donetsk that has no military facilities represented a war crime.

Konashenkov’s claim couldn’t be independently verified.

___

LVIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy confirmed on Monday afternoon that the talks via video conference re underway. “Everyone is waiting for news. We will definitely report in the evening,” Zelenskyy said in a new video address.

Presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak said in a tweet earlier on Monday that the fourth round of talks will be “on peace, ceasefire, immediate withdrawal of troops (and) security guarantees.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also confirmed the talks were scheduled to be held on Monday.

___

SUCEAVA, Romania — Romanian prosecutors say they have opened a criminal file after an “unmanned aircraft” was discovered in the northern county of Bistrita-Nasaud.

“So far, the origin of the aircraft has not been established, and its owner has not been identified,” prosecutors in Cluj County said. “An investigation is underway to determine the circumstances in which the aircraft was flown and to identify the pilot of the aircraft.”

Bistrita County police told The Associated Press that the drone-type aircraft was found by a young man in a field near his house.

It comes days after a Russian-made unmanned aircraft crossed Romania and Hungary before entering Croatia and crashing late Thursday into a field near a student dormitory, damaging some 40 cars. No one was injured.

___

WARSAW, Poland — Activists in Poland have been blocking Russian and Belarusian trucks in an effort to prevent them from crossing the Belarusian border with medicines, food and spare parts for the Russian military.

Belarus is allied with Russia. Activists fear that the goods will help reinforce the Russian military as it intensifies its war against Ukraine.

Tomasz Grodzki, the speaker of the opposition-controlled Senate, criticized Poland’s right-wing government for allowing the trucks to continue to cross Poland into Belarus.

“I am disgusted by the lack of sanctions by our government,” Grodzki said, in comments carried by the Polish news agency PAP on Monday.

However, a ruling party spokesman, Radoslaw Fogiel, said Poland was expecting the European Union to close off the transport to Russia and Belarus.

___

KABUL, Afghanistan __ The U.N. refugee agency chief Filippo Grandi arrived in Afghanistan Monday saying despite the raging war in Ukraine and the more than 2.7 million refugees flooding into Europe, Afghanistan, with its millions of internal refugees, has not been forgotten.

“All of you are following what is happening in Ukraine. It is a very big crisis and also refugee crisis, but I came here also to say that there is not just Ukraine, there are other crisis in the world, other situations that need attention, and Afghanistan is a priority for us.” Grandi said upon his arrival in the Afghan capital.

Since the Taliban’s lightning fast takeover of Kabul last year, Afghanistan has plunged into a humanitarian nightmare with the United Nations saying that 90 percent of the country is now living below the poverty level. Even as spring arrives in Afghanistan, a country devastated by four decades of relentless war, millions are still at risk of severe food shortages with children among the hardest hit among Afghans 38 million people.

___

LVIV, Ukraine — The Ukrainian state power company says the power line supplying the site of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster has been damaged by Russian forces again after it was repaired.

The Ukrenergo company said in a statement Monday that its technicians had started to supply power Sunday evening but “before the power supply was fully restored, the occupying forces damaged it again.” Ukrenergo said it will attempt another repair.

The power is used to feed pumps and other equipment which keep spent nuclear fuel at the former power plant cool to prevent radiation leaks.

The Chernobyl site is also equipped with diesel generators, and Belarusian authorities said last week that they had set up an emergency power supply from the nearby border.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has played down concerns over the safety of nuclear waste at Chernobyl, saying that cooling ponds there are large enough to keep the spent fuel in a safe condition even if the power supply is interrupted.

___

LONDON — Activists have occupied a London townhouse linked to the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, saying the property will be used to support Ukrainian refugees.

The U.K. government last week froze Deripaska’s assets as it expanded sanctions against wealthy Russians and companies to put pressure on President Vladimir Putin’s regime to end its invasion of Ukraine. The sanctions announcement identified Deripaska as a prominent “pro-Kremlin oligarch” who is closely linked to Putin.

Activists on Monday stood on the balcony of 5 Belgrave Square and unfurled Ukrainian flags and a banner proclaiming that the property had been “liberated.” Belgrave Square, a garden square dominated by foreign embassies, is the heart of the affluent Belgravia district, which attracts super-rich buyers from around the world.

“By occupying the mansion, we want to show solidarity with the people of Ukraine, but also the people of Russia who never agreed to this madness. As always with wars, empires benefit and common people pay the price.’′

The U.K. has been criticized for being slow to impose sanctions on wealthy Russians who have flooded into London over the last 30 years, boosting the city’s economy. The U.S. government sanctioned Deripaska in 2018, saying he helped support Russia’s “malign activity” around the world.

The U.S. sanctions documents list 5 Belgrave Square in London as one of Deripaska’s addresses

____

TEL AVIV, Israel — Israel’s foreign minister says the country will not serve as a “route to bypass sanctions” imposed on Russia by the West.

Israel, which has emerged as an unlikely mediator between Ukraine and Russia, has not joined the sanctions imposed by the U.S., Britain, European Union and others. But as the war in Ukraine drags on, the pressure is increasing.

In remarks sent by his office, Yair Lapid said Israeli authorities were working on ways to ensure Israel doesn’t run afoul of the biting sanctions while maintaining its unique role.

Lapid also reiterated his criticism of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has stopped short of condemning Russia.

Lapid made the remarks Monday after meeting his Slovak counterpart Ivan Korcok in the Slovak capital of Bratislava. Lapid’s office said they discussed how to help Jewish refugees who are fleeing the war in Ukraine.

____

BERLIN — German pharmaceuticals company Bayer AG says it is stopping all non-essential business in Russia and Belarus because of the war in Ukraine, but will continue to provide medicines and agricultural products to the countries.

In a statement Monday, the company said that it stands by the people of Ukraine and that it “utterly (condemns) this brutal aggression against a sovereign country.”

Bayer said it was suspending all advertising and other promotional activities, halting capital investment projects indefinitely and not pursuing any new business opportunities.

The company said it has “also heard voices calling for a complete stop of delivery of all our products to Russia and Belarus.”

Bayer said that it feels ethically obliged not to withhold essential health and agriculture products such as cancer drugs or seeds from the civilian population.

The company said supplying farmers with agricultural products could help prevent food supply chains from further disruption due to the war in Ukraine, which is a major producers of grains and oilseed.

____

LVIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian authorities say two people have died and seven were injured after Russian forces struck an aircraft factory, and another person was killed when a residential building was fired upon.

The Antonov aircraft factory is Ukraine’s largest and is best known for producing many of the world’s largest ever cargo planes.

The Kyiv city government says a large fire broke out after the strike on the factory. One person died and three were injured when the residential building was hit, authorities said.

_____

LONDON — British hospitals have begun treating 21 young Ukrainian cancer patients after Polish authorities asked for help in caring for the growing number of child refugees who need urgent medical care, U.K. authorities said.

The Ukrainian children arrived in Britain late Sunday and will be treated at six hospitals around the country, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said.

“The vital and in many cases lifesaving cancer treatment will be provided free of charge by the health service across hospitals in England,” the Department of Health and Social Care said in a statement.

The children were accompanied by 28 care-givers and family members, all of whom will be able to remain in the U.K. for at least three years while the children are treated, Javid said

___

LVIV, Ukraine — Fighting continued Monday on the outskirts of Kyiv, to the west, northwest, east and northeast, the Ukrainian president’s office said Monday. Regional officials are preparing more evacuations from the targeted areas.

Air raid alerts sounded in cities and towns all around the country overnight, from near the Russian border in the east to the Carpathian Mountains in the west.

Airstrikes hit residential buildings near the important southern city of Mykolaiv, as well as in the eastern city of Kharkiv, and knocked out a television tower in the Rivne region in the northwest, the president’s office said. Explosions rang out overnight around the Russian-occupied Black Sea port of Kherson.

Three airstrikes hit the northern city of Chernihiv overnight, and most of the town is without heat. Several areas haven’t had electricity in days. Utility workers are trying to restore power but frequently come under shelling.

The government announced plans for new humanitarian aid and evacuation corridors, although ongoing shelling caused similar efforts to fail in the last week.

___

NEW YORK — The Russian Defense Ministry said Monday its forces had advanced 11 kilometers (7 miles) over the past 24 hours, and reached five towns north of Mariupol.

In a video statement, Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov did not elaborate on the advances, or comment on the humanitarian corridors or the crisis in Mariupol.

By the Associated Press