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Ukraine Silent On Airstrike In Russia, Peace Talks Strained

With the prospect of war expanding across Ukraine's borders, progress appeared stalled in one of the country's most pressing humanitarian disasters, in the shattered southern city of Mariupol

Peace talks between Ukrainian and Russian officials have resumed via video, but Moscow has warned that the helicopter attack in Russia would hamper negotiations. “Our positions on Crimea and Donbass have not changed,” the Russian negotiator said.

Here’s your 10-point cheatsheet to this big story:

  1. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky refused to say whether he had ordered an airstrike on Russian soil, as a bus convoy navigated a tortuous evacuation to help thousands flee the besieged city of Mariupol.
  2. Kyiv would not be drawn on whether it was behind the attack, with President Volodymyr Zelensky telling US network Fox News: “I’m sorry, I do not discuss any of my orders as Commander In Chief.”
  3. With the prospect of war expanding across Ukraine’s borders, progress appeared stalled in one of the country’s most pressing humanitarian disasters, in the shattered southern city of Mariupol.
  4. After five weeks of a military campaign that has reduced parts of Ukraine to rubble, Moscow said this week it would scale back attacks on the capital Kyiv and the city of Chernigiv.
  5. But Mr Zelensky said Russia was consolidating and preparing “powerful strikes” in the east and south, joining a chorus of Western assessments that Moscow troops were regrouping, not withdrawing.
  6. Oleksiy Arestovych, an aide to Ukraine’s President, said in a Twitter video that “for what’s happening on Russia’s territory, the responsibility lies with Russia, and it’s up to them to deal with.”
  7. But the consequence on peace negotiations was swiftly made clear by Moscow. “This is not something that can be perceived as creating comfortable conditions for the continuation of negotiations,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
  8. On the ground, Ukraine’s troops were beginning to reassert control including around capital Kyiv and in the southern region of Kherson — the only significant city that Russia had managed to occupy.
  9. Kyiv has grown impatient over the West’s reluctance to step up and provide greater military support to Ukraine, with Washington and other capitals concerned about an escalating conflict with nuclear-armed Russia.
  10. Ukraine’s Defence Ministry meanwhile said Russian troops were continuing their “partial retreat” from the north of Kyiv towards the Belarusian border. Civilians have trickled out of devastated areas as Ukrainian forces liberated areas around Kyiv and Chernigiv.
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