The Russian army launched its offensive against Ukraine on February 24. One of Moscow’s demands for an end to hostilities is a clear commitment from Kyiv to political neutrality, for which the country seeks strong international security guarantees.
kyiv offers Mariupol swap deal to Russia
The Ukrainian leaders propose to the Russian military to exchange the last defenders of the port city entrenched in the steelworks of Azovstal in Mariupol.
“At first, we offered the Russians the following exchange: we would transport our seriously injured boys from Azovstal to a humanitarian corridor,” Deputy Prime Minister Wereshchuk said, according to Ukrajinska Pravda. At the same time, the Ukrainian army releases Russian prisoners of war “according to the standard rules of their exchange”. Negotiations on this were still ongoing.
In recent days, there have been several reports of the suffering of Ukrainian soldiers injured in the steelworks. According to a paramedic, there is now an absolute shortage of medicine. The sprawling steel mill is the last stronghold of Ukrainian troops in the badly damaged port city of Mariupol. The Russian army demanded that the defenders surrender, while the Ukrainian troops categorically refused.
Russian army calls for evacuation of Ukrainian towns
Probably to facilitate its own attacks, the Russian military called on international organizations to evacuate locations in eastern Ukraine. “Given the impending catastrophic humanitarian situation of most civilians in Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, we call on the international community, the UN, the OSCE and the International Committee of the Red Cross to immediately take all measures to rapid and safe evacuation of civilians from these towns under the control of the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” said Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev of the Ministry of Defense in Moscow, quoted by the Interfax agency.
According to Mizinzew, Ukrainian troops have entrenched themselves in these places and are using their own civilian population as a living shield. About 90,000 civilians were staying in Slowjansk and Kramatorsk. Kramatorsk and Sloviansk are considered the cornerstones of Ukrainian defensive lines in eastern Ukraine.
Ukraine: Fighting between Cherson and Mykolaiv
Russian and Ukrainian troops again engaged in fierce fighting in the region between Cherson and Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine. The defenders gave the Russian attackers “no possibility to advance”, according to the Ukrainian military leadership. During the fighting, at least 23 Russian soldiers were killed and two tanks were destroyed, as well as an ammunition depot, the Unian agency quoted in the press release. The information could not be independently verified.