Talks between Ukraine and Russia are confrontational but moving forward, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Wednesday, as the West plans to announce more sanctions against the Kremlin amid a worsening humanitarian crisis.
Intense Russian air strikes are turning besieged Mariupol into the “ashes of a dead land”, the city council said on Tuesday, as street fighting and bombardments raged in the port city.
Hundreds of thousands are believed to be trapped inside buildings, with no access to food, water, power or heat. Both civilians and Ukrainian troops were coming under Russian fire, said regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko.
Russian forces and Russian-backed separatist units had taken about half of the port city, normally home to around 400,000 people, Russia’s RIA news agency said, citing a separatist leader.
But in an early morning address, Zelenskiy held out hope for negotiations, which have yielded little since the Feb. 24 invasion began.
“It’s very difficult, sometimes confrontational,” he said. “But step by step we are moving forward.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s incursion into Ukraine has forced more than 3.5 million to flee, brought the unprecedented isolation of Russia’s economy, and raised fears of wider conflict in the West unthought-of for decades.