Discussions and very tense situations in the field

Nicolas Tonev (from Ukraine), Marion Gauthier (from Poland), Europe1.fr
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February 28, 2022 7:34 pm

Essential

Russian and Ukrainian delegations began negotiations on Monday to end the war in Ukraine. Already on the fifth day of Russia’s invasion, more than 500,000 Ukrainians have fled their country. These first negotiations occur when Vladimir Putin’s army encounters strong resistance from Ukrainian troops and unprecedented sanctions adopted by the West are shaking the Russian economy. Europe 1 is aware of the situation.

Main information to remember:

-Negotiations have begun between Russian and Ukrainian delegations

-Rope is tightened around Kyiv resisting Russian assault

-500,000 refugees from Ukraine have been registered

First day of the meeting

After talks between the two parties, Russian and Ukrainian delegations left the Belarusian negotiating table and returned for “consultations in their respective capitals.” The “second round” of negotiations has already been agreed. According to Vladimir Medinsky, one of Russia’s negotiators, the new conference will be held “soon” on the Polish-Belarus border. Kyiv specifically called for “an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of (Russian) troops from Ukrainian territory.” President Zelensky, who has not participated in the negotiations and whose delegation is headed by Defense Minister Oleksandr Zelensky, has called on Russian soldiers from Kyiv to “put their arms”.

He also called on the EU for “immediate” integration of Ukraine. “I’m sure it’s right. I’m sure it’s possible,” he said. The process of integrating a new country into the EU usually takes years. Charles Michel, President of the European Council, emphasized that there are “different opinions” on this issue and that unanimous consent is needed.

On his side, Kremlin adviser Vladimir Medinsky, head of the Russian delegation, told him “I want to find an agreement” with Kyiv, which “will benefit both parties.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov refused to state Russia’s demands, emphasizing that negotiations should take place “silently.”

However, the tense situation on the ground …

The situation on the ground remains very tense while both parties are at the negotiating table. Our special correspondent in Zhytomyr, a city about 150 km west of Ukraine, testifies to frequent bombardment. However, the plane continues to fly over the city at average altitude. You can hear the engines of these devices as if the pilot was looking for a target, or at least trying to impress the population.

There was an automatic weapon launch tonight as well, and I heard it clearly. Complete isolation is in place, with no buses or external connections. The fear is that Russian troops are approaching and the city is barricaded.

… especially in Kyiv

Kyiv said on Monday that Russian troops tried to attack the capital, which had been curfewed overnight, but the attack was repelled. As soon as the curfew was lifted on Monday morning, residents were quietly lined up in front of some still open grocery stores.

The city now has makeshift barricades, tires, furniture, old ladders across the road, and yellow bands on its arms, protected by armed volunteers. Russian troops ensured that civilians could leave Kyiv “freely” and accused Ukrainian authorities of using them as “human shields”, causing fear of a large-scale attack.

Uncertain record

So far, the consequences of the conflict remain uncertain. Ukraine reports that about 200 civilians and dozens of military personnel have been killed since Thursday. Of the victims, 16 children. The United Nations said on Monday that it recorded 102 civilians, including seven children, killed and 304 injured, but warned that the actual numbers were “quite” high. For the first time on Sunday, Russian troops admitted without showing numbers that they had identified “dead” and “injured” in the invasion of Ukraine.

More than 500,000 Ukrainian refugees, according to UNHCR

The flow of refugees fleeing Ukraine continues to grow. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said more than 500,000 refugees have fled to neighboring countries since Thursday. The EU said it expects more than 7 million displaced persons. The majority go to Poland. In Poland, a large Ukrainian community had already settled before the conflict. Very close to the border, our special correspondents saw a train full of refugees arrive. Among them, Victoria and Oleg are finally breathing after more than 30 hours by train. From the neighborhood of Donbus to Poland. “It was terrible,” he testifies with Mike in Europe 1.

If the family’s father was not mobilized like other Ukrainians, it is because he already has three children and a fourth child. “It’s terrible because we left our brother, our uncle, who is fighting,” Victoria said. “Many people have been injured in Dnipro. It’s very difficult to hold back tears.” But her mother sketched her brave smile in a mixed crowd of exhausted refugees and busy volunteers. Go through.

And despite fatigue, there is still a long way to go to reach the roof provided by Warsaw and friends. In the hall of this station, speakers are free to repeat that the train is free for everyone presenting a Ukrainian passport.