Russia’s military said Tuesday that operations near Ukraine’s capital and a northern city would be drastically reduced, potentially signaling a big concession by Moscow in talks aimed at ending the conflict, which began more than a month ago.
As negotiators met face-to-face after numerous rounds of fruitless negotiations, Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin said the move was meant to improve trust in talks aimed at halting the conflict. However, Russia’s troops have recently become stymied and have been unable to make significant progress.
The negotiations in Istanbul sparked a glimmer of hope that progress could be made toward resolving a war that has devolved into a deadly attrition battle.
The Ukrainian military reported it had seen withdrawals near Kyiv and Chernihiv, but the Pentagon said it couldn’t confirm the claims.
However, speaking from Morocco, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed that Russia has not shown genuine interest in achieving peace.
The conference in Istanbul, according to a Ukrainian president’s adviser, was focused on achieving a cease-fire and security guarantees for Ukraine, concerns that have been at the heart of previous failed agreements.
Ukrainian resistance has hindered Russian President Vladimir Putin’s goal of a swift military victory. However, any optimism about the prospects for a peaceful resolution was met with Western skepticism about Putin’s commitment to peacemaking. Putin, according to British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, is not serious about discussions.
Ukrainian forces retook Irpin, a crucial suburb northwest of the capital, Kyiv, in a back-and-forth battle that has degraded into a stalemate, Zelenskyy said late Monday. He did, however, warn that Russian troops were reorganizing to retake the area.
He also slammed Western countries, accusing them of not going far enough in imposing sanctions on Moscow or supporting Ukraine. Because of the West’s reluctance to provide weaponry, those countries bear a share of the blame for the devastation.
An explosion ripped a hole in a nine-story administration building in Mykolaiv, a southern port city that Russia has unsuccessfully attempted to conquer, on Tuesday morning, following the missile strike on the oil facility in western Ukraine late Monday.
In a speech to Danish MPs, Zelenskyy revealed that seven persons perished and 22 were injured in the missile attack.