By AP published by ABC 7 News plus Reuters and BBC
SPANISH Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares said yesterday (Mar. 14) that he has asked his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi to use Beijing’s influence over Moscow to end the war in Ukraine.
“We are at a historical moment that requires responsibility and vision of all world leaders,” Albares told Wang during a telephone conversation yesterday, according to a statement from the ministry.
It said that Albares condemned “the Russian aggression on Ukraine” by telling Wang that “Russia has undermined the foundations of peace and stability in Europe and threatens the international community.”
Russia keeps up attacks in Ukraine as two sides hold talks
Russia and Ukraine kept a fragile diplomatic path open with a new round of talks yesterday even as Moscow’s forces pounded away at Kyiv and other cities across the country in a punishing bombardment that the Red Cross said has created “nothing short of a nightmare” for the civilian population.
Meanwhile, a convoy of 160 civilian cars left the encircled port city of Mariupol along a designated humanitarian route, the city council reported, in a rare glimmer of hope a week and a half into the lethal siege that has pulverised homes and other buildings and left people desperate for food, water, heat and medicine.
The latest negotiations, which were held via video conference, were the fourth round involving higher-level officials from the two countries and the first in a week. The talks ended without a breakthrough after several hours, with an aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy saying the negotiators took “a technical pause” and planned to meet again Tuesday.
The two sides had expressed some optimism in the past few days. Mykhailo Podolyak, the aide to Zelenskyy, said over the weekend that Russia was “listening carefully to our proposals.” He tweeted on Monday that the negotiators would discuss “peace, ceasefire, immediate withdrawal of troops & security guarantees.”
Previous discussions, held in person in Belarus, produced no lasting humanitarian routes or agreements to end the fighting.
Russian attack not on track, Putin ally admits
The chief of Russia’s National Guard has said Moscow’s military offensive in Ukraine is not going to plan, Reuters is reporting.
It would be the strongest acknowledgment so far from a Kremlin official that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been slower than expected.
He blamed Russia’s poor progress on far-right elements hiding among the Ukrainian population, playing on an accusation repeatedly used by Moscow to justify its invasion that neo-Nazis have infiltrated Ukraine.
The comments, which Reuters reports as having been published on the official website of Russia’s National Guard, have not been independently confirmed by the BBC as the Kremlin site is currently down.
Elon Musk challenges Putin to a duel
In a bizarre turn of events, US tech billionaire Elon Musk appears to have challenged Russian president Vladimir Putin to a one-on-one fight, suggesting that the winner decide the fate of Ukraine.
Ukrainian politicians so far have welcomed the offer, which may have been made tongue-in-cheek. Kyiv’s mayor Vitali Klitschko, himself a former boxer, replied with three strong arm emojis.
The Russian president is yet to respond. Musk has been a vocal supporter of Ukraine throughout the invasion.
Earlier this month one of the companies owned by the California-based tech entrepreneur, Starlink, supplied Ukraine with a number of satellite dishes intended to protect internet access in the country.
Top: In the capital Kyiv, where Russian troops fight to gain a foothold, a woman is rescued from her home after the building was struck by shelling. Photo: State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Reuters published by BBC
First insert: Women talk as they take shelter inside an entryway to an apartment building in Mariupol, Ukraine, on March 13. Photo: Evgeniy Maloletka/AP and published by CNN
Second insert: Viktor Zolotov meeting with Putin in May 2020. Photo: Getty Images and published by BBC
Home Page: A view of destruction after an apartment building was hit by Russian attack in Kyiv, Ukraine, yesterday, March 14. Photo: Emin Sansar/Anadolu AgencyGetty Images published by CNN