Ukraine is seeking a cease-fire agreement and is currently in talks with Russia. The talk with Russian negotiators is starting today in Turkey with the goal of improving the humanitarian situation that has caused several Ukrainian residents to flee their homes.
This was stated by Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. “We are looking forward to the conversation of the two delegations to see if the Russians will come to these talks ready to really agree on something, or just repeat their demands, which were heard from the very beginning, the sides will disperse in the same way as they arrived.”
It would seem that all the aid and support the world especially the European Union and the United States government has given to Ukraine may not be enough. The president of the United States of America, Joe Biden just returned from Europe and was reported to have said that Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power.”
He has however gone ahead to explain in a news conference at the White House that the statement was just expressing his own “moral outrage” about the invasion of Ukraine. This Russian invasion of Ukraine is doing a lot of damage to Ukraine and all the support they’re receiving while helpful and encouraging may not be enough to cover for all the damages that is being caused, with the possibility of more to come.
According to the Mayor of Mariupol, Mayor Vadym Boychenko, Russia’s siege of Mariupol has killed almost 5,000 people, including 200 children.
The mayor said that the Sea of Azov port city has also been under attack since March 1, and 90% of its residential houses and hospitals, including all maternity wards have been damaged or destroyed by Russian shelling and air and missile strikes.
Mayor Boychenko also complained that there is a drastic reduction in the population in Mariupol compared to the pre-war population. He stated that only about 170,000 people remain. Some 140,000 left before the siege and 150,000 during the attacks. Russian troops, which control part of the city, deported 30,000 citizens to unknown destinations.
Ukrainians have been forced to flee their country through their various neighbouring countries like Romania, Hungary and Poland. Poland alone has admitted about 2.3 million refugees from Ukraine. It is however worthy of note that Ukraine was able to recapture the town of Irpin west of Kyiv from the Russian troops.
NATO’s take on the impending deal with Russia
NATO allies, on discussing the terms of any potential peace deal to be struck between Russia and Ukraine have various opinions on what the outcome could be from various officials working their ranks.
- President Emmanuel Macron of France stated in an interview on French television “We shouldn’t escalate, with words or actions,” To avoid a military confrontation, the aim is to achieve a cease-fire now and then the withdrawal of Russian troops via diplomatic means”.
- The chief spokesman of the Vice Chancellor of Berlin Steffen Hebestreit, told Bloomberg reporters on Monday that “in view of the horrible pictures that we currently have to stomach now for several days and actually weeks, the highest priority for now is to be able to reach a cease-fire so that the killing can stop.”
- The Vice chancellor himself Olaf Scholz discussed the negotiation process on Monday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Following their discussion, The president posted this on his Twitter page “Discussed with Chancellor @OlafScholz the course of the negotiation process. Reported on the progress of countering aggression and crimes of the Russian Federation. Expressed gratitude for the help provided by Pressure on Russia must continue, sanctions must be intensified”.
At the NATO leaders’ summit, Vice-chancellor Olaf Scholz cautioned against any rushed moves, such as abandoning the NATO-Russia Founding Act, stating that Nixing that agreement would permanently shut the door on Moscow and remove binding commitments on troop deployments for both sides.
Later this week, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi is expected to talk to Putin and will call for a cease-fire and humanitarian corridors. There are however lots of reservations on whether a deal with Russia would be genuine.
According to Bloomberg, other NATO members believe the dialogue that Paris and Berlin are pursuing with Russia is counterproductive and could play into Putin’s hands. The U.K., Poland and other central and eastern European nations asides from Hungary are skeptical that Russia’s president is serious about negotiating an acceptable peace deal.
- Polish President Andrzej Duda asked the other leaders at the NATO summit if they really believed that negotiations on the terms put forward by Putin could succeed and were acceptable.
- The Prime minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson ahead of the meeting told reporters that Putin had already crossed a red line with his actions in Ukraine. His spokesman Max Blain stated
“It is right to make the most of any possible negotiated settlement, but clearly we need to be alive to the fact that he has not lived up to his promises, “Throughout we have seen Putin say one thing and do another and so that is the imperative, that we judge him and his regime on how they act.”
President Macron is in talks with President Putin stating publicly that President Zelenskiy asked him to. Some Diplomats in support of President Macron’s aid to Ukraine suggest that Macron could also convey information to the Russian president about how badly the war was going for his troops, as those around him may not be telling him the truth
Other senior diplomats from the group of nations are worried that President Macron could push Zelenskiy into agreeing to neutrality on Russia’s terms in exchange for a cease-fire.
President Zelenskiy however has said he is open to adopting a neutral status as part of a peace agreement with Russia but that such a pact would have to come with security guarantees and be put to a referendum.
If the two countries should reach a cease-fire agreement after talks and negotiations, Ukrainians may peacefully return to their homes and continue to live their lives. Still, it begs the question, if a negotiation was all that was required what then was the point of all the bloodshed and destruction?