Ukraines’ Zelenskyy signals openness to compromise on Donbass

Ukraine invasion: President Zelenskyy signals openness to compromise on Donbass

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ukraine tweeted on Monday that Russian forces have turned the besieged city of Mariupol “into dust.”  “While Mariupol besieged and bombed, people fight to survive.  The humanitarian situation in the city is catastrophic.  Russian Armed Forces are turning the city into dust,” the ministry tweeted.  Mariupol is the main obstacle preventing Russia from connecting Crimea to the two self-proclaimed “people’s republics” in the eastern Donbas region.  Russia has focused its efforts on taking Donbas since Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “new phase” in the war.  British military intelligence said on Monday that Russian forces had gained ground in the vicinity of Mariupol.

Russia targeted military structures in the western city of Lviv using high-precision cruise missiles, the Russian Defense Ministry said.  Long-range missiles were used to hit a fuel depot used by Ukrainian forces, and cruise missiles targeted a plant being used to repair anti-aircraft systems, radar stations, and sights for tanks in Lviv.

According to the United Nations, more than 3.7 million refugees have fled Ukraine. Most have gone to neighboring Poland.

Significant destruction in Chernihiv means residents of the northern Ukrainian city are without water, heating, or electricity, according to the regional administration.  Chernihiv is currently surrounded by Russian troops and has been “completely devastated,” Mayor Vladyslav Atrozhenko said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that his government was “carefully” considering the option of adopting a neutral status to broker a peace deal with Russia.  Zelenskyy’s comments came in a video interview with Russian journalists that the country’s media watchdog Roskomnadzor said could not be aired within Russia.

Russian and Ukrainian delegations will meet in Turkey for face-to-face talks on Monday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke on the phone with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.  Erdogan called for an immediate cease-fire and a peace agreement between the two sides.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told public broadcaster ARD that he believes more than 10,000 Russian soldiers have died in the war.