A third round of talks between Moscow and Kyiv has concluded with Ukrainian negotiators noting small positive developments in the area of humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to flee Russia’s unprovoked invasion of its neighbour.
The establishment of humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to flee several towns has been a point of contention between the two sides, with previous attempts having failed, leaving thousands of people trapped inside towns as they are bombarded by Russian bombing and artillery.
Ukrainian said presidential adviser Mykhaylo Podolyak the talks produced “small positive movements related to the continuation of the logistics of the humanitarian corridors”.
He said some changes will be made so that people “suffering from the aggression of the Russian Federation” can receive “more effective assistance”.
But he also said there had been no results that would improve the situation in general, but stressed that the talks would continue.
Vladimir Medinsky, head of the Russian delegation, also said the talks would continue, but said nothing else positive after the third round.
“The discussion on the political aspects has continued, but it’s not going so smoothly and it’s too early to talk about anything positive,” Medinsky said. “Frankly, our expectations for the talks did not come true, and we hope that next time we can take a significant step forward.
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Russia previously announced a limited ceasefire and the establishment of safe corridors to allow civilians to flee some besieged Ukrainian towns on March 7. French President Emmanuel Macron.
The United Nations estimates that more than 1.7 million Ukrainians, mostly women, children and the elderly, have fled the violence that erupted after the Russian invasion on February 24. More than a million of these refugees passed through neighboring Poland.
Previous ceasefires crumbled as the Russian military continued to hit some Ukrainian towns with rockets, including one that Ukrainian officials called an immoral blow and Macron called an act of “hypocrisy.” from Moscow.
The problem will not be solved through “corridors that are threatened right away (by Russia),” Macron said in an interview with French news channel LCI.
To say that “we are going to protect people by bringing them to Russia” is “hypocritical”, he added. “It’s cynicism” which is “unbearable”, he said.
A spokesman for President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Ukrainian citizens should be allowed to leave their homes through Ukrainian territory, calling the Russian offer “completely immoral” while accusing Moscow of trying “to use the suffering of people to create a television image”.
“They are Ukrainian citizens. They should have the right to evacuate to Ukrainian territory,” the spokesman said, accusing Russia of deliberately obstructing previous evacuation attempts.
In Ankara, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba would meet on March 10 in the resort town of Antalya and that he would also attend the meeting.
WATCH: A Ukrainian artillery unit fired at Russian forces north and northwest of the capital, Kiev, on March 6. Speaking to RFE/RL correspondent Maryan Kushnir, a Ukrainian soldier expressed his determination to repel Russia’s invasion, saying: “We are defending our children.”
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova confirmed Lavrov’s attendance, adding that the agreement for the three-way meeting was reached during a telephone conversation between Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ” at the initiative of the Turkish leader”.
The meeting, which has not yet been confirmed by Kuleba, would mark the first contact between senior Russian and Ukrainian diplomats since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.
Russian forces continued their offensive on March 7, opening fire on the town of Mykolaiv, 480 kilometers south of Kiev. Rescuers said they were putting out fires in residential areas caused by rocket attacks.
The shelling also continued in the suburbs of Kiev, notably in Irpin, which was cut off from electricity, water and heating for three days. Residents tried to flee Irpin and Bucha, another Kyiv suburb, as they were pounded by airstrikes.
Despite ample concrete evidence of Russian attacks on civilian areas documented by journalists, including RFE/RL correspondents on the ground, Moscow denies targeting civilian areas, calling its campaign a “special military operation”. .
WATCH: Shells rained down on Ukrainian civilians as they fled Russian troops advancing on the town of Irpin, northwest of Kiev. Cameraman Andriy Dubchak captured the moment a shell landed on March 6, killing at least three people, including two children. (WARNING: Viewers may find the content of this video disturbing.)
Zelenskiy on March 7 renewed his call for Western leaders to donate military planes to Kiev. He also insisted that foreign countries impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine. Zelenskiy said in a video address that “the world is strong enough to close the sky to us.”
NATO has ruled out such a shutdown for fear that a direct confrontation with Russia could trigger a world war.
Kiev also called on the West to toughen sanctions.