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LIVE: Ukrainian and Russian Demands "More Realistic": Zelensky

  • Flags of Ukraine and Russia at the talks

    Flags of Ukraine and Russia at the talks

Published 15 March 2022

Although NATO is the "strongest defense alliance in the world", some of its members "are hypnotized by the Russian aggression", the Ukrainian president said.

On March 15, representatives of Russia and Ukraine are expected to continue virtual negotiations aimed at reaching a solution to the conflict between their countries. The main developments in the situation are presented below as they happen.

Zelensky called the positions of the Ukrainian and Russian delegations at the talks "more realistic

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the positions of Ukraine and Russia at the ongoing bilateral talks have become "more realistic."

"The meetings continue, and as I am told, the positions at the talks sound more realistic already," Zelensky said in his telegram video message.

He added that "it still takes time for solutions to meet Ukraine's interests," noting that it is "hard, but important."

Mikhail Podolyak, an adviser to the head of the Ukrainian presidential office, said the day before that talks between the Ukrainian and Russian delegations would continue on Wednesday.

"We will continue tomorrow—a very complicated and dense negotiation process. There are fundamental contradictions. But there is certainly room for compromise. During the break, the work in the subgroups will continue," follows a tweet from the adviser.

Earlier on Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a press conference: "Negotiations (...) are now ongoing to ensure Ukraine's neutral military status, in the context of security guarantees for all participants in this process, in the context of demilitarizing Ukraine so that no threats to Russia will ever come from its territory, and in the context, of course, of stopping the policy of Nazification of the country."

Japan to revoke Russia’s most favored trade partner status - TV

Japanese Prime Minster Fumio Kishida decided to revoke Russia’s ‘most favored nation' trade status over the situation in Ukraine, the NHK television reported on Wednesday.

An official announcement is expected later in the day.

The move means, among other things, that Russia will lose various trade preferences granted by Japan.

On Tuesday, Japan has expanded the list of goods and technologies that are prohibited from being exported to Russia as part of the sanctions imposed against the country due to the military operation in Ukraine. Now there are about 300 items on the list instead of previously announced 57 items. In particular, this includes semiconductors, equipment for ensuring maritime and aviation security, telecommunications equipment, communications equipment. The list also includes equipment and products related to nuclear energy, products of the chemical industry, various types of sensors, software.

EU decides not to prohibit imports of Russian vodka, caviar

The European Union, which unveiled its fourth package of anti-Russian sanctions on Tuesday, decided not no prohibit imports of Russian-made luxury goods, such as vodka and caviar, the European Commission said.

"Does the ban on luxury goods also cover imports from Russia (such as caviar or vodka)? No, the focus of this package of sanctions is on depriving Russia from EU luxury goods," the organization said.

The European Union introduced a restriction for trading of iron and steel goods with Russia and imposed a ban on certain luxury goods sales to Russia, according to the Official Journal of the EU. The list of prohibited goods includes, among other things, expensive cars and motorcycles (worth over 50,000 euro and 5,000 euro, respectively), as well as perfume, alcohol, household appliances and clothes worth over 300 euro per one item.

Biden to announce $1 billion aid to Ukraine on Wednesday - paper

US President Joe Biden is set to announce a 1.01-billion military aid package to Ukraine on Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal said, citing US administration sources.

The aid package will include anti-tank and air defense weapons, including Javelin portable anti-tank missiles and Stinger man-portable air-defense systems.

World Bank President: "The biggest impact on world GDP is due to the sanctions against Russia itself"

World Bank President David Malpass said Monday in an interview for The Washington Post that the fighting in Ukraine will have "an immediate short-term impact" on global GDP, but what will have an even bigger influence are the anti-Russian sanctions.

"I think the even bigger impact for global GDP is the Russia sanctions themselves," Malpass argued, recalling that the Eurasian country has "a big enough economy."

The economist added that it should be kept in mind that Russia's per capita income has fallen below that of China, "so it's not that big a factor in world GDP, probably $1.5 trillion, and it will slow down markedly as a result of the sanctions."

Over 3 million Ukrainian refugees arrive in neighboring countries - UN

Russian rescue personnel distributes hot tea to people evacuated from Mariupol on the Ukraine-Russia border at the border crossing point Veselo-Voznesenka in the Rostov region, Russia, 15 March 2022. EFE/EPA/ARKADY BUDNITSKY

Over 3 million Ukrainian refugees have arrived in neighboring countries, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said.

According to the agency, the number of people who fled Ukraine between February 24 and March 15 has reached 3,000,381.

A total of 1,830,711 people fled to Poland, 459,485 - to Romania, 337,315 - to Moldova, 267,570 - to Hungary.

Operation in Ukraine will be over when its goals are achieved - Russia’s UN envoy

Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine will end when its goals are met, Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya told reporters on Tuesday.

"When the goals of the special military operations are achieved, it will stop," Nebenzya said.

When asked when a universal ceasefire will be achieved, Nebenzya replied that it "will take place when conditions that were put forward by Russia will be implemented."

Those conditions are "demilitarization, denazification of Ukraine, no threat which would come from the territory from that country to Russia. No joining NATO," he said.

Zelensky dismissed military commander over missile strike at Donetsk - says DPR

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky ruled to relieve of duty the commander of Kiev’s military operation in Donbass, Alexander Pavlyuk, over his decision to fire a Tochka-U missile towards Donetsk without authorization, deputy department head of the DPR Militia Eduard Basurin said on Tuesday.

"The decisive factor in Pavlyuk’s dismissal was his arbitrary decision to fire a missile with a cluster warhead from the Tochka-U tactical system towards the Donetsk city center, which left 21 citizens of the republic dead and 37 injured," Basurin said in a statement, posted in his Telegram channel.

Among other reasons behind the dismissal, he named several major failures of the Ukrainian armed forces in Donbass.

"According to our source, the military leadership of Ukraine lost credibility due to Pavlyuk’s total inability to organize proper defense of the Ukrainian armed forces, as well as due to the loss of Volnovakha and the blocking of Ukrainian troops in Mariupol," Basurin said.

Zelensky assumes that Ukraine will not be part of NATO. On March 15, Ukraine's President Volodimir Zelensky admitted that his country will not join the North Atlantic Organization (NATO), but insisted on asking Western countries for arms to stop the Russian military operation, which continues advancing towards Kyev.

In a videoconference with leaders of the Nordic and Baltic countries convened by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, The Ukrainian president showed his frustration that his country has not been admitted to NATO. He said that Ukraine has no choice but to "accept" it but insisted on finding other ways of military collaboration.

Although NATO is the "strongest defense alliance in the world", some of its members "are hypnotized by the Russian aggression", said Zelensky, who also regretted that the NATO does not apply a "No-Fly Zone" over Ukraine to prevent Russian attacks.

Russia imposes sanctions on top U.S. officials, including Biden, Blinken. The Russian Foreign Ministry announced sanctions on top U.S. officials, including U.S. President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

Russia's "stop list" also includes Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, Biden's son Hunter, and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Moscow made the "stop list" on the basis of reciprocity in response to a series of unprecedented sanctions prohibiting, among other things, top Russian officials from entering the United States starting Tuesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Russia introduced the restrictions as a counter reaction to the extremely Russophobic course taken by the current U.S. administration, warning that the blacklist could be expanded in the future.

"At the same time, we do not refuse to maintain official relations if they meet our national interests. And, if necessary, we will solve problems arising from the status of the blacklisted persons in order to organize high-level contacts," it added.

Russia will propose "a humanitarian resolution" to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). On Wednesday, Russia will propose to UNSC members that they vote in favor of a "humanitarian resolution" linked to the "special military operation" in Ukraine.

Russia's ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, regretted that France and Mexico had given up putting their draft resolution on humanitarian aid to a vote after 15 days of discussions. Instead, those countries preferred to request a vote directly in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) where Russia does not have the right of veto.

Russian soccer teams remain out of European competitions. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) rejected a request to suspend FIFA sanctions that was presented by the Russian Football Federation (FUR). Russian teams are therefore excluded from European competitions. The Court, however, promised to continue analyzing the petition in depth.

Belarus accuses Ukraine of launching a missile against its territory. President Alexander Lukashenko accused Ukraine of having launched a Tochka-U missile in the direction of Belarus. The missile, however, was shot down by his defense forces over the Pripyat territory, on the border between the two countries.

"I have warned that we will be pushed into this military operation," the Belarusian president said, adding that this possibility "was demonstrated just two days ago with another overnight launch of a Tochka-U missile, and it was an attack against the territory.”

The West said nothing about deaths at Donetsk. Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov lamented the lack of reaction of Western countries to the deaths caused by a missile launched by Ukrainian forces.

“We are very disappointed that neither European leaders, nor my counterpart Jen Psaki, nor U.S. President Joe Biden, nor the heads of international organizations, nor the NATO administration made any statement about what happened in Donetsk," he said.

“They did not say anything about the innocent civilians who died due to a missile fired by the Ukrainian armed forces. They did not say anything about the atrocities taking place in Donetsk. No one was convicted. I am not going to give my assessment. I just want to make a call to everyone to pay attention to it,” he added.

Three million people left Ukraine. Paul Dillon, the spokesman for the International Organization for Migration (IOM), indicated that the Ukrainian conflict has generated the displacement abroad of three million people, of whom 1.4 million are children and 157,000 are citizens of other countries. Currently, Poland hosts 1.8 million refugees.

Kyev enters a 36-hour curfew. Mayor Vitali Klitschko said his city is going through a "dangerous and difficult time." Therefore, he prohibited traffic from 8:00 p.m. on March 15 until 7:00 a.m. on March 17.

Russia restricts grain exports to four Eurasian countries. To avoid shortages and price increases, Russian authorities restricted grain exports to Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan.

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