Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday he is ready to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but warned that if any negotiation attempts fail, it could mean the fight between the two countries would lead to “a third World War.”
“I’m ready for negotiations with him. I was ready for the last two years. And I think that without negotiations, we cannot end this war,” Zelensky told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria in an exclusive interview Sunday morning.
“If there’s just 1% chance for us to stop this war, I think that we need to take this chance. We need to do that. I can tell you about the result of this negotiations — in any case, we are losing people on a daily basis, innocent people on the ground,” he said.
He continued, “Russian forces have come to exterminate us, to kill us. And we can demonstrate that the dignity of our people and our army that we are able to deal a powerful blow, we are able to strike back. But, unfortunately, our dignity is not going to preserve the lives. So, I think we have to use any format, any chance in order to have a possibility of negotiating, possibility of talking to Putin. But if these attempts fail, that would mean that this is a third World War.”
An advisor to Mariupol’s mayor said in an update on the art school that was bombed by Russian forces in the last hours that city officials are struggling to learn more about how many people were hiding in the school that was acting as a shelter.
Petro Andrushenko wrote on social media:
“So far, there is no exact operational data on how many people were hiding in the shelter or the number of casualties. I expect we will have it later today. But the situation is difficult and there is nowhere to get the data from.”
An earlier estimate from the city council put the number sheltering in the school building at 400.
The information black hole reflects a similar lack of clarity about how many people survived an attack five days ago on a theatre in Mariupol that was also being used as a shelter, possibly for up to 1,300 people.
The number of people reported having survived – put at 130 – has been unchanged for several days.
Fighting continued Sunday for control of the port city in southeastern Ukraine that has become a focus of Russia’s assault on the country.
“The city continues to be shelled both from the sky and the sea,” Andrushenko wrote on his Telegram channel.
“It seems the occupiers are so eager to wipe out Mariupol that they are ready to cover themselves with fire.”
He also said people trying to flee the city in their cars were being shot at by Russian forces.
“Evacuation is difficult – difficult but moving. The Russians are doing everything to complicate things. Last night, cars trying to drive towards the village of Melekine [10 kilometers west of the city center] were fired upon.”
Other residents looking to flee were having their cars seized from them at a checkpoint just outside Mariupol, he said.
Despite the dangers, Ukraine’s government announced the humanitarian corridor linking Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia, outside Russian-occupied territory, had been agreed for Sunday.
A council official reported that a column of eleven buses carrying almost 800 people had completed the second part of the journey, from Berdiansk to Zaporozhzhia, by midday Sunday.
Pope Francis called the war in Ukraine “a senseless massacre, where havoc and atrocities are repeated every day,” in his weekly Sunday address and blessing.
“I beg all the actors of the international community to make a real effort to put an end to this repugnant war,” the head of the Catholic Church told the crowd in St Peter’s Square after his Angelus Prayer.
“This week, missiles and bombs hit civilians, the elderly, children and pregnant mothers,” Pope Francis said, adding he visited injured children treated in Rome. “One of them is missing an arm, another one wounded in the head, innocent children,” the Pope said.
“Let us stay close to this battered people, embrace them with affection and with concrete commitment and prayer, and please do not get used to war and violence,” he added.
Pope Francis invited “every faithful and every community” to join him on March 25, the day of the Christian Annunciation, “in carrying out a solemn act of consecration of humanity, especially of Russia and Ukraine.”
“All this is inhumane, indeed it is also sacrilegious because it goes against the sacredness of human life. Especially against defenseless human life, which must be respected and protected, not eliminated, and which comes before any strategy, let’s not forget, it is cruel, inhuman and sacrilegious,” he concluded.
An art school being used as a shelter in the besieged city of Mariupol has been bombed by Russian forces, according to Mariupol city council in a statement on its Telegram channel.
About 400 people were sheltering in the building, which was destroyed in the attack, the council said. Information on casualties is still unclear but people remain trapped under the rubble.
It’s Sunday afternoon in Ukraine. Here are more of today’s latest developments around the conflict:
- Ukraine claims death of general: Ukrainian officials say that another Russian commander has died during fighting, which they say would be the fifth Russian general to have been killed since the invasion on February 24. Gen. Oleg Mityaev, of Russia’s 150th Motorized Rifle Division, and members of his unit were killed by Ukrainian forces near Mariupol last week, according to a Telegram post shared by Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister. CNN cannot independently verify the Ukrainian claims.
- Russia claims use of hypersonic missiles: The Russian military claimed on Sunday that it had launched a series of strikes on military targets in Ukraine employing hypersonic and cruise missiles on Saturday night and Sunday morning. US officials have also confirmed to CNN that Russia launched hypersonic missiles against Ukraine last week, the first known use of such missiles in combat.
- No air superiority: Britain’s military said Russian forces have still not managed to gain control over Ukraine’s airspace. An intelligence assessment provided by the UK’s Ministry of Defense said Russia has failed to gain air superiority and is largely depending on stand-off weapons, “launched from the relative safety of Russian airspace to strike targets within Ukraine.”
- Australia announces aid: Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced additional military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine, while also imposing an immediate ban on exports of alumina and aluminium ore to Russia. The package brings Australia’s total military assistance so far to A$91 million (US $66.3 million), the statement said.
- Forced to go to Russia: Citizens of the battered city of Mariupol are being taken to Russian territory against their will by Russian forces, according to the Mariupol city council. Captured residents were taken to camps where Russian forces checked their phones and documents, the council said. They were then redirected to remote Russian cities. Mariupol is under almost constant bombardment, according to a major in Ukraine’s army, and residents are rationing food and water as bodies are left in the streets. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said what Russian forces have done to Mariupol is an “act of terror that will be remembered for centuries.”
At least 1.5 million children have been made refugees by Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, UNICEF spokesperson Joe English told CNN Sunday.
A further 3.3 million minors are currently displaced within the country, English told CNN’s Hala Gorani.
Each of these is an individual child whose life has been torn apart, whose world has been turned upside down,” English said.
At least 150 children have been killed and 160 injured since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, according to the UN agency.
Ukrainian military aircraft are moving slowly and unhindered over Ukraine, supporting the notion that Russia does not have control of the country’s airspace.
A CNN team traveling through Ukrainian-held territory Saturday saw individual fighter jets flying low over the countryside on three separate occasions over the span of several hundred kilometers.
On the third occasion, Ukrainian troops at a checkpoint did not react to the presence of the jet.
A security analyst traveling with CNN observed the jets were not flying at high speed, indicating they were not engaging in an attack and were therefore likely Ukrainian.
The same team saw a Ukrainian-marked MI-8 helicopter armed with rocket pods flying fast and low over the outskirts of Vinnytsia, central Ukraine on Tuesday.
The sightings support Western intelligence reports that Russia has not achieved air supremacy in Ukraine.
Ukrainian officials say that another Russian commander has died during fighting, which they say would be the fifth Russian general to have been killed since the invasion on February 24.
Gen. Oleg Mityaev, of Russia’s 150th Motorized Rifle Division, and members of his unit were killed by Ukrainian forces near Mariupol last week, according to a Telegram post shared by Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s Interior Minister, on Tuesday.
The Russian Ministry of Defense nor Russian state media have issued any statements on his death.
Mityaev was part of a small group sent to Mariupol, Aleksei Arestovich, an adviser to the head of the president’s office, told Ukraine’s NV News.
He said Mityaev “most likely went to show, by example, how to fight. Because his soldiers refused to fight.
“Usually, the general is killed in close combat only if he personally comes to lead on the spot.”
CNN cannot independently verify the Ukrainian claims.
The official Facebook page of the Strategic Communications Department of the Office of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU StratCom) also confirmed Mityaev’s death via a Facebook post.
In 2016, Mityaev was appointed commander of Russia’s 201st military base in Tajikistan, according to Russian state media.
The 201st military base is the largest Russian military facility located outside of its borders. Most recently, he was stationed as the deputy commander of the Russian military grouping at Hmeimim Air Base in Syria, according to Russian state media.
The Azov Battalion, an ultra-nationalist militia that has since been integrated into the Ukrainian armed forces, was the first to share a photo of the General’s body on their Telegram account.
US President Joe Biden and his fellow world leaders hope to finalize and unveil a package of new measures to punish Russia, help Ukraine and demonstrate Western unity at a string of emergency summits in Europe this week.
But aside from a dramatic wartime show of resolve, few observers believe anything the leaders can agree upon will be enough to end the bloodshed in Ukraine or dissuade Russian President Vladimir Putin from continuing his attacks that are increasingly harming civilians.
Read the full story here:
Two Harvard University students have created a website connecting thousands of Ukrainian refugees with hosts around the world offering them a safe haven from the fighting.
More than three million people have fled Ukraine since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine on February 24 and teenager Avi Schiffmann felt like he needed to help.
After coming face to face with hundreds of Ukrainian Americans at a pro-Ukraine demonstration in San Diego, the student contacted his classmate Marco Burstein and told him about his idea.
The pair then spent almost ƒevery waking moment designing, editing and perfecting a website dedicated to assisting refugees.
“They need assistance, immediately and on a really big scale, and I had to find a way to make that happen as soon as possible,” Schiffmann, 19, told CNN.
Ukraine Take Shelter launched on March 3 and, within a week, more than 4,000 people had created listings offering shelter to Ukrainian refugees.
The website design is simple. Refugees enter the nearest city where they hope to flee and go through available listings, each with its personalized description of the accommodation.
Finally, the refugee can click on the phone or email button to get the personal contact information of the listing holder.
“For me, I’m behind a computer across the world, which is what I’m good at, but it’s very disconnected sometimes,” Schiffmann said.
“To see so many people from countries in every corner of the world doing something to help these refugees, who need and deserve safety, is really inspiring.”
Read the full story here: