The Russian army continues its offensive in Ukraine. Fighting continued on several fronts on Saturday March 5, notably near the strategic port of Mariupol, in southeastern Ukraine and near the capital, Kiev. At the same time, Russian President Vladimir Putin continued to threaten Westerners over the possible establishment of a no-fly zone, demanded by Kiev but refused by NATO.
Russian offensive resumed in Mariupol
The Russian army announced on Saturday March 5 that it had resumed “the attack” after the postponement of the evacuation of civilians from two besieged towns in southeastern Ukraine, including the strategic port of Mariupol. The evacuation was postponed due to multiple Russian violations of the ceasefire, according to the Mariupol mayor’s office, while Moscow blamed the “nationalists” Ukrainians to prevent civilians from leaving and to take advantage of the truce to consolidate their defences.
The capture of this city of 450,000 inhabitants, located on the Sea of Azov, would be a turning point in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It would allow the junction between the Russian forces coming from annexed Crimea, which have already taken the key ports of Berdiansk and Kherson, and the separatist and Russian troops in the Donbass
The Russian army is closing in on Kiev
Russian forces are closing in on Kiev, encountering stubborn resistance and sometimes bombing apartment buildings, notably in Cherniguiv, 150 km north of the capital, where dozens of civilians have been killed in recent days. The Russian army also continues to shell the surroundings of Kyiv especially in the northwest and east.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Saturday that Ukrainian forces had launched a counterattack around Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city, the scene of some of the most intense bombardments since the start of the war.
Vladimir Putin warns of a no-fly zone
Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed on Saturday that Russia would consider co-belligerent any country attempting to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, a claim by Kiev that NATO has rejected.
US Chief of Staff General Mark Milley has ruled out the idea of a no-fly zone in Ukraine because it would mean “actively fight” Russian forces. The master of the Kremlin has also declared that he does not plan to introduce martial law in Russia, in response to insistent rumors in this direction.
A third round of negotiations announced
A third round of talks between Ukraine and Russia will take place on Monday, a member of the Ukrainian delegation, David Arakhamia, announced on Saturday. Beijing, for its part, called for direct negotiations between Russia and Ukraine during a telephone conversation between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his American counterpart Antony Blinken.
While waiting for these new talks, international discussions continue. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Saturday to discuss the war in Ukraine. For his part, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on the Polish-Ukrainian border on Saturday in a show of solidarity on the tenth day of Russia’s invasion. of its pro-Western neighbour.