“We don’t believe anyone.” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday March 30 questioned Moscow’s announcements on the reduction of Russian military activity in Ukraine. The international community too remains cautious after Russia’s promises of de-escalation. Franceinfo looks back on the key events of the day.
Moscow announces ceasefire in Mariupol on Thursday to evacuate civilians
Mariupol, a port city in southern Ukraine, is surrounded by Russian forces and is almost totally devastated. The fate of its inhabitants has been worrying for several weeks. The Russian Ministry of Defense has announced the establishment of a “silent regime”i.e. a local ceasefire, from 10 a.m. (9 a.m., Paris time) to evacuate civilians. This measure should make it possible to open a humanitarian corridor to the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhia, according to the ministry. “For this humanitarian operation to succeed, we propose to carry it out with the direct participation of representatives of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Committee of the Red Cross”the ministry added in a statement.
This announcement from Moscow should be taken with caution. “For now, in Mariupol, the security of the corridors has never been guaranteed”said Tuesday at Release (article subscribers) Lucile Marbeau, a spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Shortly before this statement by Russia, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian drew attention to the situation in Mariupol. “We, what we want on Mariupol, is a ceasefire, lifting of the siege and free delivery of humanitarian aid and free movement of the population in Mariupol. This is the topic of the moment “he had declared in particular on the continuous news channel France 24.
“The concept of a ‘Russian-style humanitarian corridor’ is an additional pretext to intensify the bombardments. What we want to #Mariupolit’s a ceasefire.”@JY_LeDrian calls for not “being misled by the declarations of the #Russia” ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/6B4qwgIMwW
— FRANCE 24 French (@France24_fr) March 30, 2022
The number of Ukrainian refugees has passed the 4 million mark
It is a flood of refugees such as Europe has not seen since the Second World War. “The number of refugees from Ukraine has now reached 4 million, 5 weeks after the start of the Russian attack”said Filippo Grandi, the head of the UNHCR, who arrived in Ukraine. This very high number is only a pale reflection of the reality of these people who often had to flee with scant hastily packed luggage, to head for neighboring countries by car, train or sometimes on foot. .
In total, more than ten million people, more than a quarter of the population, had to leave their homes by crossing the border or by finding refuge elsewhere in Ukraine. The UN estimates the number of internally displaced people in Ukraine at nearly 6.5 million.
Paris and Moscow see “no breakthrough” in the negotiations
France does not see “no breakthrough” in the Russian-Ukrainian negotiations or “novelty” in the situation in Ukraine after Russian announcements to reduce their military activity around kyiv and in northern Ukraine, said Jean-Yves Le Drian, the Minister of Foreign Affairs. “The war continues. For the moment there is to my knowledge neither breakthrough nor novelty”continued the head of French diplomacy on France 24.
Talks between Russian and Ukrainian delegations in Istanbul on Tuesday yielded nothing “very promising” nor to any “breakthrough”, the Kremlin said on Wednesday, dampening hopes of decisive progress in the negotiations. These statements of Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov contrast with those, much more positive, of the Russian officials who took part in the discussions which took place in Turkey.
Joe Biden discusses “additional” military capabilities with Volodymyr Zelensky
The President of the United States discussed for fifty-five minutes with his Ukrainian counterpart military capabilities “additional” necessary to help the Ukrainian army to “defend his country”the White House said. The US presidency added that they had highlighted the impact “determining” weapons supplied by the Americans over the course of the conflict. “In addition, President Biden has informed President Zelensky that the United States intends to provide the Ukrainian government with $500 million in direct budget support.”said the White House.