Russia-Ukraine peace negotiations were set to resume Monday after a weekend of increasing violence. This weekend saw the deaths of innocent civilians, calls for harsher sanctions, and the deployment of 400 more US troops to Lithuania.
In an overnight broadcast, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky cautioned against a resumed attack on large cities. Zelensky also urged new sanctions on Russia, claiming Vladimir Putin “has not dropped [his] plot against Ukraine.”
According to Zelensky, the tighter measures may be labeled “an embargo, or just morality.” A bombing of Ukraine’s major military sector manufacturing sites, located in densely populated cities, is also planned, Zelensky warned.
According to Reuters, Moscow has given Ukraine a set of demands if it desires peace. The demands include an end to all offensive acts, neutral legislation, Crimea as Russian territory, and two separate Donbas republics.
NATO and the EU
According to Peskov, the modifications to Ukraine’s Constitution deny any offer to enter other blocs, like NATO or the EU.
The demand came just a week after the European Parliament approved Ukraine’s candidacy.
The Kremlin has announced its demands for ending the war in Ukraine:
-Ukraine must change its constitution to guarantee it won't join any "blocs", i.e. NATO + EU.
-Must recognise Crimea as part of Russia.
-Must recognise the eastern separatist regions as independent.
— Patrick Reevell (@Reevellp) March 7, 2022
The requests come as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Monday the US would deploy an extra 400 troops to Lithuania, as part of an extended US commitment to NATO member states.
At that point, the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team will join 600 other US forces already based in Lithuania, Blinken stated during a morning press briefing in Vilnius.
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced a Thursday meeting of Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers in Antalya.
Turkey, a NATO member with close economic and military links to Russia and Ukraine, has often volunteered to act as an intermediary between the two warring parties. On the way to peace and stability, Cavusoglu hoped the summit would be a defining moment in the battle.
A nuclear disaster would endanger the lives of people in Ukraine and surrounding nations, including Russia, according to IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi.
I spoke with President Putin and then with President Zelensky. We are striving to preserve the integrity of Ukraine's civilian nuclear plants, in addition to other priority demands we presented to Russia: a ceasefire and the protection of civilians.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) March 6, 2022
On Sunday, a Russian force moving toward Kyiv fired mortar bombs at a broken bridge used by Ukrainians fleeing the combat.
Situations in the Streets
Panicked citizens fled. Finally, four bodies were located on the street. Crowds have gathered for days around the destroyed Irpin River bridge, considering it their only escape route.
The Ukrainian military initially detonated the bridge to halt the Russian advance. According to the New York Times, a dozen or more Ukrainian soldiers remained near Irpin on Sunday, assisting with baggage and children.
Civilians had to walk a hundred yards closer to Kyiv to get to the bridge. People ran in tiny groups.
Ukrainian soldiers were seen rushing out, picking up children, assisting with luggage, and then fleeing behind concrete block walls, according to Four Times correspondents.
About 100 yards from the bridge, a succession of thundering booms hit a portion of the street where people rushed to flee. The Times team was there when civilians were fired upon. People ran as the mortars got closer, but there was nowhere to hide.
One shell struck in the street, scattering a mother, her teenage son, her 8-year-old daughter, and family friends. Ukrainian troops tried to assist, but it was too late.
The weekend’s violence carried over into Monday, with pre-dawn blasts in Mykolaiv, a coastal city near Odessa.
A 5 a.m. artillery barrage awoke the city. Several rockets hit an apartment complex in the city’s east, blowing out windows and bursting through walls, the Times reported. The relentless shelling seemed to inflame Putin’s ire.