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Day 34 Russia-Ukraine crisis: As it happened

Moscow to 'radically' reduce military activity around Kyiv



This handout photo released by the Turkish presidential press service on March 29, 2022, shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan opening Ukrainian-Russian talks in Istanbul. Photo: AFP
This handout photo released by the Turkish presidential press service on March 29, 2022, shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan opening Ukrainian-Russian talks in Istanbul. Photo: AFP

By Team KT

Published: Tue 29 Mar 2022, 6:36 AM

Last updated: Wed 30 Mar 2022, 12:07 AM

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said late Monday that Russian forces are still attacking Kyiv, despite being driven out of Irpin, a suburb northwest of the capital that has seen heavy fighting.

He said the Russians remain in control of northern suburbs and are trying to regroup after losing Irpin on Monday. He urged Ukrainians not to let up in the war.

“We still have to fight, we have to endure,” Zelensky said in his night-time video address to the nation. “We can’t express our emotions now. We can’t raise expectations, simply so that we don’t burn out.”

Zelensky said he spoke Monday with the leaders of Azerbaijan, Britain, Canada and Germany, urging them to strengthen the sanctions against Russia.

Here's the latest of all top developments on March 30:


12:00am: Ukraine’s Zelenskiy says Russia talks could be called positive, wants to see results

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Tuesday said the signals from peace talks with Russia could be called positive but added that they did not drown out the explosions from Russian shells.

In a late night address, he said Kyiv saw no reason to believe in words from some Russian representatives and said Ukraine could only trust a concrete result from the talks.

11:00pm: West needs to see if Russians follow through on deescalation, Biden says

US President Joe Biden said Tuesday that the West wants to see if Russia will "follow through" on a promise to deescalate its war around Kyiv and another city in Ukraine.

"We'll see if they follow through," he told reporters shortly after holding a phone call with the leaders of Britain, France, Germany and Italy. "There seems to be a consensus that let's just see what they have to offer."


9:20pm: France says no Mariupol humanitarian mission possible ‘at this stage’

The conditions for carrying out a humanitarian operation sought by France to help citizens in the besieged Ukrainian port of Mariupol are not met “at this stage,” President Emmanuel Macron’s office said after the French leader spoke by telephone with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Macron outlined the mission sought alongside Turkey and Greece to Putin, who responded that “he was going to think about it” before responding, an Elysee Palace official said.


9:15pm: US, Europe urge West not to drop guard against Russia

The leaders of the United States, UK, France, Germany and Italy on Tuesday urged the West not to drop its guard against Russia, after Moscow signalled it would scale down fighting around two Ukrainian cities.

“They agreed there could be no relaxation of Western resolve until the horror inflicted on Ukraine is over,” they said, according to a read-out from UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Downing Street office.

Russia’s announcement came after talks with Ukraine, more than a month into the conflict that has left thousands dead and forced millions more to flee for their lives.


8:39pm: Abramovich appears at Ukraine-Russia talks in Istanbul

Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, who is sanctioned by the West over Moscow's incursion of Ukraine, made a surprise appearance in Istanbul on Tuesday at the first direct peace talks in weeks between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators.

The two teams sat facing each other at a long table in the presidential office on an Ottoman palace grounds. The Russian oligarch sat in the front row of observers wearing a blue suit, a Turkish presidential video showed.

More details here


6:20pm: Blinken says no sign Russia serious on Ukraine peace efforts

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has not seen “signs of real seriousness” from Russia in pursuing peace after its attack on Ukraine, he said on Tuesday, adding that Moscow should end its aggression now and pull its forces back.


5:26pm: Ukraine proposes Moscow drop any opposition to it joining EU

Russian lead negotiator Vladimir Medinsky said on Tuesday that Kyiv’s proposals to Moscow at talks in Istanbul included one that Russia would not oppose Ukraine joining the European Union.

He made the comment in footage broadcast on state television after talks between Russia and Ukraine in Istanbul.


5:07pm: Turkey says Ukraine-Russia talks in Istanbul concluded

Peace talks between Russian and Ukrainian negotiating teams, held in Istanbul on Tuesday, will not continue for a second day, the Turkish foreign ministry said.

Russia has decided to drastically cut its military activity around Kyiv and Chernihiv in Ukraine, one of its deputy defence ministers said earlier.


4:29pm: Russia to ‘radically’ reduce military activity around Kyiv

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, welcomes the Russian, right, and Ukrainian delegations ahead of their talks in Istanbul, Turkey, Tuesday, March 29, 2022. The first face-to-face talks in two weeks between Russia and Ukraine were due to start Tuesday, raising flickering hopes of an end to a war that has ground into a bloody campaign of attrition. (Turkish Presidency via AP)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, welcomes the Russian, right, and Ukrainian delegations ahead of their talks in Istanbul, Turkey, Tuesday, March 29, 2022. The first face-to-face talks in two weeks between Russia and Ukraine were due to start Tuesday, raising flickering hopes of an end to a war that has ground into a bloody campaign of attrition. (Turkish Presidency via AP)

Russia will “radically” reduce its military activity in northern Ukraine, including near the capital Kyiv, after “meaningful” talks in Istanbul, Moscow’s negotiators said Tuesday.

“Given that the talks on the preparation of an agreement on the neutrality and non-nuclear status of Ukraine have moved into a practical field... a decision has been made to radically, by several times reduce the military activity in the areas of Kyiv and Chernigiv,” Russia’s deputy defence minister Alexander Fomin said.

More details here


3.45pm: At least 7 dead, 22 injured in Mykolaiv attack: Zelensky

At least seven people were killed and 22 injured in a Russian strike on a regional government building in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Tuesday.

"As far as we know now seven people were killed, 22 were wounded, and people are still going through the rubble," Zelensky said in a video address to the Danish parliament.


3.02pm: Kremlin denies Abramovich poisoned, confirms role in talks

The Kremlin on Tuesday denied a report that Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich was poisoned while taking part in peace talks over Ukraine, but confirmed he is acting as an intermediary.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Abramovich and Ukrainian negotiators were targets of a suspected poison attack, potentially by Moscow hardliners seeking to sabotage peace talks.

“This is part of information sabotage, part of an information war,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

“It goes without saying that these reports do not correspond to reality.”

More details here


2.33pm: Ukraine says talks focusing on security guarantees

There are “intensive consultations going on regarding several important issues, the key among those is an agreement on international security guarantees for Ukraine.” He said that “only with this agreement can we end the war in a way that Ukraine needs.”


2.15pm: Russia ‘postpones’ military service for IT specialists

Russia on Tuesday temporarily exempted young IT workers from military service after an exodus of programmers following Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine.

Military service is compulsory in Russia for men aged between 18 and 27. Many try to evade service through medical or educational exemptions while some simply ignore the summons.

Men aged 27 and under, who work in IT companies, can get a “postponement” of their military service, according to a decree published on a government portal.


1.46pm: Polish, Czech ministers snub Hungary over Ukraine war

The Polish and Czech defence ministers will shun a regional meeting Wednesday in Budapest of the Visegrad Group because of Hungary’s ties with the Kremlin, officials said.

Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak “will not go” to Budapest, his press office said.

Czech Defence Minister Jana Cernochova said last week that she would not be going.


1:34pm: 2 dead after Russian strike on Mykolaiv govt building, AFP reports

The bodies of two people were pulled from rubble on Tuesday following a Russian strike on a government building in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv, AFP journalists on the scene reported.

Regional governor Vitaly Kim said earlier that while most of the people inside building had escaped injuries, eight civilians and several Ukrainian military personnel were unaccounted for.


12.52pm: Russian strike hits government building in Mykolaiv

A Russian strike battered the regional government building in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv, a key port under heavy assault for weeks, the regional governor said Tuesday.

“The regional administration building was hit,” governor Vitaly Kim wrote on Facebook. He said that most people inside the building had not been injured but several civilians and soldiers were unaccounted for.

“We’re clearing the rubble. Half the building was destroyed. My office was hit,” Kim said in a video statement.


11.59pm: Russia, Ukraine begin talks in Istanbul

Russian and Ukrainian negotiators began face-to-face talks in Istanbul on Tuesday shortly after 10:30 am (0730 GMT), the official Turkish news agency reported.

The two sides were welcomed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who urged them to “put an end to this tragedy” sparked by Russia’s February 24 attack on Ukraine.

More details here


11.03am: US to further target Russian warfare capabilities, official says

“In addition to sanctioning companies in sectors that enable the Kremlin’s malign activities, we also plan to take actions to disrupt their critical supply chains."


8.30am: Pentagon may need more budget funding to help Ukraine

The Pentagon may have to ask Congress for additional money to support Ukraine’s battle against Russia’s attack, including to replenish America’s arsenal for weapons sent to Kyiv, officials said.

Rolling out the Defence Department’s $773 billion request for fiscal 2023, Pentagon leaders said Monday the budget was finalized before the attack so it has no specific money for the war. Congress approved a $13.5 billion emergency funding package in early March.

The leaders said it was too early to predict how quickly Ukrainian forces will use up the weapons and ammunition already being provided, and how much the US will need to replace what it sends to Ukraine, such as Stinger and Javelin missiles or body armour and other equipment.


7.23am: Ukraine, Russia to start new round of peace talks on Tuesday

Russian and Ukrainian officials take part in the talks in Belarus February 28, 2022. (AP)
Russian and Ukrainian officials take part in the talks in Belarus February 28, 2022. (AP)

Ukraine and Russia will start the next round of peace talks on Tuesday in the Turkish city of Istanbul, the Ukrainian government-run Ukrinform news agency reported on Monday.

More details here


6.57am: Japan to ban luxury goods exports to Russia

Japan will ban the export of luxury goods to Russia in its latest response to Russia's attack on Ukraine, effective April 5, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in a Tuesday statement.

More details here


6.34am: UN chief wants Ukraine humanitarian cease-fire

The United Nations chief has launched an initiative to immediately explore possible arrangements for “a humanitarian cease-fire in Ukraine” in order to allow the delivery of desperately needed aid and pave the way for serious political negotiations to end the month-long war.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Monday he asked Undersecretary-General Martin Griffiths, the head of the UN’s worldwide humanitarian operations, to explore the possibility of a cease-fire with Russia and Ukraine. He said Griffiths has already made some contacts.


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