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'Clear task' Ukrainian President says he will continue negotiating with Russia and awaits Putin meeting

Mr Zelenskyy said that his delegation has a “clear task” to do everything to ensure a meeting between the two presidents

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pauses as he speaks in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pauses as he speaks in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pauses as he speaks in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said he will continue negotiating with Russia and is waiting for a meeting with Vladimir Putin.

Mr Zelensky has repeatedly called for a meeting with Putin.

But so far, his requests have gone unanswered by the Kremlin.

Mr Zelenskyy said Sunday during his nightly address to the nation that his delegation has a “clear task” to do everything to ensure a meeting between the two presidents.

He said talks are held daily between the two countries via video conference.

He said the talks are necessary to establish a cease-fire and more humanitarian corridors. He said those corridors have saved more than 130,000 people in six days.

The humanitarian convoy to the besieged city of Mariupol was blocked Sunday by Russian forces. Zelenskyy said they would try again Monday.

The  Ukrainian President has said it was a “black day” after Russia shelled a military base in the western part of his country.

In his nightly address on Sunday, he said Russia fired 30 rockets at the Yavoriv military base.

It killed 35 people and injured 134 injured others.

The base is less than 25km from the Polish border.

Mr  Zelenskyy said he had given Western leaders “clear warning” of the danger to the base. He asked NATO leaders again to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine. He warned “it is only a matter of time” before Russian missels fall on NATO territory.

Military analysts say the US Britain and their European allies are unlikely to impose a no-fly zone because they believe it could escalate the war in Ukraine into a nuclear confrontation between NATO and Russia.

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The Red Cross is warning of a “worst-case scenario” for hundreds of thousands of civilians in the besieged city of Mariupol unless the parties agree to ensure their safety and access to humanitarian aid.

The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, said in a statement said Sunday that residents of Mariupol “have endured a weeks-long life-and-death nightmare.”

The Geneva-based humanitarian agency said hundreds of thousands of people in the city are “facing extreme or total shortages of basic necessities like food, water and medicine.”

“Dead bodies, of civilians and combatants, remain trapped under the rubble or lying in the open where they fell,” the ICRC added. “Life-changing injuries and chronic, debilitating conditions cannot be treated. The human suffering is simply immense.”

The Red Cross called on the parties to agree on the terms of a cease-fire, routes for safe passage, and to ensure the deal is respected. It offered to act as a neutral intermediary in negotiations.

Ukraine said it has restored a broken power line to the Chernobyl power plant, the scene of a nuclear meltdown in 1986, which is held by Russian troops.

Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said that “heroes” from the national power grid company managed to restore the connection. The power is used to run pumps which keep spent nuclear fuel cool to prevent radiation leaks.

Ukraine said Wednesday that power had been cut to the site and that there was enough diesel fuel to run on-site generators for 48 hours. The International Atomic Energy Agency played down concerns, saying it saw little risk of the pools containing the spent fuel overheating even without electricity.

Belarus said Thursday it had set up an emergency power line to Chernobyl from its nearby border.
 

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