LIVE: China backs Franco-German bid to reach ceasefire | News

On Monday, Russia and Ukraine failed to achieve a major breakthrough in their third round of peace talks in Belarus. A negotiator, however, said the fourth round will take place in “the very near future”. Below are key developments in this conflict as they unfold.

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8 MARCH

China supports the Franco-German attempt to reach a ceasefire. President Xi Jinping supports the attempt by France and Germany to reach a ceasefire in Ukraine and to guarantee the civilian population access to humanitarian aid coordinated by the United Nations.

On Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz held a videoconference with Xi, who reiterated Beijing’s position on “the importance of respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity” of states. Xi had previously called on Macron and Scholz to “maximum restraint to avoid a large-scale humanitarian crisis” in Ukraine.

The European Union is preparing a fourth package of sanctions against Russia and Belarus. The European Union (EU) will analyze on Tuesday the imposition of new sanctions, among which it is considered to add more Russian businessmen and politicians to the blacklist and to disconnect several Belarusian banks from the SWIFT system. Another possibility is to veto the export of naval equipment and software from the EU.

So far, the European Union has expelled seven Russian banks from the interbank system, among them neither Sberbank, the country’s largest entity, nor Gazprombank, because they handle a large part of energy transactions with European countries.

Russia has declared a “regime of silence”. The opening of humanitarian corridors for the safe evacuation of civilians in Ukraine begins at 07:00 GMT on Tuesday.

“Humanitarian corridors from Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkov and Mariupol are being opened,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said. On the same day, Ukraine began evacuating residents of the northeastern city of Sumy through a humanitarian corridor, as agreed with Russia.

During the third round of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine on Monday, the two sides discussed the issue of the evacuation of civilians, and the Ukrainian side assured Russia that the humanitarian corridors would begin to operate.

“The main priorities of humanitarians are to allow civilians to leave the areas under fire in Ukraine and to provide the aid that these areas desperately need,” the UN emergency relief coordinator said on Monday. Martin Griffiths, Martin Griffiths, to the Security Council.

Zelensky criticizes the West for its broken promises. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has denounced the West’s broken promises to defend Ukraine from the special military operation.

“We have been listening to promises for thirteen days, thirteen days they tell us that there will be help in the sky, that there will be planes, that they will give it to us,” said Zelenski in a video message posted to his office’s Telegram account.

“The fault lies with the occupiers, but the responsibility also lies with those who, somewhere in the West, for thirteen days in some office, were clearly unable to make the necessary decision”, a- he added.

“Missile defense is vital. It is vital! said Zelensky, who announced that he would “appeal directly to the citizens of the world if international leaders do not do everything possible to stop this war”.

Greece is preparing an emergency plan for refugees. Since the start of the Russian special military operation, Greece has received 5,421 Ukrainian citizens, of whom 722 arrived in the past 24 hours, government spokesman Yannis Ikonomu said, adding that his country is preparing the necessary facilities. to receive refugees.

“There is full coordination of all services involved, and all data on the reception process at each point of entry into the country is constantly reviewed,” he said, adding that a process of Accelerated identification will start from April 4, when Ukrainians can receive a special biometric document that will allow them to stay for 12 months.

Ikonomu also mentioned that the Ministry of Health is preparing a special device for the vaccination of unvaccinated refugees, the Ministry of Education is organizing school capacities to accommodate children of Ukrainian refugees, and the Ministries of Labour, Agriculture , Development and Tourism identify labor market needs likely to provide employment opportunities for Ukrainian refugees.

James R. Rhodes