You are currently viewing Russia-Ukraine war: what we know on day 37 of the Russian invasion – The Guardian

Russia-Ukraine war: what we know on day 37 of the Russian invasion – The Guardian

US says invasion has been ‘strategic disaster’ for Moscow and Putin is isolated as peace talks due to resume
The Red Cross says an evacuation plan for Mariupol has been agreed with “top-level authorities” from Ukraine and Russia. There are thought still to be more than 100,000 civilians in the besieged southern port city. Earlier, Oleksii Iaremenko, a Ukraine deputy minister, said it was 36 days since Mariupol had received any medical or humanitarian supplies.
Peace talks between Russia and Ukraine are expected to restart on Friday by video, focusing on the peace framework the Ukrainian side presented during a face-to-face meeting in Istanbul earlier this week.
Russian forces have reportedly left the Chernobyl power plant, the Ukrainian Atomic Energy Ministry said, citing personnel at the site. The troops began leaving after soldiers got “significant doses” of radiation from digging trenches at the highly contaminated site, Ukraine’s state power company said. Energoatom said the Russians had dug in at a forest inside the exclusion zone around the now-closed plant and “panicked at the first sign of illness”, which “showed up very quickly”, and began preparing to leave.
Russian troops reportedly took an unspecified number of captive Ukrainian servicemen hostage after leaving the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, Energoatom said in a statement on Telegram.
Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, repeated his warning that Russia was preparing for “powerful strikes” in the Donbas region after appearing to withdraw from an assault on Kyiv. The Pentagon agreed Russia may be repositioning some of its forces to send them to the Donbas.
Nato’s chief, Jens Stoltenberg, said Russian forces were not withdrawing, but regrouping. He also said the alliance had yet to be convinced Russia was negotiating in good faith in peace talks in Istanbul, because Moscow’s military objective since launching its invasion of Ukraine had not changed.
Russia is redeploying some of its forces from Georgia to reinforce its invasion, British military intelligence said on Thursday. “It is highly unlikely that Russia planned to generate reinforcements in this manner and it is indicative of the unexpected losses it has sustained during the invasion,” the ministry said.
The White House said the US had evidence that the war against Ukraine had been “a strategic disaster” for Russia. “We have seen incontrovertible evidence that this has been a strategic disaster for Russia,” the director of communications, Kate Bedingfield, said, adding that Russia was “working to redefine the initial aims of their invasion”.
The US president, Joe Biden, said the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, “seems to be self-isolated” and that “there’s some indication that he has fired or put under house arrest some of his advisers”. He did not provide evidence.
The UK defence secretary, Ben Wallace, seemingly concurred, saying Putin was “not the force he used to be” as the Russian president became increasingly isolated. Speaking on Sky News, Wallace said: “President Putin is not the force he used to be. He is now a man in a cage he built himself. He’s isolated. His army is exhausted, he has suffered significant losses. The reputation of this great army of Russia has been trashed.”
Russia has threatened to halt contracts supplying Europe with a third of its gas unless they are paid in Russian currency. Putin signed a decree on Thursday saying foreign buyers must pay in roubles for Russian gas from Friday, or contracts would be halted. Germany and France rejected the demands, calling them “blackmail”.
EU and Chinese leaders will meet for a first summit in two years on Friday, with Brussels keen for assurances from Beijing that it will neither supply Russia with arms nor help Moscow circumvent western sanctions. EU officials close to the summit preparations said any help to Russia would damage China’s international reputation and jeopardise relations with its biggest trade partners – Europe and the US.
Britain and its allies have agreed to send more military aid to Ukraine to help defend it against Russia’s invasion, the Wallace, said. As part of the agreement, armoured vehicles and long-range artillery would be sent.
Australia will send armoured Bushmaster vehicles to Ukraine after Zelenskiy asked for them during a video appeal to Australian lawmakers.
Russia said it would respond to the EU’s “irresponsible” sanctions. A senior foreign ministry official, Nikolai Kobrinets, told the Russian state media agency RIA: “The actions of the EU will not remain unanswered … the irresponsible sanctions by Brussels are already negatively affecting the daily lives of ordinary Europeans.”

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