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Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know now

Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues in the village of Krasilivka outside of Kyiv
A Ukrainian soldier walks past a burned-out car as Russia’s assault on Ukraine continues in the village of Krasylivka outside Kyiv, Ukraine March 26, 2022. REUTERS/Marko Djurica

March 27, 2022

(Reuters) – Ukraine is ready to discuss going neutral under a peace deal, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, despite another senior Ukrainian official accusing Russia of splitting the country in two.

STRUGGLE

* Russia is trying to split Ukraine in two to create a Moscow-controlled region after failing to take over the whole country, the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence service said.

* The Russian-backed eastern Ukrainian rebel region of Luhansk said it could hold a referendum on joining Russia, warning Kyiv that such a vote had no legal basis and would spark a stronger international response.

* Russia continued its “full-scale armed aggression” while Ukrainian forces repelled seven attacks in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said.

TALKS AND DIPLOMACY

* The next round of face-to-face talks between Ukraine and Russia will take place in Turkey on March 28-30, Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamia said on social media.

* Senior American officials said the United States had no regime-change policy in Russia, and stepped up efforts to clarify President Joe Biden’s statement that Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power.”

* French President Emmanuel Macron called for restraint in words and deeds in dealing with the Ukraine conflict after Biden’s comments.

* Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told Russian President Vladimir Putin that a ceasefire and better humanitarian conditions were needed in Ukraine after Moscow’s invasion.

civilians

* The United Nations Human Rights Office said 1,119 civilians have been killed and 1,790 injured since Russia’s attack on Ukraine began.

* Ukraine has asked the International Committee of the Red Cross not to open a planned office in Russia’s Rostov-on-Don because doing so would legitimize Moscow’s “humanitarian corridors” and the kidnapping and forced deportation of Ukrainians from the Greek Catholic Church in Lviv to take Ukrainian soldiers to bury.

QUOTES

* “More than a month has passed since the invasion of Ukraine, since the beginning of this cruel and senseless war which, like any war, is a defeat for everyone, for all of us,” Pope Francis told thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square for his Sunday blessing.

(Compiled by Frances Kerry)

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Bobby Allyn

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