Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a strong warning against the mere possibility of a no-fly zone being decreed over Ukraine as a way of trying to stop Russia. “Any movement in that direction will be considered by us as participation in the armed conflict,” assured the president, who has threatened “any state” from which it is carried out. For days, the Ukrainian president, Volodímir Zelenski, has been calling on NATO to impose this measure, but for now, the alliance has ruled it out.
The Government will expressly accommodate Ukrainian refugees who need it without requiring them to request protection first
The organization wants to avoid a military escalation and assumes that doing so would mean going to war with Russian planes, which would be “more dangerous and devastating,” Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg justified on Friday. Less than 24 hours later, Putin has pointed out the countries from which, in theory, the exclusion zone could materialize: “Doing it is impossible from Ukraine’s own territory, it can only be done from some neighboring states,” the president added. Russian, for which, in that case, they would be considered as involved in the war.
Zelensky, for his part, continues to demand greater support from the West to defend the country against Russian troops and maintains his request for an exclusion zone. The Ukrainian president considers that the argument to avoid direct confrontation between NATO and Russia is “a narrative” created by the alliance, which he has criticized for making the decision “knowing that new attacks and victims” in Ukraine “are inevitable “.
The frustrated humanitarian corridors
The tenth day after the invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops has also been marked by the attempt to establish humanitarian corridors in Mariupol and Volnovakha. The first safe routes agreed to try to evacuate civilians have not become a reality and have been paralyzed. The population of both cities should have been able to escape the siege during a five-hour window, Moscow announced earlier this Saturday, but the Ukrainian authorities have accused Russia of not respecting the agreed ceasefire.
The population had already been notified and when “we were ready to leave,” in the words of the Mariupol City Council, the Russian troops “began to bombard” points along the established route. The Russian authorities have accused Ukraine with different versions of preventing evacuations and not letting citizens out, but a few hours later they have taken the opportunity to resume the offensive against both cities in the south of the country, which Russia wants to take because they are key to control of the Ukrainian outlet to the sea. Countries like the UK have accused the Kremlin of diverting attention with the announcement of the humanitarian corridors and using it to “reset positions”.
“Because the Russian side does not respect the truce and continues to bombard both Mariupol itself and its surroundings, for security reasons, the evacuation of the population is postponed,” said the council, which has asked the inhabitants of the city “as far as possible, stay calm and not panic”. The forecasts of the Zelensky government were that some 215,000 people would leave both cities, which have been besieged by Russian troops and in which citizens are experiencing a critical situation. They barely have water and are without electricity, heating or a mobile phone network, as reported by Doctors Without Borders.
The Red Cross, in charge of facilitating the corridors, has demanded that safe routes be put in place to allow citizens to leave before the siege of the cities, where the humanitarian organization is seeing “heartbreaking images.” In total, the UN has raised the number of civilian deaths in Ukraine to 351 since the invasion of Russian troops.
Both countries had agreed last Thursday to establish these safe temporary steps after holding two negotiating tables. After the frustrated evacuations on Saturday and before Russia resumed its attack on Mariupol and Volnovakha, the Ukrainian authorities assured that talks to reactivate the corridors were underway. After 6:00 p.m. Spanish time, Russia announced that it was resuming its offensive in both cities.
Ukraine announces a third round of negotiations
The leader of the Ukrainian negotiating team in the talks with Russia, David Arakhamiya, has announced that on Monday there will be a third round of dialogue to seek a solution to the conflict, although the Russian government has not been so blunt about it and has limited that date to a mere possibility.
If the meeting is definitively confirmed, it would be the third meeting between the delegations of the two countries since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. During the last meeting, this Thursday, both parties agreed to establish humanitarian corridors so that Ukrainian civilians could flee safely from the combat zones, specifically in Mariúpol and Volnojaba.
In parallel, the Israeli Prime Minister, Naftalí Bennett, has acted as improvised moderator between both Executives this Saturday. In the first place, it has transpired that he secretly traveled this afternoon to Moscow, where he held a meeting with Putin for almost three hours. After that meeting, Bennet telephoned Zelenski to deepen the mediation and finally plans to meet with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Israel’s role in this conflict is interesting since it maintains good relations with both countries. Israel maintains close coordination with Russia since the beginning of hostilities in Syria to bomb positions of pro-Iranian forces that have been maintained these days since the start of the war in Ukraine, something that for the Jewish State is a priority on its foreign agenda, according to EFE reports. In addition, some 1.2 million Jews from the former USSR live in Israel, most of them from Russia and Ukraine; countries where there are also important Jewish communities that the Israeli government did not want to harm by taking a clear position against the invasion.
Zelensky himself told Bennett last weekend in another phone call that he trusted Israel’s mediating role and even proposed a summit in Jerusalem, although Putin apparently rejected that option by opting for talks in Belarus.
Protests in Kherson
The offensive continues on different fronts and the Russian troops try to advance through different points in the south of the country, in addition to taking control of the capital, Kiev, or cities such as Kharkov. The Russian Ministry of Defense announced a few days ago that they are already occupying the city of Kherson, very close to Crimea, the peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014, and Odessa, a key place for Putin. Despite this, thousands of citizens have taken to the streets to protest against the invasion, with Ukrainian flags in hand. “The fact that Russian troops are in the city does not mean that the city is occupied,” Ukrainian journalist Nataliya Gumenyuk wrote on Twitter.