The latest developments on the Russia-Ukraine war:
ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says the foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine will meet near the Turkish Mediterranean coastal city of Antalya this week.
Cavusoglu said Monday he would also take part in the meeting between Russia’s Sergey Lavrov and Dmytro Kuleba of Ukraine, which would be in a “trilateral format.”
The meeting will take place on the sidelines of an international diplomacy forum in Antalya this week.
Turkey, which has close ties to both Russia and Ukraine has sought to place itself as a mediator between the warring sides.
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican says two cardinals dispatched by Pope Francis to promote peace will visit refugee centers in Poland and Hungary before going to war-ravaged Ukraine.
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In the first details of the mission announced by Pope Francis on Sunday, the Vatican said Monday that both prelates will press the pontiff’s oft-repeated cry that war is folly.
Cardinal Michael Czerny will arrive in Hungary on Tuesday. There, he will “raise concern that African and Asian residents in Ukraine, also suffering fear and displacement, be allowed to seek refuge without discrimination.”
Czerny also will highlight “the sad similarity between the Ukrainians’ sufferings and the protracted conflicts that no longer attract the world’s attention,” the Vatican said, citing the pope’s frequent denunciation of suffering in wars in Yemen, Syria and Ethiopia.
Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, a Pole, traveled to the Polish-Ukrainian border on Monday, where he will initially meet with refugees and volunteers in shelters and homes.
GENEVA — A top official with the International Committee of the Red Cross says one of its teams attempting to lead a group of civilians out of the embattled port city of Mariupol discovered that the road they were to take out was mined — a “hugely dangerous situation.”
Dominik Stillhart, ICRC’s director of operations, said the incident underpinned calls from the humanitarian group for the fighting sides to “agree on the details for safe civilian passage, including what time, exactly what road, who can leave, and if medical supplies can come in.”
“Without this kind of agreement the situation is extremely perilous for civilians,” Stillhart said.
ICRC has been working to help facilitate the evacuation of civilians from Mariupol, after a second attempt failed Sunday to start evacuating an estimated 200,000 people out of the city.
GENEVA — The United Nations’ refugee agency says the number of people who have fled the war in Ukraine has increased to more than 1.7 million.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees on Monday put the number of people who have arrived in other countries since the Russian invasion started on Feb. 24 at some 1.735 million. That’s up from more than 1.53 million on Sunday.
Nearly three-fifths of the total – nearly 1.03 million — arrived in Poland, according to the agency. Over 180,000 went to Hungary and 128,000 to Slovakia.
In Montpellier, France, EU foreign affairs policy chief Josep Borrell called on mobilizing “all the resources” of the bloc of 27 nations to help countries welcoming refugees from Ukraine, including neighboring Poland and Romania. Borrell spoke ahead of a meeting of development ministers of the EU.
LVIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called Monday for a global boycott of all Russian products – including oil.
“If the invasion continues and Russia does not abandon its plans against Ukraine, then we need a new sanctions package,” Zelensky said in a video address Monday, including “a boycott of Russian exports, in particular, the rejection of oil and oil products from Russia.”
“The international community must act even more decisively.”
He also said that Russia should also not receive goods and services from abroad “if (Russia) doesn’t want to abide by civilized rules.” “It can be called an embargo, or it can be just morality,” Zelensky said.
“Let the war feed them,” Zelensky said. “When someone loses his mind, you need to lose fear and forget about commerce.”
SEOUL, South Korea – South Korea says it will end transactions with Russia’s central bank and two sovereign wealth funds as it lends further support to a U.S.-led economic pressure campaign against Moscow over an escalating invasion of Ukraine.
South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said Monday the Seoul government will prohibit financial transactions with the Russian central bank, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation and the Russian Direct Investment Fund starting Tuesday.
South Korea will also stop transactions with Rossiya Bank, which is one of seven Russian banks the European Union is aiming to exclude from the SWIFT global payment system, the ministry said in a press release.
The ministry said exemptions could be given to certain transactions related to agricultural products, energy and pandemic supplies and that Seoul will apply the same licensing standards the United States is using in permitting such exchanges.
South Korean Defense Ministry spokesperson Boo Seung-Chan said during a briefing that South Korea was also reviewing the possibility of humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine, but that such assistance would not include weapons.
LVIV, Ukraine — A senior Ukrainian official on Monday rejected a Russian proposal to evacuate civilians from besieged Ukraine to Russia and Belarus.
“This is an unacceptable option for opening humanitarian corridors,” Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk said at a briefing.
According to the Russian proposal, the only options for civilians fleeing Kyiv and its suburbs would be to go to Gomel in neighboring Belarus. Civilians in Kharkiv and Sumy in eastern Ukraine would have to flee to the Russian city of Belgorod.
Belarus is a key ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and served as a launching ground for the invasion.
The Ukrainian government is proposing eight humanitarian corridors, including from the southern port of Mariupol, that would allow civilians to travel to the western regions of Ukraine, where there is no Russian shelling.
“We demand that the Russian Federation stop manipulating and abusing the trust of the leaders of France, China, Turkey and India,” Vereshchuk said
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — A representative for Kyiv urged the United Nations’ top court on Monday to order Russia to halt its devastating invasion of Ukraine, at a hearing snubbed by Russia.
Ukrainian representative Anton Korynevych told judges at the International Court of Justice: “Russia must be stopped and the court has a role to play in stopping it.”
Russia’s seats at the Great Hall of Justice in the court’s Peace Palace headquarters were empty for the hearing into Ukraine’s request for the court to order Moscow to end its attack.
BEIJING — China’s Foreign Minister on Monday called Russia Beijing’s “most important strategic partner,” amid its continued refusal to condemn the invasion of Ukraine.
Wang Yi told reporters ties with Moscow constituted “one of the most crucial bilateral relationships in the world,” adding “no matter how perilous the international landscape, we will maintain our strategic focus and promote the development of comprehensive China-Russia partnership in the new era.”
China has broken with the U.S., Europe and others that have imposed sanctions on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine. It says Washington is to blame for the conflict in Ukraine.
VILNIUS, Lithuania — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has begun a lightning visit to the three Baltic states that are increasingly on edge as they watch Russia press ahead with its invasion of Ukraine.
The former Soviet republics of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are all members of NATO and Blinken aims to reassure them of the alliance’s protection in the event Russia chooses to expand its military operations to other neighboring countries.
Memories of Soviet occupation are still fresh in the Baltics and since the invasion of Ukraine last month, NATO has moved quickly to boost its troop presence in its eastern flank allies while the U.S. has pledged additional support.
Blinken’s Baltic tour opened Monday in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, where support for Ukraine’s resistance to the invasion government is palpable with signs of solidarity with Ukrainians in many businesses and on public buildings and buses.
“Unfortunately, the worsening security situation in the Baltic region is of great concern for all of us and around the world,” Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda told Blinken. “Russia’s reckless aggression against Ukraine once again proves that it is a long-term threat to European security, the security of our alliance.”
Nauseda said that a policy of deterrence was no longer enough and that “forward defense” was now needed. He predicted that “Putin will not stop in Ukraine if he will not be stopped Putin. It is our collective duty as a nation to help all Ukrainians with all means available. By saying all, I mean, indeed all means, if we want to avoid the Third World War. The choice is in our hands.”
Later Monday, Blinken will travel to Riga, Latvia before visiting Tallinn, Estonia on Tuesday
LONDON — Britain’s defense ministry says Russian forces made little progress on the ground in recent days but appear to be targeting Ukraine’s communications infrastructure “in order to reduce Ukrainian citizens’ access to reliable news and information.”
The ministry said on social media that Russian forces “probably made minimal ground advances over the weekend.
It said a TV tower in Kharkiv was reportedly struck Sunday, suspending broadcasting output. A TV tower in Kyiv was hit March 1.
Britain said Ukrainian internet access is also highly likely being disrupted as a result of collateral damage from Russian strikes on infrastructure.
LVIV, Ukraine — Russia has announced a cease-fire and the opening of humanitarian corridors in several areas of Ukraine after two failed attempts to evacuate civilians from the city of Mariupol.
A Russian task force said a cease-fire would start Monday morning, the 12th day of the war, for civilians from Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, the southern port city of Mariupol, Kharkiv, the second-largest city, and Sumy. It wasn’t immediately clear if fighting would stop stop beyond the areas mentioned in the task force’s statement, or when the ceasefire would end.
Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian civilians attempting to flee to safety Sunday were forced to shelter from Russian shelling that pummeled cities in Ukraine’s center, north and south. Ukraine officials described a “catastrophic” situation during failed evacuation efforts in Kyiv’s suburbs.
Officials from both sides also planned a third round of talks Monday.
Russia and Ukraine have traded blame for the earlier failed evacuation attempts.
Evacuation routes published by Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency, citing the Defense Ministry, show that civilians will be able to leave to Russia and Belarus. Russian forces will be observing the ceasefire with drones, the task force said.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand’s government plans to rush through legislation that will allow it to impose economic sanctions against Russia over the invasion of Ukraine.
New Zealand’s existing laws don’t allow it to impose meaningful sanctions except as part of a broader United Nations effort. That has left New Zealand hamstrung since Russia has U.N. Security Council veto power.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday the new legislation would allow New Zealand to target people, companies and assets associated with the invasion, including Russian oligarchs. New Zealand also could freeze assets and stop superyachts or planes from arriving.
The Russia Sanctions Bill is scheduled to be heard by lawmakers on Wednesday and could pass as quickly as the same day.
LVIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said more than 20,000 people from 52 countries have already volunteered to fight in Ukraine, where they will serve in a newly created international legion. He did not say how many of the foreign volunteers have arrived in Ukraine.
“The whole world today is on Ukraine’s side not only in words but in deeds,” Kuleba said on Ukrainian television Sunday night.
He did not name the home countries of the volunteers, saying that some of them forbid their citizens from fighting for other countries.
Kuleba also urged Ukrainians living in other countries to begin a campaign to push for Ukraine’s membership in the European Union.
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