The Ukraine President has decisions to make….
He is doing them away from the media….
Putin is pushing harder with attacks in place’s his forces left untouched….
The secretive rounds of meetings between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators could hold the key to ending the conflict but also carry broader implications for European security depending on how the warring parties settle their differences. If Russian President Vladimir Putin can use military force to compel political change in Ukraine, he could use the same tactic elsewhere, U.S. and European officials fear.
The prospects of a near-term deal look bleak, diplomats say, but mixed signals from Zelensky about how close he is to striking an agreement have only heightened anxiety about the trajectory of the negotiations….
As the battle for the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol has moved into the center of the city, with tank battles raging on Saturday after weeks of devastating missile barrages, the United Nations estimates that one in five people in Ukraine have been internally displaced or have fled the country since Russia’s invasion began.
The speed at which the humanitarian catastrophe has spread reflects the vast destruction unleashed by Russian forces on civilian targets. In Mariupol, which has held out for weeks amid such a brutal assault, an adviser to the Ukrainian president said on Friday, “There is no chance for lifting the siege of Mariupol.”
If it falls, it would be one of the few major cities to be taken by the Russians and would give their forces control of a swath of Ukraine’s southern coastline. As the fighting intensified, an Ukrainian official in Mariupol accused Russian forces of taking thousands of Ukrainians against their will across the border into Russia, and a desperate race continued in the hopes of rescuing any survivors entombed for a third night in the ruins of a theater-turned-shelter.
After days of a slowed offensive, Russian forces had success hitting military targets in recent days. On Thursday, a Russian rocket attack on a Ukrainian military barracks in Mykolaiv killed more than 40 soldiers, according to a senior Ukrainian military official. (The strike was only recently announced.) And on Saturday the Russians said they had hit a weapons depot in the west of Ukraine, and the Ukrainians confirmed the strike.
Still, the Ukrainians say they are pressing to take advantage of the slowed Russian ground offensive on multiple fronts. Ukraine’s Army claimed to have taken back towns and villages around Kherson, one of the first cities to fall to Russian forces. And to the west, the defense of the strategic city of Mykolaiv continued to hold, preventing a Russian advance on another key port city, Odessa.
Here are the latest developments:
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine called publicly on Saturday for direct negotiations with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, but a senior Turkish official said that Mr. Putin was not ready for such talks.
Around Kyiv — Ukraine’s capital, a key target of the Russian offensive — new satellite imagery appeared to show Russian artillery establishing defensive positions, digging in for a long fight.
Russia said its forces had used advanced hypersonic missiles to destroy a military munitions depot in the west, but military experts have questioned whether Russia has such missiles ready to use in combat.
Ukrainian celebrities killed in the Russian invasion add an extra dimension to the country’s shock and anguish over the war.
People in the city of Lviv in western Ukraine placed 109 colorful, empty strollers on a public square to symbolize children killed in Russian bombardments….