Recep Tayyip Erdogan (centre) gives a speech as Russian (left) and Ukrainian delegates look on in Istanbul. AP
Gulf Today Report
Ukrainian and Russian negotiators held face-to-face talks in Istanbul on Tuesday as Ukraine resumed evacuations from territory occupied by Russian forces and clung on in the besieged city of Mariupol.
The talks were taking place with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in attendance and under the shadow of shock allegations that delegates were poisoned at a previous round of negotiations.
Erdogan called on the delegations to "put an end to this tragedy," saying both Russia and Ukraine both have "legitimate concerns" ahead of the meeting at the Dolmabahce Palace.
It is now more than a month since Russian President Vladimir Putin's tanks rolled into Ukraine, hoping to cripple or oust the democratic government in Kyiv.
The fighting has already forced more than 10 million from their homes and according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has killed an estimated 20,000 people.
More than 3.8 million have fled abroad, thousands have been killed and injured in the Ukraine-Russia war.
Ahead of the talks, to be held in Istanbul, the Ukrainian president said his country is prepared to declare its neutrality, as Moscow has demanded, and is open to compromise on the fate of the Donbas, the contested region in the country’s east.
As fighting raged throughout the country, the mayor of Irpin, which has been the scene of some of the heaviest fighting, said that the city had been "liberated” from Russian forces.
More than a month into the war, the biggest attack on a European nation since World War Two, more than 3.8 million people have fled abroad, thousands have been killed and injured, and Russia's economy has been pummelled by sanctions.
In the besieged southern port city of Mariupol nearly 5,000 people have been killed, including about 210 children, according to figures from the mayor. Reuters was unable to immediately verify the numbers.
In the besieged southern port city of Mariupol nearly 5,000 people have been killed.
Survivors have told harrowing tales of people dying from lack of medical treatment, bodies being buried wherever space could be found, and women giving birth in basements.
Ukrainian forces retook Irpin, northwest of Kyiv, from Russian troops, who were regrouping to take the area back, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said late Monday as he sought to rally the country.
"We still have to fight, we have to endure,” Zelenskyy said in his nighttime video address to the nation. "We can’t express our emotions now. We can’t raise expectations, simply so that we don’t burn out.”
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said of the talks in Turkey: "We are not trading people, land or sovereignty."
"The minimum programme will be humanitarian questions, and the maximum programme is reaching an agreement on a ceasefire," he said on national television.
The two nations planned to return Wednesday to talks that could produce a framework for ending the war that has imposed an increasingly punishing toll.
At least 100,000 people want to leave city: Deputy PM; Ukraine also appealed to Russia to allow humanitarian supplies into Mariupol and let desperate civilians out of the besieged city.
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The Ambassador of the UAE, Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Salem Al Zaabi, called on Pakistan Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Friday.
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The October’s new price of a litre of Super 98 petrol will be sold at Dhs 3.03 per litre in all fuel stations.