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CEASEFIRE: Putin Tells Ukraine to Stop Fighting Amid Calls

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Sunday that the invasion of Ukraine will only stop if Ukraine’s military “ceases hostilities and fulfills Russia’s well-known requirement,” according to a Kremlin statement.

“The readiness of the Russian side for dialogue with Ukrainian authorities and with foreign partners to resolve the conflict was confirmed,” the Kremlin quoted Putin as saying in a call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to state media.

In a call with his counterpart, Putin alleged Kyiv is stalling the negotiations process between the two countries and asserted that “the suspension of the special operation is possible only if Kyiv ceases hostilities and fulfills Russia’s well-known requirements” such as the “demilitarization” of Ukraine, according to the Kremlin statement.

Putin’s comments came after Erdogan called on the Russian leader to carry out “an urgent general ceasefire” to deal with mounting “humanitarian concerns in the region.”

Erdogan said that Turkey “stood ready to make all kinds of contributions for the Ukraine problem to be resolved as soon as possible by peaceful means,” according to a statement from his office.

Authorities in Mariupol had said on Sunday they would make a second attempt to evacuate some of the 400,000 residents, after the Ukrainian coastal city endured days of shelling that has trapped people in without heat, power, and water. But the ceasefire plan collapsed, as it had on Saturday, with each side blaming the other for the failure.

Kyiv renewed its appeal to the West to toughen sanctions beyond existing efforts that have hammered Russia’s economy. It also requested more weapons, including a plea for Russian-made planes, to help it repel Russian forces.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) wrote Sunday that evacuation attempts in certain Ukrainian areas, including in Mariupol, have failed.

The ICRC said on Twitter: “People are living in terror in Mariupol, desperate for safety. Today’s attempt to start evacuating an estimated 200,000 people has failed. The failed attempts underscore the absence of a detailed and functioning agreement between parties to the conflict.”

“People in Mariupol and in other places across Ukraine are living in desperate situations,” the ICRC continued to say. “They must be protected at all times. They are not a target. People urgently need water, food, shelter. The basics of life. We need safety guarantees to be able to bring them aid.”

Also on Sunday, the United Nations’ refugee agency confirmed that at least 1.5 million refugees from Ukraine have crossed into neighboring countries in recent days since the war started on Feb. 24.

U.N. refugee agency commissioner Filippo Grandi, in a Twitter post, noted that it is “the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.”

Written by Jack Phillips

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