The foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine met in Turkey this morning, marking the highest-level contact between the two countries since the war began – but no agreement to end hostilities was reached. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the Russian onslaught will continue following the failed third-round of peace talks between the two nations. Kuleba met with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov with the hope of negotiating a ceasefire but admitted prior to the meeting that his expectations were “low”. Turkish foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu sat at the head of the table during the talks.
Three deaths, including a child, in children’s hospital raid
Three people, including a child, were killed in yesterday’s attack by Russian forces against the Mariupol pediatric hospital, Ukrainian authorities have announced. But Lavrov claimed Ukraine forces established camp in the area and no patients were among the dead, blaming the “Western media” for presenting a Ukrainian point of view. After meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Warsaw, US Vice President Kamala Harris condemned the attack on the Mariupol maternity hospital, as “an act of violence, unprovoked, unjustified”.
UK imposes asset freezes on Roman Abramovich
Britain has imposed asset freezes on Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich and Igor Sechin, the chief executive of Russian oil group Rosneft, together with five other Russian oligarchs. In total Britain said the seven figures added to the sanctions list because of their connections to Russian President Vladimir Putin had a collective net worth of £15 billion (€18 billion). British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, “There can be no safe havens for those who have supported Putin’s vicious assault on Ukraine.”
Eni suspends oil purchase contracts from Russia
Eni, the Italian multinational oil and gas company headquartered in Rome, has suspended the signing of new contracts relating to the procurement of crude oil or petroleum products from Russia. Aspokesman for the oil group said Eni will operate in full compliance with the provisions of European and national institutions.
Oil: WTI above $110, Brent to $113.63 dollars
The start of the day again saw the rise for oil prices, after yesterday’s sharp decline thanks to the confidence in a possible positive outcome of the negotiations to stop the war in Ukraine and the announcement of the UAE Emirates intent to push OPEC to increase production. WTI crude oil gained 1.39% to $110.21 a barrel, North Sea Brent oil rose 2.24% to $113.63.
Gold, Palladium, silver platinum down sharply
Gold prices were in sharp decline on Asian markets after the flare-up that had pruned prices to the highest levels since August 2020: an ingot with immediate delivery drops 0.6% to $1,980 an ounce.Palladium also fell sharply, losing 1% and prices also fell for silver and platinum.
Ukrainian war situation
On the fourteenth day of the war, Russian troops seem to have intensified the offensive around Kiev and resumed the initiative in the direction of Zaporizhzhya. Francesco Russo of the nItalian news agency Agi, reports:
The bombing went further and further west, hitting the Zhytomyr region. The military exercises announced by the Russian Defence in Transnistria, where Moscow has a contingent of about 1,500 men, some of whom could be used to attack Odessa from the west, raise questions. Information regarding the situation on the ground is often impossible to verify and comes mainly from Ukrainian regional administrations and Western intelligence sources. However, reports from Russian sources on the latest developments in hostilities are not available at the moment.
During the night, the Russian troops tried to enter Irpin, a suburb west of the capital, but, according to the Ukrainian defence, they were rejected. East of Kiev, Boryspil was hit by a missile attack which left some people injured.
Kherson and Mykolaiv
In Kherson, occupied by the Russians, the situation appears calm. From the city in the northwest of Crimea some battalions are moving in the direction of Mykolaiv, even further to the northeast. It is not clear whether the Russians intend to attack the city or circumvent it to the north, cross the Bug River and aim directly at Odessa. It is not excluded that the Russian forces split in both directions, an option that would slow down the advance.
The Zhytomyr region, west of Kiev, was hit by air raids. In the city of Malyn, according to Ukrainian sources, residential areas were hit and nine civilians were killed.
Air-raid alarms sounded steadily in the cities of Chernihiv, Nizhyn, Oster and Desna. Fights between Ukrainian and Russian forces have been reported on the outskirts of the capital of the oblast.
Russian troops are reorganizing to try to take the city of Zaporizhzhya, in the direction of which, according to British intelligence, an infantry contingent is moving. The Ukrainian army claims that the advance is slow and the morale of the Moscow troops is low. It seems plausible that the Russians are taking time to wait for the rehabilitation of the Melitopol airport, which would allow for air support.
There were no new offensives by Russian troops against the second Ukrainian city and only one air strike was reported in the night. Fights in Izyum.
The president of the Sumy region, Dmytro Zhyvytskyy, reported that during the night the Russians launched airstrikes on the capital city of Oblast, killing 22 civilians including three children. Other air strikes have been reported on the city of Okhtyrka, further south.
The situation in the region, the destination of the convoys of civilians evacuated from Sumy, appears calm.
The Ukrainian defense reported heavy Russian bombing of Severodonetsk. Rubizhne and Kreminna also hit.
Forces continue to pour in from Crimea and Donbass for the siege of Mariupol, where hundreds of thousands of civilians remain trapped without food, water or medicine. Kiev accuses the Russian air force of hitting a Red Cross building. Ukrainian forces also denounce “bad conditions” in Volnovakha, north of Mariupol, where fighting for control of the city is underway.