Fate of Ukrainian soldiers unclear after evacuation from Mariupol; peace talks stall between Russia and Ukraine
The fate of more than 260 Ukrainian soldiers who have ended weeks of resistance at the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol remains unclear, after the fighters surrendered and were transferred to Russian-controlled territory. Ukraine’s deputy defence minister said they would be swapped in a prisoner exchange, but some Russian officials said they could be tried or even executed.
Eight people died and 12 were wounded after Russia launched a missile strike on the village of Desna in the northern Ukrainian region of Chernihiv, according to Ukraine’s state emergency service. The regional governor, Viacheslav Chaus, said Russia launched four missiles at about 5am local time on Tuesday. Two of the missiles hit buildings in the village, he said.
Peace talks between Russia and Ukraine have stalled, according to both sides. The Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak said negotiations with Russia had been suspended, blaming Moscow’s “stereotypical mindset”. Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Andrei Rudenko, said that virtually no peace talks were going on at the moment and blamed Ukraine for having “practically withdrawn” from the process.
France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, promised his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, that French arms deliveries to Kyiv would intensify in the coming days, the Élysée said. Zelenskiy said he had had a “long and meaningful” conversation with Macron.
The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said Russian forces may have sustained “impressive losses” since their invasion of Ukraine. He said: “If it is true that Russia has lost 15% of their troops since the beginning of the war, this is a world record of the losses of an army invading a country.” Borrell also said all EU member states would support Finland and Sweden in their applications to join Nato.
Finland’s parliament has overwhelmingly approved a government proposal to join Nato, a day after Sweden confirmed its intention to join the alliance. The Finnish president, Sauli Niinistö, said he was sure both countries would overcome Turkish opposition to their membership bids.
Niinistö and Sweden’s prime minister, Magdalena Andersson, will meet Joe Biden on Thursday, the White House said. The leaders are expected to discuss Finland and Sweden’s Nato applications, European security and support for Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion, it said.
Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, has said Finland and Sweden joining Nato would probably make “not much difference”. The two Nordic countries “have been participating in Nato military exercises for many years”, Lavrov said.
Vladimir Putin has said that by abandoning Russian energy supplies, Europe risks paying the most expensive energy prices in the world. Speaking at a meeting with domestic oil managers and government officials, Putin said it was impossible for some European countries to quickly ditch Russian oil.