Macron warns Putin of his “major mistake”, Ukraine and Russia agree on opening humanitarian corridorsReading Time: 2 minutes
French President Emmanuel Macron spoke to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin by telephone for one-and-a-half hours on Thursday. He told his Russian counterpart that he was making a “major mistake” by continuing his Ukraine offensive and that Moscow would remain isolated and under sanctions for a long time. Speaking to Reuters, an advisor to Macron who was in attendance on the call said that Putin stuck to his story that he was ridding Ukraine of Nazis, despite despite President Volodymr Zelensky having received 73 percent of the vote when he was elected in a 2019. Macron reportedly replied to Putin, “You are lying to yourself.”
Meanwhile, Russian and Ukrainian delegations held a second round of discussions on Thursday in Belarus, where they agreed to open humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians. Supplies of food and medicine will also be sent to those in fierce conflict zones. Russian presidential aide Vladimir Medinsky said “major progress” had been accomplished, commenting, “the main issue that we resolved today is the issue of saving people, civilians who found themselves in the zone of military clashes”. The UN said on Thursday that 1 million refugees had fled Ukraine.
The city of Kherson on Ukraine’s southern coast fell to Russian forces, while Mariupol, a strategic port city, endured shelling and was under the threat of a blockade on Thursday, according to the city’s mayor. Thirty three people were killed in Russian air raids on Ukraine’s northern Chernihiv region.
In a televised speech on Thursday, President Putin reported that the invasion of Ukraine was proceeding as intended. Claiming that Russia’s war was with “neo-Nazis”, he said that the “special military operation is going strictly according to schedule, according to plan”.
Romania Journal writes that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made an appeal to the West for increased military support – either instating a no-fly zone over Ukraine, or supplying the country’s air force with planse – and had an ominous prediction for Europe if his country is defeated by Russia. He told reporters, “If we disappear – God forbid – Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, etc. will follow. Until the Berlin Wall, believe me!”
Lithuania has allocated EUR 4 million in funds to help those displaced by the war, according to Baltic News Network, which describes the outpouring of efforts by both the government and everyday Lithuanians to accommodate refugees, like providing healthcare, food rations and the right to stay and work in the country.
Al Jazeera reports that Hungary said on Thursday it would not veto EU sanctions on Russia. Prime Minister Viktor Orban told a Hungarian news site that a new situation had emerged from Russia’s invasion despite his country’s “balanced and fair” relations with Moscow, with whom he would maintain energy ties.
Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca met his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki on Thursday in Warsaw, where the two condemned the illegal aggression of Russian armed forces in Ukraine, discussed how to deal with incoming refugees from the country, and expressed their support for the EU accession for Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, according to Nine O’ Clock.