No confidence in negotiations
Zelensky: The fall of Mariupol will mean the end of peace talks
4/16/2022 at 7:53 PM
Few of the defenders still held out against the Russian forces in the besieged Mariupol. President Zelensky said that if Ukraine loses the port city, peace talks with Moscow will not be able to continue.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has threatened to end talks with Moscow if Russia “overthrows” the last Ukrainian forces in the hotly contested port city of Mariupol. It would be a “dead end” for both sides, Zelensky told the Ukrainska Pravda news website, because we are not negotiating about our lands or our people.
Mariupol has been under siege since the first days after the Russian invasion on February 24. The city, which once had a population of over 400,000, is now largely destroyed and the humanitarian situation is catastrophic. Silinsky recently spoke of “tens of thousands” of deaths in the siege. He accused Russia again on Saturday of not allowing escape lanes.
The Defense Ministry in Moscow said midweek that Russian forces had taken full control of the port of Mariupol. The ministry added that Ukrainian forces were surrounded and “deprived of the opportunity to escape”. The situation is “extremely difficult,” Silinsky said. “Frankly, we have no confidence in the Mariupol negotiations.”
Mariupol is located about 55 kilometers from the Russian border and 85 kilometers from the separatist stronghold in Donetsk. It is the largest city between Russia’s annexed Crimea and pro-Russian separatist regions. With the capture of the port city, Russian forces would establish a land link between the two regions and isolate Ukraine from the Sea of Azov.