Next round of Russia-Ukraine talks to take place on Monday

TEHRAN, Mar. 05 (MNA) – On the 10th day of the Russian special military operation in Ukraine, the Russian army blockaded the port city of Mariupol, and Ukrainian President Zelensky said if Ukraine falls, the whole of Europe would fall.

On March 4, the Russian military had taken control of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant - Europe's largest - after a fierce gun battle. Ukraine's State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate (SNRIU) issued a statement that during the takeover, the nuclear plant caught fire, posing as a massive hazard. 

Addressing a press conference, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi confirmed that while the physical integrity of the plant had been compromised, there had been no radioactive leak.

Meanwhile, amid Russia saying that Ukraine's President has left the country, Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the media on Friday. Beginning the address by taking a minute to thank the people of Europe, Zelensky underlined how they came out on the streets in support of Ukraine. 

Here are all the latest updates:

Erdogan tells Putin that Zelensky intends to meet Russian President in Ankara: Turkish President’s representative

"During the phone talks of Volodymyr Zelensky and Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday, Zelensky said that he is ready to meet with Vladimir Putin in Istanbul, Ankara, wherever the Russian leader wants," Kalin said, quoted by Turkish broadcaster TRT. Kalin noted that Erdogan had informed Putin about Zelenskyy's offer.

Talks to resume on Monday: Ukraine negotiator

Russia and Ukraine on Monday will hold a third round of talks to try end the crisis, Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamiya said in a Facebook post, without providing further details.

More than 350 civilians confirmed killed in Ukraine: UN

At least 351 civilians are confirmed to have been killed in Ukraine, a United Nations monitoring mission said.

Many of the civilian casualties were due to explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multi-launch rocket systems, and from missile and air strikes, monitors from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) revealed.

“OHCHR believes that the real figures are considerably higher, especially in Government-controlled territory and especially in recent days, as the receipt of information from some locations where intensive hostilities have been going on was delayed and many reports were still pending corroboration,” it said.

Anti-Russia sanctions akin to declaration of war: Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the decision to start the special operation in Ukraine was not an easy one, but stressed that Moscow tried to resolve the Donbass conflict peacefully.

He said that Kyiv should have allowed the people of Donbass to speak Russian freely and live according to their own wishes, but instead, Ukrainian authorities organised a blockade of the region.

Putin said that the countries' decision to implement anti-Russia sanctions was "akin to a declaration of war".

"A lot of what is happening, from what we are now seeing and what we are facing, is certainly a way to fight against Russia", Putin said.

Plumes of smoke seen in Mariupol as blasts heard near city

A Sputnik correspondent has said that plumes of smoke are being seen in Mariupol as multiple explosions were heard near the city earlier on Saturday. 

According to the Sputnik correspondent, the blasts took place in the city at 13:00 Moscow time (10:00 GMT).

The reported development comes after Russia declared a temporary ceasefire in Ukraine as of 7:00 GMT on Saturday to help evacuate civilians from Mariupol and the city of Volnovakha.

Anti-Russia sanctions akin to declaration of war: Putin

Zelensky trying to provoke conflict between NATO, Russia

Volodymyr Zelensky is trying to provoke a conflict between Russia and NATO, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Saturday, according to Sputnik. 

According to Lavrov, by expressing his disappointment with the bloc's refusal to intervene, Zelensky is demonstrating his desire to drag NATO into the conflict.

"The constant embittered statements by Mr Zelensky do not add optimism", Lavrov noted. "He was a little rude to his curators, accusing them of inaction. And I have a question: if he was so upset that NATO did not stand up for him, as he hoped, then he still hoped for a settlement of the conflict by involving NATO in this whole story, and not through negotiations ... It turns out that he still wants to provoke a conflict".

The date for the next round of negotiations between Russia and Ukraine has not been settled yet, the Russian foreign minister said, pointing at the reluctance of the Ukrainian side to engage.

Ukraine preventing evacuation from Volnovakha: Russian Media

While Ukraine accused Russian troops of breaking a ceasefire in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, Moscow says Ukrainian militants preventing evacuation of civilians from Volnovakha, Russian media reported. 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also said that Ukrainian forces not allowing Russia to evacuate foreign students from Kharkiv.

Ukrainian authorities postpone civilian evacuations from Mariupol

Mariupol officials claim they are delaying the evacuation of civilians, accusing Russian troops of breaking the ceasefire.

“Due to the fact that the Russian side does not adhere to the ceasefire and has continued shelling both of Mariupol itself and its environs and for security reasons, the evacuation of the civilian population has been postponed,” city officials claimed in a statement on social media.

There was no immediate comment by the Russian army.

Zelensky trying to provoke conflict bet. NATO, Russia: Lavrov

Further course of talks with Russia to be decided after evacuation, says Zelensky 

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has said that it will be possible to decide on the further course of talks with Russia only after the evacuation of civilians on March 5.

"We are doing our best to make this agreement work. This is one of the main tasks for today. Let’s see if we can go further in the negotiation process," Zelensky said in a video message on his Telegram channel on Saturday.

Erdogan expects to hold talks with Putin on March 6

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expects to hold telephone talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on March 6.

"This war must be stopped immediately, it is necessary to sit down at the negotiating table. Our president is conducting very intensive diplomacy. Our president will have talks with Putin tomorrow," Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on the air of the N-TV channel on Saturday.

According to Kalin, Erdogan intends to once again propose Turkey as a platform for negotiations between Russia and Ukraine during the upcoming talks.

Zelensky trying to provoke conflict bet. NATO, Russia: Lavrov

Embargo on Russian oil could hit global energy markets hard: Kremlin

According to the Kremlin's spokesman, Russia has been watching the situation on international energy markets closely.

A possible embargo on Russian oil could hit global energy markets hard, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

"This is an issue we have been watching very closely. Of course, this situation could alter international energy markets dramatically, this can't but have quite serious consequences", the spokesman said.

Embargo on Russia oil could hit global energy markets: Moscow

Over 2,000 Ukrainian military facilities destroyed during operation: defense ministry

The Russian Armed Forces hit a total of 2,037 military infrastructure facilities during the special operation in Ukraine, Defense Ministry’s official representative, Major General Igor Konashenkov said on Saturday, according to TASS. 

"Overall, some 2,037 Ukraine’s military infrastructure facilities were hit during the operation. They included 71 command posts and communication centers of the Kyiv forces; S-300, Buk and 9K33 Osa missile systems as well as 61 radar stations," Konashenkov noted.

According to the defense ministry’s official representative, some 66 aircraft were hit on the ground and 16 aircraft - in the air, while as many as 708 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 74 multiple rocket launchers, 261 field artillery and mortars, 505 units of special military vehicles as well as 56 unmanned aerial vehicles were also destroyed.

Russia confirms third round of talks with Ukraine over weekend

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz over the phone late on Friday.

According to a statement by German Chancellory, the Russian President told his German counterpart that the third round of talks between Russia and Ukraine has been scheduled for this weekend. 

Zaporizhia nuclear power plant back under Ukrainian control: Kyiv independent

A day after Russian forces allegedly attacked and took control of Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine, a report claimed that the nuclear facility was back under Ukrainian control.

Illia Ponomarenko, a defence reporter at The Kyiv Independent, tweeted that the nuclear power plant - the largest in all of Europe - had been taken back by Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Russia has denied Ukraine's claim that it attacked the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

Embargo on Russia oil could hit global energy markets: Moscow

Russia declares ceasefire to open humanitarian corridors

Russia will allow a humanitarian corridor from 10:00 Moscow time, the defence ministry has said.

The corridor will be opened for residents of Ukraine’s Mariupol and Volnovakha, state-owned RIA news agency reported.

“Today, March 5, from 10 am Moscow time, the Russian side declares a regime of silence and opens humanitarian corridors for the exit of civilians from Mariupol and Volnovakha,” the ministry said.

Zelensky refutes allegations he has fled Ukraine, says he is still in Kyiv

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky posted a video on his official Instagram account on Friday, saying he is still in the capital Kyiv and has not fled the country. 

"Every two days information comes out that I have fled somewhere — fled from Ukraine, from Kyiv, from my office. As you can see, I am here in my place, Andriy Borisovich (Yermak) is here. Nobody has fled anywhere. Here, we are working," Zelensky said. 

Embargo on Russia oil could hit global energy markets: Moscow

More than 1.2 million refugees have left Ukraine: United Nations 

As of Thursday, more than 1.2 million refugees have left Ukraine since the Russian operation began on February 24, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Of the 1,209,976 refugees who have fled, more than half crossed into Poland.

Others went to other neighboring countries including Hungary, Slovakia, Moldova and Romania.

More than a million left within just the first week, and many more are “on the move both inside and outside the country,” with many internally displaced families, according to UNHCR.

Singapore imposes sanctions on Russia

Singapore has announced sanctions against Russia that include four banks and an export ban on electronics, computers and military items.

“We cannot accept the Russian government’s violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of another sovereign state,” its foreign ministry said in a statement, which gave no timeframe for when the sanctions would take effect.

Embargo on Russia oil could hit global energy markets: Moscow

Strategic Ukrainian port Mariupol 'blockaded' by Russian forces: mayor

Ukraine’s strategic port city of Mariupol is under a “blockade” by the Russian army, its mayor has said, calling for the establishment of a humanitarian corridor.

“For now, we are looking for solutions to humanitarian problems and all possible ways to get Mariupol out of the blockade,” said Vadim Boychenko in a message posted on Telegram.

Talks with Russia won’t go easily, Ukrainian presidential office advisor says

Both Ukraine and Russia have taken tough positions in talks so the negotiation process will not go easily, Advisor to the Ukrainian Presidential Office Mikhail Podolyak said at a briefing in Lvov.

"Russia’s stance is tough," he noted. "However, the position of the Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief and Ukraine, in general, is also tough, so talks will not go easily, but there will be talks," he pointed out.

According to Podolyak, Russia’s position is clear to Ukraine but the country’s President Vladimir Zelensky won’t make concessions "diminishing Ukraine’s fight for territorial integrity." The support of Western partners strengthens Kyiv’s position in talks, the Ukrainian official added.

Strategic Ukrainian port Mariupol ‘blockaded

Zelensky condemns NATO for ruling out Ukraine's no-fly zone

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky lashed NATO on Friday for ruling out a no-fly zone over his country.

“Knowing that new strikes and casualties are inevitable, NATO deliberately decided not to close the sky over Ukraine,” he said in a video published by the presidency.

“Today the leadership of the alliance gave the green light for the further bombing of Ukrainian cities and villages, refusing to make a no-fly zone.”

Ukraine's Zelensky to address US Senate

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will address the US Senate on Saturday, a US legislative aide said. Zelensky will speak to senators via Zoom in the morning Washington time at the request of Ukraine.

Embargo on Russia oil could hit global energy markets: Moscow

"If we will fall, you will fall so please don't be silent": Zelensky to Europe

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for solidarity in a message broadcast to thousands of people gathered in cities across Europe on Friday.

Zelensky in the speech said that if Ukraine fell, "Europe will not stand."

"If we will fall, you will fall so please don't be silent, do not turn the blind on eye on this," he added.

UNSC to hold meeting on humanitarian situation in Ukraine on Monday

Western countries have initiated a United Nations Security Council meeting on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine on March 7, a UN source told TASS.

"The meeting is scheduled for 3:00 pm on Monday," the source said.

Read all the updates from Thursday, March 4, here.


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