KYIV/MOSCOW: Russian artillery bombarded residential districts of Ukraine’s second largest city Kharkiv on Monday, killing possibly dozens of people, Ukrainian officials said, as Moscow’s invading forces met stiff resistance on a fifth day of conflict.
The attacks took place while Russian and Ukrainian officials met on the Belarusian border to discuss a ceasefire. Ukraine demanded the retreat of all Russian forces from its territory. The talks ended with no breakthrough and a second round is being planned. Russian President Vladimir Putin told his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, on Monday that the demilitarisation of Ukraine and Western recognition of Russian sovereignty over the Crimean peninsula were prerequisites to ending the fighting, the Kremlin said, even as he dismissed the West as an “empire of lies”.
Belarusian foreign minister Vladimir Makei was reported as saying that the Ukrainian & Russian delegations plan to hold a meeting at the Belarusian-Polish border in a couple of days.
The talks took place even as fighting occurred throughout the night around the port city of Mariupol. Russian forces seized two small cities in southeastern Ukraine and the area around a nuclear power plant, according to the Interfax news agency. Capital Kyiv remained under Ukrainian government control, with President Volodymyr Zelensky encouraging his people.


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