Here are the top developments of the day on the Russia-Ukraine crisis:
- Russian President Vladimir Putin told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Monday that he is “willing” to commit to a ceasefire even as at least dozens of civilians were killed in Ukraine’s Kharkiv city following rocket strikes, reported The Guardian. Macron, who spoke to Putin upon the request of the Ukrainian government, also reiterated the demand to halt the Russian offensive, the French presidential office Élysée Palace said. Russia and Ukraine began negotiations on Monday. Macron asked Putin to ensure that while the talks were on, Russia should cease attacks on civilians, their homes and civilian infrastructure and leave roads safe for use.
- Filippo Grandi, the United Nations high commissioner for refugees, said on Monday that more than 5,00,000 people have fled from Ukraine into neighbouring countries. On Sunday, he had posted on Twitter that an estimated 3,68,000 refugees from Ukraine had crossed to Poland, Hungary, Romania, Moldova and other countries.
- Switzerland, in a departure from its “tradition of neutrality”, will adopt the sanctions imposed on Russia by the European Union, reports The Guardian. Switzerland’s President Ignazio Cassis said the country will freeze the assets of Putin, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov along with 367 others sanctioned by the European Union.
- Two towns in Ukraine’s southeastern region of Zaporizhzhya, Berdyansk and Enerhodar, and the area around a nuclear power plant have come under Russia’s control, its defence ministry claimed. While the Russian assault continued for the fifth day, Ukranian authorities said major urban centres had not been captured yet.
- Ukrainian President Zelenskiy has signed a request to join the European Union, reported Reuters. Zelenskiy said the official request seeks immediate membership to the European Union under a special procedure even as reports said that the next round of dialogue between the Russian and Ukrainian officials will be held on the Polish-Belarusian border.