At the end of March, hope shone over the Bosphorus. In Istanbul, for the first time, concrete results were achieved in the talks between Russia and Ukraine. The Russians have promised to withdraw from the regions around Kiev, Ukraine said the status of Crimea and Donbas could be discussed.
Two weeks later, there seems to be little left of looking at something more, such as a possible truce. Russian President Putin even said today that negotiations are at a dead end. According to Putin, Ukraine does not abide by the Istanbul agreements. Ukrainian negotiator Mikhail Podoljak was somewhat less pessimistic. According to him, the talks are difficult, but they still go through various subgroups.
There is almost no more speech, says defense expert Bob Deen van Clingendael. “Actually only at the operational level, such as the exchange of prisoners of war.”
The Russian soldiers around Kiev, Chernobyl and Chernihiv have indeed left, but the joy of their departure was quickly overshadowed by the atrocities that took place under Russian occupation. Countless citizens of Ukraine have been raped, maimed and killed in places such as Butsha and Stary Bykiv.
Butcher from Aleppo
Fighting intensified in the east of the country at that time. The Russian military continued to bomb civilian targets, such as the Kramatorsk railway station. The appointment of Alexander Dvornikov as commander-in-chief of Russian military operations in Ukraine does not bode well for the civilian population, given his reputation as a ‘Aleppo butcher’.
What is the situation on the battlefield in Ukraine? Bob Deen answers these and other questions from viewers: