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The war in Ukraine until noon on May 18: Negotiations stalled, the conflict entered a protracted phase

Negotiation between Ukraine and Russia continues to stall as Sweden and Finland prepare to apply for accession NATO.

The war in Ukraine until noon on May 18: Negotiations stalled, the conflict entered a protracted period - photo 1

Ukrainian soldiers on a bus arrive at the detention center after being taken from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol on May 17.


Negotiations at an impasse

Officials Ukraine and Russia On May 17, peace talks between the two countries had stalled, and blamed the other for this.

Reuters reported Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speak American, British and EU want to use Kyiv to their strategic advantage. The diplomat also said he believes no peace agreement can be reached if negotiators try to “redirect the dialogue” to focus on what the West has to say rather than the immediate situation in Ukraine. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko also said on May 17 that Ukraine “actually withdrew from the negotiation process”.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s presidential adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, confirmed that negotiations are “on hold” because Russia is not ready to accept that Moscow “won’t achieve any of its goals” and that the conflict will no longer unfold according to the plan. the way the Kremlin wants.

The conflict enters the protracted phase

Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said on May 17 that the country’s conflict with Russia is entering a “prolonged phase” as the Russian military is currently trying to take full control of eastern and southern Ukraine.

Reznikov also said that the Russian military is building fortifications in the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson provinces in order to “switch to the defense if necessary”. Ukraine’s defense minister also called on Ukraine’s Western allies to cooperate more in delivering weapons to Kyiv “to liberate our territories as soon as possible”.

See more: Ukraine’s defense minister: conflict is entering ‘prolonged phase’

Ambiguous fate of soldiers evacuated from Azovstal

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky The evening of May 17 said the evacuation at the Azovstol steel plant in Mariupol continued.

“Negotiation with Russia on the evacuation of our heroes from Azovstal still continue. Evacuation mission in progress. This operation is overseen by our military and intelligence officers. The most influential international mediators are involved,” Zelensky said.

The Ukrainian military announced late on May 16 that its forces had completed their “combat mission” at the Azovstal steel plant and that the wounded Ukrainian soldiers who had been trapped in the factory for weeks had begun to be evacuated. .

Russia said at least 256 Ukrainian soldiers had “lay down their weapons and surrendered”, of which 51 were seriously injured. Ukraine said 264 soldiers, including 53 wounded, had left the factory. These soldiers were sent to areas controlled by Russia or the separatists.

The Russian Defense Ministry’s video shows Ukrainian soldiers getting out, some carried on stretchers and others with their hands raised to be searched by Russian troops.

According to Reuters, the fate of the soldiers in Azovstal is still very unclear. Although both sides are talking about an agreement under which all Ukrainian troops will give up the Azovstal steel plant, many details have not been made public. These details include how many soldiers are still inside and whether the two sides have agreed to any form of prisoner swap.

Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin has personally assured the prisoners will be treated according to international standards, and Ukrainian officials say the soldiers could participate in a prisoner exchange with Russia.

Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Iryna Vereshchuk said Kyiv wants to arrange a prisoner swap for the wounded soldiers when their condition is stable.

However, Russia’s Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Dmitry Polyansky stated that there was no agreement between the two sides and that the Ukrainian soldiers had surrendered unconditionally.

TASS news agency also reported that a Russian commission planned to question soldiers, many of whom are members of the Azov Battalion, in an investigation into what Moscow called “crimes of the regime” Ukrainian degree”.

Senior Russian parliamentarians, such as State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin, have spoken out against the prisoner exchange. MP Leonid Slutsky, one of the Russian negotiators engaged in negotiations with Ukraine, also said that Ukrainian soldiers should be executed.

The Ukrainian side has not commented on the new information.

Finland, Sweden are about to apply for NATO

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson at a joint press conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto in Stockholm on May 17 announced that Sweden and Finland will apply to join. NATO on May 18th.

Mr. Niinisto said that if the US quickly approved Finland and Sweden’s applications to join NATO, the whole process would go faster. President Niinisto and Prime Minister Andersson are scheduled to meet the US President Joe Biden in Washington DC on May 19.

See more: Sweden and Finland today apply to join NATO

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