Leaders of Poland, Czech Republic and Slovenia are traveling to Kyiv on a European Union mission Tuesday to show support for Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told Russian troops in an online video early Tuesday that they can surrender and will be treated “decently.”
“Europe must guarantee Ukraine’s independence and ensure that it is ready to help in Ukraine’s reconstruction,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in a tweet Tuesday announcing the trip.
Talks between Ukrainian and Russian delegations were expected to resume via teleconference Tuesday, the president said. Talks were halted Monday for a “technical pause,” according to one of Zelenskyy’s advisers. Three previous rounds of talks held in Belarus provided little progress, but both sides expressed optimism ahead of this week’s negotiations.
“On behalf of the Ukrainian people, I give you a chance,” Zelenskyy said in a video translated into English by his office, ahead of his scheduled speech to Canada’s parliament on Tuesday. “Chance to survive. If you surrender to our forces, we will treat you the way people are supposed to be treated. As people, decently.”
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In Washington, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that while the Biden administration supports Ukraine’s participation in the talks with Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin would have to show signs of de-escalating in order to demonstrate good faith.
“And what we’re really looking for is evidence of that, and we’re not seeing any evidence at this point that President Putin is doing anything to stop the onslaught or de-escalate,” she said.
►A convoy of 160 civilian cars left the encircled port city of Mariupol along a designated humanitarian route, the city council reported, in a rare glimmer of hope a week and a half into the lethal siege that has pulverized homes and other buildings and left people desperate for food, water, heat and medicine.
► Russian forces abducted the mayor of Melitopol, Ukraine to Russian-occupied Luhansk, where he is being accused of “terrorism,” according to the Kyiv Independent, citing the Zaporizhzhia Regional Military Administration.
►At least 636 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24, according to the U.N. human rights agency. The actual figures are likely much higher, the agency said.
► More than 2.9 million Ukrainians have fled the country, the U.N. refugee agency said. Over 1.7 million of them exited through Poland.
Fox News journalist Benjamin Hall injured in Kyiv
Fox News journalist Benjamin Hall was injured in Ukraine on Monday while reporting on the Russian invasion, the network said. Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott said in a statement that the network had “minimal level of details right now” but that Hall had been hospitalized. Hall, a father of three, has been reporting from Kyiv, Scott said.
“We will update everyone as we know more,” Scott said. “Please keep Ben and his family in your prayers.”
On Sunday, American photojournalist Brent Renaud was killed and another journalist was wounded in Irpin, a suburb of Kyiv.
Chinese defends position on Ukraine
China’s stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is “impartial and constructive” while the U.S. has been “immoral and irresponsible” by spreading misinformation, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Tuesday.
Lijan accused the U.S. of spreading misinformation over reports Beijing had agreed to a Russian request for military supplies. Lijan also said the U.S. played a major role in the development of the crisis, a reference to NATO expansion.
Lijan spoke at a press briefing on day after Yang Jiechi, one of China’s top diplomats, met with U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. Yang called on the international community to support peace talks and that “China always stands for respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries.”
State Department spokesman Ned Price declined to confirm whether U.S. officials believe Beijing has conveyed its support for Moscow’s assault on Ukraine but said the U.S. is watching very closely whether China or any other country is providing any form of support including material, economic or financial assistance.
Biden could travel to Europe in coming weeks, reports say
The White House is considering for President Joe Biden to travel to Europe in support of Ukraine and allies in the coming weeks, according to multiple media reports. The discussions have included considering Biden stopping in Brussels, home to NATO and the European Union, according to the reports from NBC News, Politico and Reuters. In addition, there are talks of Biden visiting Poland after a stop in Brussels, according to Reuters.
Any potential trip would come after Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit to Poland and Romania last week. The aim of her trip was to show unity among NATO allies amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Biden has traveled abroad twice during his administration, both times in Europe. White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday would not confirm the president’s potential travel plans or preview what the trip may entail.
“There’s not been any final decision about a trip,” Psaki said. “So I don’t have anything to preview about what that would look like if you were to take a trip.”
— Rebecca Morin
Poland on edge as Russian airstrikes near border
KRAKOW, Poland — After a deadly Russian missile attack in Ukraine just 15 miles from the Polish border Sunday, some Poles are increasingly anxious – saving money, checking to see if their passports are up to date and making plans to flee if war spills over to their country.
“I said to my husband, ‘If only one bomb touches Polish ground, I will pack myself, pack my grandma, pack my mom, and we are going abroad,’” local artist Aga Gaj said.
But in private, some Poles are nervous following a Russian airstrike that killed 35 and injured at least 100 at a military base where Americans had trained Ukrainian forces before the war. The United States and NATO have regularly sent instructors to the base, known as the International Peacekeeping and Security Center. Just weeks before the war began, Florida National Guard members trained there. Read more here.
— Katelyn Ferral, USA TODAY Network
Contributing: John Bacon, USA TODAY; The Associated Press