On Monday, Russia and Ukraine are set to resume peace talks, which will aim at negotiating a cease-fire, as well as safe passage for civilian evacuations which will take place on Monday, a Ukraine official said today. Davyd Arakhamia, head of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s political party and a member of the Ukraine delegation, said that Monday would be the third round of peace talks.
On Saturday, the evacuation of Mariupol, Ukraine, was halted. Russia continued shelling the area Saturday in violation of a cease-fire, according to the office of President Zelensky. Approximately two hours after the cease-fire began, the decision was made to halt the evacuations, following a rousing speech by Mr. Zelenskyy, which was video streamed to crowds of demonstrators on Friday evening in numerous major European cities while Russian forces have been stalled in their advance on Kyiv.
On Sunday at 2 p.m., there will be a rally in support of Ukraine in Santa Barbara at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Garden.
On Saturday, President Zelensky made a pitch to 300 American lawmakers during an hour long zoom call.
“Mr. Zelensky made a desperate plea,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told the Associated Press.
Secretary of State Anthony Bliken has warned that the crisis will likely get worse before it gets better. Congress is working on a $10 billion package of military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. Sen. Schumer told Mr. Zelensky that lawmakers hope to send it to Ukraine quickly.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that if a no-fly-zone is implemented over Ukraine, it would be treated as an act of war by Russia
“Any movement in this direction will be considered by us as participation in an armed conflict by that country,” said President Putin, according to the Moscow Times.
Russian troops are continuing to shell the cities that they have surrounded, and the number of Ukrainian refugees has grown to 1.45 million, according to a report by the AP. The U.N. has predicted that the number of refugees could reach 4 million, which would make this the biggest refugee crisis of the century. Most refugees have fled to Poland and other EU nations, and the bloc has granted refugees temporary protection and residency permits. However, some refugees have begun to make their way into other countries. More than 100,000 refugees have reached Slovakia, while many plan to continue making their way to the Czech Republic which has a significant Ukrainian population. Hundreds of refugees arrive in Berlin daily. In Italy, 10,000 refugees have arrived, with 40% of them being children.
As Mr. Putin escalated warnings against NATO, Ukraine is requesting increased military assistance from the West.
“The highest demand that we have is in fighter jets, attack aircraft, and air-defense systems,” said Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, reported the Moscow Times.