During Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba, have held face-to-face talks in Antalya, Turkey. These negotiations are the first high-level contact between the two sides since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine’s foreign minister said he discussed a 24-hour ceasefire with his Russian counterpart, but no progress was made as Moscow’s representative defended its invasion and said it was going as planned. Lavrov, meanwhile, states that a ceasefire to the hostilities in Ukraine was never going to be agreed on Thursday during trilateral talks. He also said Russia wants to continue negotiations with Ukraine and President Vladimir Putin would not refuse a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy to discuss “specific” issues. Russia also warns Western nations over their dangerous behaviour in Ukraine.
Russian forces carried out an airstrike on the city of Zhytomyr on Wednesday, injuring one woman and damaging several buildings, including the thermal power plant. The damage could cause the thermal power plant to be turned off, which would be a problem, as it provides heat to around 30% of the city. It has become more and more obvious that the Russian forces have escalated their advance towards the western parts of Ukraine. Russian forces, from the Kyiv axis, are expected to make efforts towards Ukraine’s western territories, which so far have been spared from ground forces and heavy shelling.
Yesterdays planned humanitarian corridors were effected with various results. Ukraine has made continued efforts in opening the humanitarian corridors from the cities of Mariupol, Volnovakha, Izium, Sumy, Trostianets and Krasnopil, as well as several towns around the Ukrainian capital. Thousands of internal refugees have so far been relocated to safer grounds. However, the situation in Mariupol where 400,000 people have been sheltering without water or power for over a week is described as apocalyptic. Reports state that Russian forces, yesterday, bombed a maternity and children’s hospital in the middle of the city. All of this, despite the repeated agreements to establish safe evacuation corridors for civilians.
Fears are mounting that Ukraine’s capital Kyiv will also soon be encircled, with Russian tanks in places just a few kilometres from the city limits. The city has come under increasingly heavy bombardment, with repeated missile and artillery attacks striking the city overnight. Speaking on Ukrainian television, Kyiv’s mayor Vitali Klitschko, said half of the capital’s total population had left the city as Russian forces advance.
There is a growing concern that Russia could be planning a chemical or biological weapons attack in Ukraine. US officials suggest that the false Russian claims, of US biological weapon labs, and chemical weapons development in Ukraine, were made to justify further premeditated, unprovoked attacks. They continue to argue that there is a heightened risk that the war could escalate, and particularly the possibility of Russia using non-conventional weapons. This most likely refers to chemical weapons although the term also covers tactical (small-scale) nuclear weapons, biological weapons, and so-called dirty bombs.
SRS has personnel stationed in the city of Lviv. SRS can assist with on-site security coordination, as well as assistance with evacuation, planning and contact with Swedish authorities.
Situational Map and Border Crossings of Interest (last updated 2022-03-10, 14:40 CET). Source: SRS/Reuters.
Due to recent military development and the economic sanctions imposed on Russia by Western countries, SRS recommends that expat staff and their families in Russia or in countries aligned with Russia in this conflict to i) register with the Swedish Embassy at se or ii) evacuate to an EU-member state.
COMPANIES AND ORGANISATIONS
If your business is in one of the impacted or neighbouring countries (e.g., Poland, Romania, Hungary, Lithuania or Latvia), SRS recommends updating emergency response plans and security instructions. Prepare evacuation of staff, secure and/or shred sensitive documents and back-up of key information and IT-systems.
Be aware of false information and news sources. Learn more about source criticism at se.
SRS also recommends visiting the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) website (msb.se) to learn more about recommendations and safety precautions in times of crisis.
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