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Russia 'refuses' ceasefire as Lavrov calls hospital attack claims 'pathetic shrieks'

Russia was accused of refusing aid to enter Ukraine and civilians from fleeing the country to end its aggression.

Sergei Lavrov, Moscow’s foreign minister, met Dmytro Kuleba, his Ukrainian counterpart in Turkey. They held high-level talks after President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.

Following the meeting, Kuleba stated that there was no indication of an agreement and that Russia was insisting that its operation would go according to plan. He also repeated his claim that Ukraine was a danger to its national security.

Ukraine war news – “Notable decrease” in Russian air activity


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War in Ukraine: Day fifteen

This claim, which is disputed by Kyiv as well as the West, was made by the Russian president who ordered the invasion.

In the fifteen days that followed, Moscow insisted it didn’t invade Ukraine and that civilians weren’t being targeted by its troops. This despite reports claiming that thousands of people were killed.

Putin called the offensive a “specially military operation” in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region.

Read more about Russia

Sky’s Dominic Waghorn questioned Mr Lavrov after the talks about why Ukraine and the rest could believe the Russian statements amid the seemingly false statements.

Key developments:

* Russia could use biological or chemical weapons in Ukraine, warns the US

* Roman Abramichich is sanctioned by the UK government in a crackdown on Russian oligarchs

* British troops should not travel to Ukraine to fight and take’some selfies’, warns Armed Forces minister

* Refugees from Ukraine can apply for digital visas in order to enter the UK

He said, “Until the very last moment, we wanted to solve the matter in a diplomatic manner.”

“Putin clearly explained why he decided to conduct a special army operation. Even if you are not allowed to speak to your listeners, you can read this document to find out more.

Lavrov claimed that the West agreed with him that Ukraine was theirs.

Image: Volunteers and emergency workers from Ukraine carry a pregnant woman in serious condition to Mariupol’s hospital. Pic: AP

The World Health Organisation (WHO), following Wednesday’s attack at Mariupol a maternity ward in Mariupol said that it had confirmed 18 strikes against medical facilities during wartime.

However, Mr Lavrov dismissed Russian military strikes on civilians as “pathetic sounds” by its enemies.

He claimed that the site was seized earlier by Ukrainian far-right extremist fighters who were using the site as a base.

Despite the many photos of civilians injured in the attack, Mr Lavrov claims that all of the nurses and patients were evacuated from the hospital prior to the assault.

This was just hours after another official denied Russia had bombed the hospital. He called such claims “fake news”.

Image Screenshot from a tweet by the Russian Embassy in the UK regarding the attack on Mariupol’s maternity hospital

He claimed that the US is creating biological weapons in Ukraine.

Jen Psaki, the US press secretary, called the claim “preposterous” but suggested that it could have been part of a Moscow pre-emptive justification for using such weapons of mass destruction to attack Ukraine.

Thursday’s talks saw Mr Kuleba say that there are other Russian decision-makers who should be consulted. He also said that he was willing to work with Mr Lavrov in finding a solution for humanitarian problems caused by war.

Image Russian foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Koleba in Antalya (Turkey).

He stated that Moscow was not prepared to offer a ceasefire and added: “They seek Ukraine’s surrender.” This is unlikely to happen.

Kuleba stated that he did not want to destroy the hope of Ukrainians fleeing from Russian attacks and bombardments.


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