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The Russian offensive completes two months without signs of a truce, and leaves thousands dead and millions of refugees
The Russian offensive in Ukraine, which has already caused thousands of deaths, celebrates two months this Sunday without the parties having managed to advance in the negotiations to establish a ceasefire by Russia. According to the UN, at least 2,200 civilians have died since the start of the war in Ukraine on February 24, which has also caused multiple casualties in the ranks of both armies. So far, Russia has recognized 1,351 dead in its troops and Ukraine, between 2,500 and 3,000 in its own. The United Nations fears that the real number of dead civilians is much higher than the data currently available due to the lack of access to areas where fighting is still going on.
Hostilities and uncertainty have also caused almost 5.2 million people to flee Ukraine in the last eight weeks, according to the UN, while hundreds of thousands have arrived in Russia from the territories of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics, in Donbas, in the east, as well as other parts of Ukraine, according to official Russian sources.
The two months of the conflict are being fulfilled in the middle of the Russian offensive for total control of Donbas. “The enemy continues to carry out offensive operations (…) to establish full control over the Donetsk and Lugansk provinces,” according to the latest part of the Ukrainian Army General Staff. A Russian military high command acknowledged this week that during the second phase of what Russia has called its “special military operation”, it will also seek to gain control of all of southern Ukraine, with possible access to the border with Moldova.
Mariupol, next to the Sea of Azov, is the last bastion of the Ukrainian resistance in this port city, and constitutes one of the main Russian objectives since the beginning of the military campaign to try to achieve total control of the Donbas region and form a land corridor in the east of the country to the Crimean peninsula, annexed in 2014. A few days before the two-month anniversary of the start of the offensive in Ukraine, Moscow stated that it has the strategic city under its control, except for the Azovstal steel mill, where the last defenders of the city take refuge. kyiv assures that the fight for the city continues and that its forces have entrenched themselves not only in Azovstal, but also in other parts of the city, where there are now about 100,000 inhabitants, according to Ukraine, and 250,000, according to pro-Russian militias.
The second month of the Russian offensive has also been marked by war crimes attributed to Kremlin troops in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, near kyiv, and other towns in the area. Moscow repeatedly denied that its soldiers had committed the atrocities shown by the Ukrainian and Western media, and called for an investigation of the “monstrous set-up”, for which it blamed the kyiv authorities.
Negotiations between the parties stalled about a month ago, after fighting in Mariupol intensified and images of Bucha came to light. The last round of face-to-face talks between the delegates from both countries took place in Istanbul on March 29. Initially, the parties suggested timid advances in the meeting in Istanbul, but the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, affirmed this Friday that the negotiations with Ukraine “have stalled” and that kyiv does not respond to the latest proposal that Moscow has made. did arrive days ago. Meanwhile, the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, insisted on Saturday on the need for a direct meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, because contacts through mediators and third countries will not produce the “desired result.” (Agencies)