US Sharing Real-Time Intelligence With Kiev; Russia-Ukraine Talks End In Agreement For 'Humanitarian Corridors'

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Mar 03, 2022 - 07:25 PM

Update(1425ET)Initial video is out of today's Ukraine-Russia talks which kicked off a few hours ago along the Belarus-Poland border. They ended after a reported two-and-a-half hours. Well at least they shook hands, as the below video clip shows.

One important point of consensus reached is that both sides agreed to establish 'humanitarian corridors' in the midst of the fighting in order to protect fleeing civilians. The head of Russian delegation Vladimir Medinsky issued this statement:

“We have thoroughly discussed three points – military, international and humanitarian, and the third one is an issue of a future political regulation of the conflict. Both positions are clear and written down. We managed to agree on some of them, but the key thing that we have reached an agreement on today was a matter of rescuing civilians who found themselves in a military clash zone. Russian and Ukrainian defense ministries agreed on providing humanitarian corridors for civilians and on a possible temporary ceasefire in areas where evacuation is happening."

The Ukrainian side said that while the talks didn't deliver much in the way of hoped-for results, and certainly they are still nowhere close to a ceasefire on the ground, the meeting at least reached  a "solution only for the organization of humanitarian corridors."

"The second round of negotiations is over. Unfortunately, the results Ukraine needs are not yet achieved. There is a solution only for the organization of humanitarian corridors," senior Ukrainian official  Mykhailo Podolyak said in a tweet.  

But they ended on a somewhat optimistic note, given a third round of talks are planned for the start of next week, Belarus' state BelTA news agency confirmed.

The other major piece of developing news comes out of the White House, which said Thursday afternoon that the United States is sharing real-time intelligence with Ukraine.

Fighting continues particularly along the south and on the Black Sea coast. There are alarming reports further that fighting is raging near nuclear power plants.


Drone footage of warzone in Borodyanka, outside of Kiev:

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Update(1138amET)The second round of Ukraine-Russia talks are underway, with a "ceasefire" possibility on the table - however this is unlikely given what both sides communicated to Macron prior to the meeting as to their demands. On the one hand Zelensky has said he will not negotiate with "a gun to his head" - and on the other Putin has reaffirmed his military objectives of the "neutralization" and "demilitarization" of Ukraine. Macron expressed dismay after the 90-minute phone call, saying Russia's objectives appear to be a complete takeover of the country.

"The Russian delegation was led by presidential aide Vladimir Medinsky, who said that the Russian delegation was ready to speak with the Ukrainian side for as long as it may take to reach agreements," according to state-run TASS. While talks were underway, President Zelensky issued a statement saying that he's willing to sit down to direct talks with Putin. He called this "the only way to stop the war," according to AFP.

Also on Thursday the head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Sergei Naryshkin, issued a series of bombshell statements which may reveal Moscow's broader aims in the war concerning how Russia's sees its ultimate security aims. Naryshkin said that "for us this is no longer a Cold War with the West but a hot war," according to Interfax. He said in the rare statement that "Russia now has a real chance to put an end to the war that has been waged in the Post-Soviet space for the past 30 years" - as also quoted in TASS.

He also repeated accusations against Kiev regarding allegations of nuclear weapons. Here's what he said according to Russian media:

The head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Sergei Naryshkin, has stated that the SVR had obtained intelligence showing that Ukraine was working on building its own nuclear weapons. Naryshkin stressed that President Volodymyr Zelensky's threats to abandon the Budapest Agreement were "not an empty promise".

Talks in Belarus near Polish border on March 3. Source: BelTA/Reuters

Meanwhile, a US defense official has confirmed to news agencies that the Pentagon does not have "boots on the ground" in Ukraine, while also saying that current satellite imagery gathering attempts have been hampered due to poor weather over the region.

And also underscoring that things already look grim in terms of what's practically achievable during the attempts to negotiate a ceasefire...

In a further breaking development:


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"En route to talks with Russian Federation. Already in helicopters. We will start in couple of hours," Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted Thursday. The second round of talks between Russian and Ukraine delegations are set to begin around 9am ET. Russian officials yesterday acknowledged that the question of a ceasefire is on the table - however unlikely given the continued fierceness of the fighting, particularly in the south where overnight Russia captured its first major, strategic city, Kherson. Thursday marks the start of the second week of war, and the talks are being held at a neutral location on the Poland-Belarus border.

"Our delegation was in place last night. It was expecting Ukrainian negotiators last night, all night, then in the morning. They are still waiting,"  Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said. "But as you know, the talks have not started. Ukrainian negotiators are clearly in no hurry. Let's hope they arrive today," he quipped.

Kherson not only woke up Thursday morning to being under full Russian occupation, but to widespread looting and lack of food and medicines. Head of the Kherson Regional State Administration Hennadii Lahuta in an early Thursday statement confirmed Russian forces have "completely occupied" government buildings. 

Though impossible to verify at this early stage, there are widespread reports that at least 300 were killed as Russia fought to take the city. This as Fox reports that multiple southern port regions of Ukraine are getting continually battered: "Russian forces laid siege on two Ukrainian seaports and continued bombarding the nation’s two largest cities, Kharkiv and Kyiv, as Russia and Ukraine battle for the eighth day," the report said.

"We have not given up our responsibilities. The regional operational headquarters, which I lead, continues its work and addresses issues to help residents of the region. We are waiting for humanitarian aid," Lahuta said.  

A raging fire after strikes, in Bucha near Kiev:

Even while Russia's huge many-miles long convoy outside of Kiev appears to still be stalled, amid reports of logistical supply, fuel, and food issues - Russia's advance in the south is ongoing, with the Pentagon late last night saying warships have been dispatched from Crimea and are now en route to Ukraine's Black Sea port city of Odessa, where its navy is based. 

Mariupol in southern Ukraine is also under siege, with the city's mayor citing an emerging "humanitarian catastrophe" in the city. Mayor Vadym Boichenko posted this message on Telegram:

"They are blocking the supply and repair of electricity, water and heat. They have also damaged the railways. They have destroyed bridges and smashed trains so that we can't evacuate women, children and the elderly out of Mariupol."

He said"They have also damaged the railways. They have destroyed bridges and smashed trains so that we can't evacuate women, children and the elderly out of Mariupol."

The city reported doesn't have heat or electricity. The statement further accused Russia's military of "blocking us like in former Leningrad [in the Second World War], deliberately destroying the city's critical life-support infrastructure for seven days.

Updated invasion map on 8th day of war: territory captured by Russian forces in red.

"We are working with international institutions to create a ‘green corridor’ for the humanitarian mission. We are working to ensure ceasefire to restore electricity," said Boichenko. The mayor alleged an "extermination" and "genocide" is underway targeting all Ukrainians as well as other ethnicities in the city.

In the West, the intensity of the debate over what's being called Western "inaction" is growing more intense, particularly after Joe Biden's Tuesday night State of the Union address where he vowed that no US troops would enter Ukraine to fight the Russians.