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Ukraine Daily Summary | 28 February 2022

28 February 2022

High-level talks are being held between Russian and Ukrainian delegations along the Ukraine-Belarus border on Monday. The talks come after Russian President Vladimir Putin raised Russia’s national nuclear force alert level over the weekend, sparking concern. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called the next 24 hours “crucial”, indicating he expects no favourable results from talks. Ukraine claims the pace of the Russian assault has slowed, with the capital, Kyiv, remaining in Ukrainian hands as a two-day curfew is lifted on Monday morning. Sporadic clashes continue to break out between Ukrainian defence forces and so-called Russian ‘saboteur’ groups. Russian troops are currently positioned 30km out from the capital.

Air raid alerts have been sounded in Cherkasy, Dnipro, Kharkiv, and Vinnytsya. Meanwhile, the north-eastern city of Chernihiv has come under heavy fire overnight, but also remains under Ukrainian control. A nursery and a residential building were among those targeted; however, casualties have been low as civilians shelter underground. The UN estimates at least 102 Ukrainian civilians have died amid the conflict so far, while Ukraine claims a civilian death toll of 352 people. Moscow has also admitted troop losses, having claimed no casualties for days. Belarus, which has acted as a springboard for the deployment of Russian troops into northern Ukraine, is reported to be readying its national troops for deployment to assist Russia.

Russian advances in the south continue to move at a faster pace than in northern and eastern areas, as reports indicate further areas near Enerhodar and in Berdyans’k have fallen to the Russian forces, including a naval base. Ukraine’s defence minister Oleksii Reznikov has called the conflict a ‘European war’, saying that there are no borders between Ukraine and Europe now. The remark comes as Ukraine requests fast-track EU membership. NATO allies have stepped up military support for Ukraine by sending air-defence missiles and anti-tank weapons to Kyiv, as well as providing humanitarian and financial aid. Meanwhile, Moscow's central bank is dealing with the impact of Western sanctions, and British financial institutions have been banned from transactions with the Russian central bank, foreign ministry, and the Russian sovereign wealth fund.

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