Members of delegations from Ukraine and Russia, including Russian presidential aide Vladimir Medinsky (second left), Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak (second right), Volodymyr Zelensky's "Servant of the People" lawmaker Davyd Arakhamia (third right), hold talks in Belarus' Gomel region on Feb 28, 2022. (SERGEI KHOLODILIN / BELTA / AFP)
The Russian government said on March 15 that it was too soon to draw any conclusions from talks to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, as fighting intensified around the capital Kyiv.
“The work is complex, but the very fact that the work is continuing is in itself positive,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
“We don’t want to give any forecasts. Let’s wait for tangible results.”
Delegations from Moscow and Kyiv have met for four rounds of talks to find a diplomatic resolution to the nearly three weeks of fighting between Russia and Ukraine.
Earlier, both sides raised hopes that a document might be signed during a meeting held by videoconference on March 14, before both sides announced a “technical pause”.
Peskov said on March 15 that it was “too early” to discuss the format of any document that could be adopted as a result of negotiations, saying this was part of discussions between negotiators. Both sides indicated over the weekend that they were making headway.
Kyiv announced a 35-hour curfew in the city starting March 15 evening after shelling by Russian forces. Moscow warned Western governments that they would be responsible for the deaths of their own citizens who were encouraged to enlist in Ukraine.
Shortly before dawn on March 15, large explosions thundered across Kyiv as Russia pressed its advance on multiple fronts.
A strike on a 16-story housing block in the Ukrainian capital killed at least two people, local emergency services said.
“The bodies of two people were recovered, 27 people were rescued,” Ukraine’s emergency services said in a Facebook post about the strike, adding that the building was located in the Sviatoshynsky district of western Kyiv.
Several loud explosions were also heard in central Kyiv early in the morning on March 15.
Peskov said Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine was proceeding in accordance with the original plan and “will be completed on time and in full”.
Elsewhere, a convoy of 160 civilian cars left the encircled port city of Mariupol along a designated humanitarian route, said the city council, in a rare glimmer of hope a week and a half into the siege that has flattened homes and other buildings.
Vitaliy Kim, governor of Ukraine’s southern Mykolayiv region, said the security situation is calmer in the area because Russian forces had been pushed back slightly from the regional capital.
In Washington, the United States State Department announced on March 15 a new set of sanctions against 11 Russian defense officials, including the head of the Russian National Guard and several deputy defense ministers.
Agencies contributed to this story.