Ukrainian troops regaining territory says Ukrainian PM as peace talks resume amid ‘poisoning’ claim

Written by on March 29, 2022

Ukrainian troops are regaining territory around the capital and pushing back Russian forces, the country’s president has said.

Speaking in his latest evening message, Volodymyr Zelenskyy heralded the “liberation” of Irpin, a key town on the northwest fringe of Kyiv.

The president said that, despite the gains, Russian troops still control north of Kyiv and will continue their attacks even though there are “hundreds and hundreds of units of burned and abandoned enemy equipment”.

“Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv regions, Donbas, southern Ukraine – the situation everywhere remains tense, very difficult,” he added.

Mariupol, one of the worst affected cities, remains under siege and Mr Zelenskyy said Russian troops did not allow a humanitarian corridor to be organised on Monday.

Russia has been repeatedly accused of not allowing people to leave the bombed-out city, and one official reported just 586 managed to escape yesterday.

Peace talks continue despite ‘poisoning’ claim

Russia and Ukraine will hold their first face-to-face peace talks in two weeks on Tuesday.

Ukraine said its top objective at the talks, being held in Istanbul, is to secure a ceasefire – although both it and the US are sceptical of any major breakthrough.

The talks will take place despite claims a Russian oligarch and two Ukrainian representatives were victims of a chemical attack during negotiations earlier in the month.

Three men including Roman Abramovich suffered symptoms including red eyes, constant and painful tearing, and peeling skin on their hands and faces, a source confirmed to Sky News, after a meeting on Ukrainian territory reportedly on 3 March.

Mr Abramovich reportedly lost his sight for several hours

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has now warned people don’t “eat or drink” when negotiating with Russia.

“I advise anyone going for negotiations with the Russian Federation not to eat or drink anything.

“And, preferably, avoid touching any surface.”

However, the US has cast doubt on the claims, with an official saying the “intelligence highly suggests” the cause was environmental, “not poisoning”.

More Russian mercenaries heading to Ukraine

The Russian private military company the Wagner Group is operating in eastern Ukraine, with its mercenaries being diverted away from operations elsewhere to help support the Russian army, according to the latest Ministry of Defence intelligence update.

The group is believed to be funded by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman with close links to Vladimir Putin.

Russia is expected to deploy more than a thousand mercenaries to undertake combat operations.

However, the MoD also described Russian troops as a “largely stalled invasion”.

Residents in the city of Izyum said they fear annihilation at the hands of Putin’s troops.

In the towns and villages that surround the provincial city of 50,000, Sky’s Sally Lockwood saw schools that had been obliterated by precision strikes, health clinics reduced to rubble by shelling and ordinary houses destroyed by airborne assaults.


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