Talks, fighting persist as Russia and Ukraine enter 4th week of war

Russia At War

(NewsNation) — Ukraine enters its fourth week of war with Russia flush with new aid from the United States and hopes of a cease-fire, but still without immediate relief to the battering it’s taking.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will likely not get the no-fly zone he again asked the United States to help implement Wednesday. But his delegates say talks with Russia are progressing.

Zelenskyy’s adviser Mikhailo Podolyak said Ukraine is demanding a cease-fire, the withdrawal of Russian troops and legal security guarantees for Ukraine from a number of countries. Ukrainian and Russian delegations held talks again Wednesday by video.

Another official in Zelenskyy’s office, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks, said the main subject under discussion was whether Russian troops would remain in separatist regions in eastern Ukraine after the war and where the borders would be.

Just before the war, Russia recognized the independence of two regions controlled by Russian-backed separatists since 2014 and extended the borders of those regions to areas Ukraine had continued to hold, including Mariupol.

That city was the site of another apparent horror from Russian forces. Ukraine’s government says Russian shelling hit a theater being used as a shelter. Russia denied the claim.

American leaders also recoiled at the development. President Joe Biden announced $800 million worth of military equipment, including drones and anti-aircraft technology, was on its way to Ukraine.

“There’s all sorts of different types of targets that these can go to and there are two different variants that could destroy just about anything that the Russians have on the ground,” Ret. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman said on “The Donlon Report.

But Jamil Jaffer, executive director of the National Security Institute, says the U.S. has been too slow to implement sanctions.

“If we really wanted to stave off and deter Putin, we would’ve provided these weapons well ahead of time and made it clear he was going to lose a significant amount of Russian soldiers,” Jaffer said on “NewsNation Prime.”

There is also mounting concern for Americans caught up in the conflict. Though some have volunteered to fight or provide humanitarian aid, others are being detained by Russia on what some fear are trumped-up charges designed to give Russia negotiating power with the United States.

A Minnesota mother says her son, Tyler Jacob, was taken off a bus in Crimea by Russian forces as he was trying to escape the country. The State Department is involved in the search, but Tina Hauser says they have not located her son.

“It’s devastating because he sent me videos when he could of what was happening in the distance and it’s like, your home is gone. Your life is changing,” Hauser said through tears on “NewsNation Prime” Wednesday. “And it’s so hard to see him suffer through that because it’s where he wanted to be.”

Earlier, Brittney Grimes, a WNBA star, was arrested at a Russian airport when security found hashish oil in her bag. She’s facing 10 years in prison.

The humanitarian crisis in Ukraine includes hospitals trying to treat COVID-19 patients as bombs fall around them. Several times a day, air raid sirens wail at the Kharkiv Regional Clinical Infectious Diseases Hospital, sending feeble virus patients — some connected to ventilators and struggling to breathe — running for bomb shelters.

“Bombing takes place from morning into night,” hospital director Dr. Pavel Nartov said. “It could hit at any time.”

It adds to the urgency Ukrainian leaders feel as they ask the West for more help. Biden and other European leaders have often spoken of not doing anything to give Putin a reason to escalate his attacks or draw more countries into direct combat. But Ukrainian MP Inna Sovsun says without more military assistance, any sentiment that the world stands with Ukraine rings hollow.

“I’m sorry, I’m not feeling that,” she said on “The Donlon Report” Wednesday. “I’m feeling the pain of the people who are now under what is left of the theater.”

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