Russia says it killed 500 Ukrainian soldiers; Putin asks Kiev to hand over weapons in Mariupol | World

With tensions high after the Russian chancellor declared that he saw a real risk of World War III, the Russian Defense Ministry also claimed to have killed 500 Ukrainian soldiers during overnight attacks on military bases and installations across Ukraine.

Also according to the ministry, dozens of vehicles, artillery and other military equipment were also seized. The Kremlin said two ammunition depots in Kharkiv, in the east, were destroyed during the operation.

On the same day, the president of RussiaVladimir Putin urged Kiev to order all its soldiers in Mariupol to hand over their weaponsaccording to Russian news agency Ria.

Erdogan opens negotiations between Russia and Ukraine in Istanbul in March

Erdogan opens negotiations between Russia and Ukraine in Istanbul in March

The request was made by telephone to the President of Turkey, Recep Tayip Erdogan. Last month, Erdogan mediated a meeting of negotiators from both countries to discuss a peace agreement.

Ukraine’s government has yet to comment on the attacks.

While Russia says it has only attacked military targets, officials in southern and eastern Ukraine said at least nine civilians were killed in attacks by Russian troops on Tuesday, too.

Three of them died in the rubble of a bombed building in the city of Popasna, said the governor of the Lugansk region (east), Sergiy Gaidai.

“They were protecting themselves from Russian missiles in a basement and the building was hit,” he said.

In Kharkiv, in the east, a bombing killed three people and left seven wounded, two of them in a serious condition, announced the regional governor, Oleg Synegubov.

“We ask the residents to be very cautious and, as far as possible, do not leave the shelters”, he declared.

Two civilians died in the Donetsk region, according to Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko, and one in Zaporizhzhia, in the south, according to local officials.

Also on Tuesday (26), UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is in Moscow for meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. After meeting with Lavrov, Guterres called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and an independent investigation into evidence of war crimes committed by Russian troops.

He will later meet with Vladimir Putin.

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