Russian and Ukrainian negotiators are set to meet on Monday for a new round of cease-fire talks via video link, Ukrainian presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak announced on Sunday. The Ukrainian delegation had expressed cautious optimism during the last round of talks, saying that Russia had appeared more open to negotiation. However, Podolyak added that it could take weeks to reach a deal with Moscow that would end the war. Russia has stuck to its demands of demilitarizing Ukraine, the recognition of Donbas and Crimea as Russian territory, as well as guarantees that Ukraine will not join NATO. Kyiv has also said it is unwilling to surrender. A deadline for the surrender of Mariupol to Russian forces passed on Monday morning after Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk on Sunday evening rejected the call for Ukrainian forces there to lay down their arms.
Emergency services in the densely populated Podil district of the Ukrainian capital said on Monday morning that at least four people had been killed after shelling hit a shopping center in a residential area. “Enemy shelling” had caused fires on several floors of the 10-storey building and set several cars ablaze, emergency services posted on Facebook. The force of the blast left a large crater and piles of debris were still smoldering on Monday as rescue workers searched through the rubble. An AFP journalist reported hearing a loud explosion that shook the city. Security footage released by emergency services showed a massive explosion, followed by cloud of smoke rising from the blast site, AFP reported. Local residents told the news agency that they had seen a mobile rocket launcher near the shopping center over the previous days.
The regional governor of Sumy in northeastern Ukraine said there has been an ammonia leak at a chemical plant. The city is besieged by Russian forces who have been shelling it regularly. The governor did not elaborate on the cause of the leak but said there had been contamination of an area with a radius of more than 5 kilometers (3 miles). City authorities have advised people living in the area to breathe through bandages that have been soaked in citric acid.
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