Russia Bans 963 Americans From Country; Finland holds talks with Turkey over NATO bid – live

The gardians Lorenzo Tondo has this latest dispatch from Kyiv, where concern is growing over the fate of Ukrainian fighters in Russian hands after their surrender at Mariupol:

Ukraine has hinted it is open to resuming talks with Russia as Moscow claims it has taken full control of the beleaguered city of Mariupol – its biggest prize since it invaded Ukraine in February.

Speaking to a television channel on Saturday, the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskysaid that “discussions between Ukraine and Russia will undoubtedly take place”.

“In what format I don’t know – with intermediaries, without them, in a larger group, at the presidential level,” he added. “But the war will be bloody, there will be fighting and [it] will definitely end only with diplomacy.

“There are things that can only be achieved at the negotiating table. We want it all back [to as it was before] but Russia does not want that.




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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy (right) welcomes Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa to kyiv on Saturday. Photograph: Presidential Press Service/EPA handout

Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, responded by accusing Ukraine of having interrupted the talks. The last talks between the two sides took place on April 22, according to Russian news agencies.

During the interview with a Ukrainian broadcaster, Zelenskiy spoke about the creation of a document enshrining security guarantees for his country. Although bilateral discussions are taking place with Russia, the document would be signed by “friends and partners of Ukraine, without Moscow”, he added.

However, he warned that the precondition for resuming negotiations was that Moscow does not kill Ukrainian troops defending the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol. “The most important thing for me is to save as many people and soldiers as possible,” he said.

Last week, Russia announced that it had taken full control of Mariupol, the first major city to fall. The last group of Ukrainian soldiers entrenched in the Azovstal steelworks surrendered on Friday, ending a month-long siege of the defenders’ last stronghold.

Read the full story:

Related: Zelenskiy signals he is ready for further talks if Mariupol troops are unharmed

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