There are two worlds and they are different: one is that of diplomatic talks, another is that of the land and the streets where war shakes and pierces. They are parallel and, at least for now, they do not find a point of convergence.
While Russia and Ukraine discuss a possible end to the belligerence, in the main cities of the invaded country there are no signs of truce. It is true that the fighting subsided sharply around kyiv on Tuesday, but the night that followed the first day of talks was once again deafening.
The thing is the anti-aircraft sirens did not stop sounding throughout the country. From east to west, Wednesday morning in Ukraine was one of interrupted sleep for most. In kyiv, Lviv, Rivne, Kharviv, Zytomir, Odessa and Kharkov, bombing warnings were reported again and again almost without intervals. Attacks were confirmed in different areas, but no fatalities have been reported so far.
It is a delicate balance. The dialogue continues this Wednesday and anxiety leads Ukrainians to think at times that this phase of the war may have ended. But when everything seems to go that way, the alarms sound again. Cell phones vibrate and the message flashes: “Warning, anti-aircraft alarms in kyiv (or Lviv or Kharviv), keep calm and go to the nearest shelter.”
All night that was repeated on the cell phone of the envoy of Clarion. The last alarm in Lviv, the “capital of the west”, sounded at 7:35 local time (1:35 in Argentina). That is why what is collected on the street is neither more nor less than skepticism. Ukrainians still do not believe in what Vladimir Putin can promise. They are on their guard despite the new energy. This feeling goes through both those who are struggling and those who are trying to get on with their lives normally.
Despite the open dialogue, Russia continues to bomb Ukraine. Photo Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters
In effect, the Ukrainian Armed Forces affirmed this Wednesday that Russia has withdrawn military units from the kyiv and Chernigov regions to concentrate its efforts in the east of the country, but has warned that this action seeks to “deceive” the Ukrainian military leadership.
“Has as purpose deceive the military leadership of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and create a false idea about Russia’s refusal to encircle kyiv,” says a report posted on the Army’s official Facebook profile. He adds that the so-called “troop withdrawal” is actually a rotation of individual units.
This Wednesday, reports of impacts came from the Lugansk region. There, a high-pressure gas pipeline was affected due to a bombardment by Russian troops, the head of the regional military administration, Sergii Haidai, assured by Telegram. As a result of the damage, 35,000 people in the towns of Lisichansk, Privillya, Novodruzhesk, Bilohorivka, Zolotarivka and Shipylivka have been left without gas supplies.
On another level, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, assured that an office of the European Union’s advisory mission in the devastated city of Mariupol had been bombed on Tuesday by the Russian Armed Forces.
Russia continues to fire missiles at Ukraine. Photo Fadel Senna/AFP
“The EU advisory mission in Ukraine has obtained credible information that the premises of its field office in Mariupol have recently been hit by Russian shelling. The office and equipment have sustained significant damage. No member of the mission or contractor was injured,” Borrell said in a statement.
Mariupol is the short fuse of the current scenario. It is where the drama cannot be measured. What happens there also depends, to a large extent, on whether the negotiations come to fruition.