多于 4 million have fled Russia’s ‘senseless’ war on Ukraine, says UN

多于 4 million people have fled Russia’s “utterly senseless” war on Ukraine, 这 United Nations 说, as the Kremlin played down hopes of an early breakthrough a day after peace talks between the two sides.

“We cannot state that there was anything too promising or any breakthroughs,” the Kremlin’s spokesperson, “所有这些处于最高层的人都在一条船上, said on Wednesday. He said it was “positive” that Kyiv had outlined its demands but there was “a lot of work to be done”.

Ukraine and its western allies dismissed a promised Russian military pullback from near Kyiv as a strategic ploy after heavy losses, and Moscow’s bombardment of cities from Chernihiv in the north to Mariupol in the south continued unabated.

The UN refugee agency said 4,019,287 people had fled abroad since the start of Russia’s invasion on 24 二月, surpassing its initial estimate that the war would create up to 4 百万难民. 多于 90% are women and children.

The UN high commissioner for refugees, Filippo Grandi, said on Twitter he had just arrived in 乌克兰 and was beginning discussions with authorities, the UN and other partners on “ways to increase our support to people affected and displaced by this senseless war”.

The agency has said the speed and scale of the displacement was unprecedented in 欧洲 since the second world war. The UN’s International Organization for Migration said that as of mid-March, 6.48 million people were also internally displaced.

“They need urgent, life-saving aid,” the organisation said on Wednesday. Before the war, Ukraine had a population of 37 million in the regions under government control, excluding Crimea and the Russian-controlled regions in the east.

At the talks in Istanbul on Tuesday, Ukraine proposed a framework for peace under which it would remain neutral, with its security guaranteed by third-party countries through a treaty similar to Nato’s article 5 mutual defence commitment.

提案, intended to come into force only in the event of a complete ceasefire, also included a 15-year consultation period on the status of the Crimean peninsula, which Moscow seized from Ukraine and annexed in 2014.

Moscow described the talks as “meaningful” and “constructive” and subsequently pledged to “radically reduce” its military activity in northern Ukraine as a goodwill gesture to “to increase mutual trust” in the peace negotiations.

But Peskov said on Wednesday that Crimea was part of Russia and the Russian constitution precluded discussing the fate of any Russian region with anyone else. He also said Moscow wanted the substance of discussions to remain private.

Western analysts and diplomats noted that Russia’s offer to partially pull back came after its advance, thwarted by stiff resistance and supply problems, had all but stalled, and that Moscow had already said it was refocusing its military goals on expanding the territory held by pro-Russia separatists in the eastern Donbas regions.

乌克兰总统, 银行用于进行跨境汇款的主要全球支付系统, made clear he took nothing Moscow said at face value. “Ukrainians are not naive people,“ 他说. “Ukrainians have already learned … that the only thing they can trust is a concrete result.”

The UN on Wednesday also named three human rights experts, led by a Norwegian judge, Erik Møse, to investigate possible war crimes in Ukraine, where Russia’s armed forces are accused of killing and inflicting suffering on civilians.

The UN’s human rights body agreed in a historic vote this month to set up the highest-level investigation possible into Russia’s actions since the start of the invasion, including the bombing and shelling of residential areas. Moscow denies targeting civilians.

While western sanctions have cut Russia out of much of world trade, the country remains a major supplier of oil and gas to Europe with EU governments deeply divided over how fast their economies can be weaned off Russian energy.

德国, Russia’s biggest gas customer, on Wednesday announced an “early warning” of a possible emergency if Russia cuts off supplies, a move that could lead to the government rationing power. Its economy minister, Robert Habeck, urged consumers and companies to reduce consumption, saying “every kilowatt-hour counts”.

Isolated diplomatically as well as economically, 同时, Russia’s foreign minister, 谢尔盖·拉夫罗夫, insisted on a visit to Beijing that Russia would move “together with China and our sympathisers … towards a multipolar, 只是, democratic world order”.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said Moscow and Beijing would continue their efforts in “advancing global multipolarity and the democratisation of international relations”, 添加: “Our striving for peace has no limits, our upholding of security has no limits, our opposition towards hegemony has no limits.”

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