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Ukraine Calls For Immediate Ceasefire

Ukraine has called for an immediate ceasefire and a withdrawal of Russian troops at the talks that began between the Ukrainian and Russian governments yesterday.

The talks lasted for five hours, and no final decisions were announced, but the Russian side said the two had outlined certain solutions.

Meanwhile, fighting continues, which promoted Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky to ask his Western allies to consider implementing a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

"Fair negotiations can occur when one side does not hit the other side with rocket artillery at the very moment of negotiations," Zelensky said, as quoted by Reuters.

This would be tricky, however, given the repeatedly demonstrated refusal of both Europe and the United States to get any more directly involved in the conflict than by sending weapons to the Ukrainian side.

"A no-fly zone would require implementation," White House press secretary Jen Psaki told media, adding that this implementation would necessitate "deploying U.S. military to enforce, which would be... potentially a direct conflict, and potentially a war with Russia, which is something we are not planning to be a part of."

Russia invaded Ukraine last Thursday after a fast-tracked recognition of the two eastern breakaway regions of Lugansk and Donetsk. Fighting has intensified since then, with reports pegging refugees at up to half a million.

Although shying from direct military confrontation with Russia, Europe, and the United States have been more than willing to take sanction action against Moscow, targeting government assets and banks. The oil and gas industry has not yet been targeted with sanctions, but Western oil supermajors are leaving Russia.


BP said on Sunday that it would sell its almost 20-percent stake in Rosneft, the state oil giant, and Shell said a day later it would quit its joint ventures with Gazprom. Both exits would cost the companies considerable losses.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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