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Russia has ramped up its attacks on Kyiv

JUANA SUMMERS, HOST:

Russia is stepping up its assault on the Ukrainian capital. During the last 24 hours, artillery strikes targeted residential areas on the outskirts of the city. One attack hit a metro stop. Another set an apartment building ablaze. Meanwhile, the leaders of three EU countries traveled to Kyiv by train today in a show of solidarity. And NATO announced a summit later this month to discuss the Russian invasion.

NPR's Tim Mak is in central Ukraine and joins us now. Hey, Tim.

TIM MAK, BYLINE: Hey there.

SUMMERS: So let's begin with the negotiations today, another round of talks between Ukraine and Russia. Are they making any progress?

MAK: Well, there are these signals that the discussions have turned from mere demands to something a little bit more substantive, a little bit more issue-oriented. Ukraine has said it might be willing to stop short of joining NATO. Russia is pushing for Ukraine to, quote, "demilitarize." It's far from any agreement, but there are murmurs from both sides that it was headed in a more positive direction than previous conversations. There are now conversations about potential cease-fires and potential agreements on humanitarian corridors.

And meanwhile, European leaders are stressing their support for Ukraine. The prime ministers of Poland and Slovenia and the Czech Republic went to Kyiv to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

SUMMERS: OK. So take us through, Tim, what's happening around the country as this fighting continues.

MAK: Well, you know, in the south of the country, there was a bit of good news today as some 20,000 civilians were able to leave the port city of Mariupol. That's a city of nearly half a million people. You might remember that city from those famous images of the maternity hospital that was hit by a bombardment. Previous attempts to establish a humanitarian corridor there and elsewhere have failed after civilians came under fire.

But there was also some very tragic news that came out of Ukraine today - the deaths of journalists outside Kyiv. We have word now that Fox News cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski died after his car was struck by fire while reporting on the outskirts of the capital city yesterday. The 55-year-old was a veteran conflict reporter who had worked in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. Also killed in the attack was 24-year-old Ukrainian journalist and translator Oleksandra Kuvshynova (ph).

SUMMERS: And quickly, Tim, if you can just tell us, you say this happened outside of Kyiv. What is the latest in the capital city?

MAK: Well, the Russian military still remains stalled outside that city. Latest estimates have them about 10 miles from the city center. The city is now on lockdown until 7:00 a.m. on Thursday, so no one can move throughout the city without permission. They haven't had such a long, multi-day curfew since the early days of the war.

Across the country, one of the things they try to do during these long curfew periods is search for enemy saboteurs. And I've been talking to those who are trying to track them down. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tim Mak is NPR's Washington Investigative Correspondent, focused on political enterprise journalism.
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