Russia announces completion of 1st stage of military operation in Ukraine
Published: Mar 27, 2022 08:07 AM
The Russia-Ukraine conflict continues on Saturday as relevant parties are working to broker a peaceful solution. Following are the latest developments of the situation:

The main tasks of the first stage of Russia's special military operation in Ukraine have been completed in general, the Russian military said Friday.

"The combat potential of the Ukrainian Armed Forces has been significantly reduced," said Sergei Rudskoy, first deputy chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces.

"Our forces and means will concentrate on the main thing -- the complete liberation of Donbass," he said.

- - - -

Russia's special military operation in Ukraine will continue until all tasks set by President Vladimir Putin are fulfilled, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev said Friday.

"These targets are related to the future of Ukraine: the status of Ukraine as a neutral state, a state that does not pursue an anti-Russian policy, a state that is not militarized, and a state as our normal neighbor," Medvedev said.

- - - -

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday held a phone conversation to discuss the situation in Ukraine.

The two leaders discussed the situation on the ground and the stage of negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, according to a statement issued by the Turkish presidency.

Erdogan said he had told the leaders of NATO members about Turkey's "active and principled policy, and the effective diplomatic efforts comprehensively."

- - - -

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that his country's negotiation process with Russia is very difficult, the press service of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry reported Friday.

"The negotiation process is very difficult. The Ukrainian delegation has taken a strong position and does not relinquish its demands," Kuleba was quoted as saying.

He stressed that the Ukrainian side insists on a ceasefire, security guarantees, and territorial integrity of Ukraine at the talks.

- - - -

European Union (EU) leaders agreed to purchase natural gas jointly to be able to secure cheaper prices and cushion the steep increases in the energy sector, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday.

She told a news conference at the end of an EU leaders' summit in Brussels that instead of outbidding each other, European countries will be using collective bargaining to secure cheaper prices.