The news comes after the two sides met for peace talks for at least the second time this week. They agreed to create the humanitarian corridors for evacuating civilians and to ensure the delivery of medicines and food to the places where the most severe fighting was taking place, according to Reuters.
However, “unfortunately, the results Ukraine needs are not yet achieved,” Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, clarified in a tweet.
While talks have now made at least some progress, countries are still taking steps to isolate Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia from the global economy. President Joe Biden said Thursday that he is banning travel to the U.S. for more than 50 Russian oligarchs, their families and their close associates, according to a pool report.
“Our interest is in maintaining the strongest unified economic impact campaign on Putin in all history and I think we’re well on the way to doing that,” Biden said.
Russia has launched more than 480 missiles into Ukraine since the invasion began and it is now using about 90% of Putin’s “pre-staged combat power,” a senior defense official told reporters on Thursday. But while Russia has made progress in southern areas of Ukraine, the official added that the U.S. still assesses that Russian forces are “largely stalled across the north.”
“They have been flummoxed and they have been frustrated,” the official said.
One expert, however, believes that this is all going according to plan for Putin and much is left to unfold.
“A more sober analysis shows that Russia may have sought a knockout blow, but always had well-laid plans for follow-on assaults if its initial moves proved insufficient,” writes Bill Roggio, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a non-partisan research institute focused on national security and foreign policy. “The world has underestimated Putin before and those mistakes have led, in part, to this tragedy in Ukraine. We must be clear-eyed now that the war is underway.”
French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday after speaking with Putin over the phone that the Russian leader “refuses to stop his attacks on Ukraine at this point.” A French official added that it is expected “the worst is yet to come.”
“We must avoid the worst,” Macron said on Twitter.