March 28 (Reuters) – Ukraine is willing to discuss becoming neutral as part of a peace deal, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said as another top Ukrainian official accused Russia of aiming to carve the country in two. Read full story
* Russia is trying to split Ukraine in two to create a Moscow-controlled region after failing to take over the whole country, the head of Ukrainian military intelligence said. Read full story
* The Russian-backed eastern Ukrainian rebel region of Luhansk said it may hold a referendum on joining Russia, drawing a warning from Kyiv that any such vote would have no legal basis and trigger a strong international response. Read full story
* Russia continued its “full-scale armed aggression”, while Ukrainian forces had repulsed seven attacks in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, the General Staff of Ukraine’s armed forces said.
* Ukraine‘s deputy prime minister said Russian forces were “militarising” an exclusion zone around the occupied Chernobyl power station. Read full story
* The disposition of Russian forces during the past 24 hours has seen no significant change, however Russia has gained more ground in the vicinity of Mariupol, British military intelligence said.
TALKS AND DIPLOMACY
* The next round of face-to-face talks between Ukraine and Russia will take place in Turkey on March 28-30, a Ukrainian negotiator said on social media. Read full story
* Top American officials said the United States does not have a policy of regime change in Russia, ramping up efforts to clarify President Biden’s statement that President Putin “cannot remain in power”. Read full story
* French President Macron called for restraint in both words and actions in dealing with the Ukraine conflict, following Biden’s remarks. Read full story
* Germany’s decision to become more energy independent means it will have to accept higher energy costs, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said. Read full story
* The U.N. human rights office said 1,119 civilians had been killed and 1,790 wounded since Russia began its attack on Ukraine.Read full story
* Ukraine has asked the International Committee of the Red Cross not to open an office in Russia’s Rostov-on-Don, saying it would legitimise Moscow’s “humanitarian corridors” and the abduction and forced deportation of Ukranians.Read full story* Mourners crammed into the ornate Ukrainian Greek Catholic church in Lviv to bury Ukrainian soldiers. Read full story
* “The U.S. does not have a policy of regime change in Russia. Full stop.” Julianne Smith, U.S. ambassador to NATO.
(Compiled by Stephen Coates; Editing by Michael Perry)