Russian forces continued to strike the area surrounding the Ukrainian capital Kyiv and northern city Chernihiv despite promising to scale-back attacks in those areas “to increase mutual trust” for peace talks.

Concerns that Chernihiv could become the next Mariupol continue to rise following Ukrainian officials’ reports that the Russian bombardment on civilian infrastructures, such as homes and libraries is still happening. Like the besieged southern port city, Chernihiv is experiencing low drinking water, an exhausted food supply and constant bombing.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned against believing the Kremlin’s pledge.

“Ukrainians are not naive people,” he said in an overnight address referring to the Kremlin’s commitment during the talks in Istanbul Tuesday. “Ukrainians have already learned during these 34 days of the invasion, and over the past eight years of the war in Donbas, that the only thing they can trust is a concrete result.”

“We can call those signals that we hear at the negotiations positive,” he added. “But those signals don’t silence the explosions of Russian shells.”

The Pentagon echoed Zelensky’s doubts that Russia meant what it said.

“We’re not prepared to call this a retreat, or even a withdrawal,” said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby on Tuesday. “What they probably have in mind is a repositioning to prioritize elsewhere.”

The Kremlin said that the two sides did not make progress in their peace talks on Tuesday.

“What is positive is that the Ukrainian side has at least started to specifically formulate and put on paper what it is proposing. Until now we had not managed to achieve that,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Zelensky has voiced his willingness to discuss neutrality, including a promise to not join NATO.

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