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Martial law extended in Ukraine as Zelensky hints at peace talks

MARTIAL law will apply in Ukraine until at least August as the country’s parliament voted unanimously for a three-month extension as the Russian assault continues.

The 90 days were agreed as Ukraine said it would focus on containing Russian advances in the eastern Donbass region, days after the surrender of neonazi forces in the city of Mariupol. 

President Volodomyr Zelensky’s representative at the Constitutional Court Fedir Venislavskyy said the extension was necessary because a “counter-offensive takes more time than defence.” 

Russian negotiator Leonid Slutsky had said Moscow would “study the possibility” of swapping some of the more than 2,000 prisoners taken at the Azovstal metal works for Viktor Medvedchuk.

The opposition politician was arrested by Ukrainian forces last month and paraded on social media by Mr Zelensky. 

Mr Slutsky, however, appeared to backtrack saying the fate of the far-right Azov fighters should be decided by a special tribunals. Many are accused of committed atrocities in the region since the 2014 Maidan coup. 

Ukraine has ruled out peace talks that would cede any territory to Russia, but Mr Zelensky has recently restated the need for a negotiated solution.

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