In a call with French President Emmanuel Macron, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that Russia is open for peace talks, but only if their “legitimate security interests are unconditionally taken into account.” These interests include the recognition of Crimea as Russian territory, the “demilitarization and denazification” of Ukraine, and that Ukraine declares neutrality regarding NATO. Putin also stated he expects Ukraine to “lead to the desired results.” Macron also called for a ceasefire and urged Putin to “stop all strikes on civilians in Ukraine, preserve the civilian infrastructure and provide safe access to key roads,” according to Elysee palace, who also stated that “Putin confirmed his willingness to commit on these three points,” although Russia continues to deny targeting civilians.
Russian forces made several advances into different regions of Ukraine on the last day of February. Russia’s Ministry of Defense stated earlier today that their forces have captured the city of Enerhodar and the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe. The announcement was disputed by Energoatom, the plant’s operator, and the Ukrainian government. Earlier today, an undated video began to spread online of Ukrainian self-defense militias setting up a roadblock at the city’s main entrance with a Russian convoy visible down the road (Geolocation: 47.4776573, 34.6437979)
Russian forces have also pushed into the port city of Berdyansk, which is located west of Mariupol. Russian forces, which appear to be primarily made up of Dagestan national guard units, were met by crowds of locals protesting their presence.