Ukraine to Hold Talks With Russia on Border With Belarus
Bloomberg — Ukrainian authorities will hold talks with Russian counterparts on the nation’s border with Belarus, as Russian forces advanced into Ukraine’s second-largest city on day four of its invasion and western allies ratcheted up sanctions.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy, President of Ukraine, stated that talks would be held with Ukraine at any location near the Pripyat River. This river is a tributary to the Dnieper which flows through Ukraine and Belarus. Zelenskiy spoke earlier with Belarus’s leader, Alexander Lukashenko.
“Lukashenko ensured that during the departure, negotiations and return of the Ukrainian delegation, all planes, helicopters and missiles placed on Belarusian territory will remain on the ground,” according to a statement on Zelenskiy’s website.
President Vladimir Putin, who launched the assault on Thursday with the object of dismantling Ukraine’s military, has said he’s prepared to authorize talks about Ukraine adopting a “neutral” status, a premise Kyiv has rejected. It is not clear what neutrality would look like, or how talks could be facilitated.
Russia’s invasion, whose cost rose was rising rapidly because of tougher-than-expected resistance, drew ever more strident responses from the West, where nations rallied around severe sanctions on Russian banks, Germany swept aside decades of resistance for more military spending and much of Europe closed its airspace to Russian aircraft.
A Ukrainian delegation has already left Kyiv, Fedir Venislavskyi, a member of Zelenskiy’s political party, said in televised comments. The confirmation came after Russia had sent a negotiation team to the southeastern Belarusian city of Gomel, though Zelenskiy said he’d refuse to hold talks in a country from which Russian troops were attacking Ukraine.
Russian officials in the delegation said they were only willing to discuss details of how Kyiv will fulfill Moscow’s demands for “demilitarization and denazification,” Tass reported. Russian officials claim that Zelenskiy is a neo Nazi. He rejects this assertion.