Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday said that Ukraine and Russia would conduct the first diplomatic talks since the Kremlin-launched invasion, with delegations from both countries meeting at the Ukrainian border with Belarus.
The two countries would meet near the Pripyat River “without preconditions,” Al Jazeera quotes Mr Zelenskyy’s office as saying.
The announcement came after Mr Zelenskyy had earlier said he would not attend negotiations in Belarus, a close ally of Moscow where thousands of Russian troops massed in the lead-up to last week’s invasion.
He later said: “We agreed that the Ukrainian delegation would meet with the Russian delegation without preconditions on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, near the Pripyat River.”
Mr Zelenskyy, however, did not give a precise time for the meeting, but noted that Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, a confidant of Mr Putin, “has taken responsibility for ensuring that all planes, helicopters and missiles stationed on Belarusian territory.”
Russia on Thursday launched a military attack on Ukraine.
Now, Kyiv’s outgunned forces are fighting to hold onto the capital city and many other parts of the country.
Hostilities remained intense on Sunday with street fighting in Ukrainian cities and an announcement from Russian President Vladimir Putin that he had put his nuclear deterrence forces on high alert.
Mr Putin attributed the move to “aggressive statements” from the West against Russia.
Washington has called the order an example of “manufacturing threats that don’t exist.”
PREMIUM TIMES reported Sunday how Russian forces pushed into Kharkiv, sparking a battle for control in Ukraine’s second-largest city.
By afternoon, the city was reportedly quieter, with the sounds of bombardment fading from downtown and Kharkiv’s governor announcing the city remained under government control.
On the fourth day of fighting, the United Nations’ refugee agency said that 368,000 people have fled Ukraine while about 3 million require humanitarian aid.
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