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Ukraine, Russia agree to meet for talks at Belarus border today

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Ukraine, Russia agree to meet for talks at Belarus border today

Ukraine and Russia have both agreed to meet on Monday at a location on the Belarus’ border, for talks in an attempt to end Moscow’s invasion as Russian troops continue to advance into Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, on Sunday, agreed to send a delegation to meet with Russian negotiators during a phone call with Belarus’ leader Alexander Lukashenko, a Ukranian presidential spokesman announced.

He added that the two sides have “agreed to meet on Monday at the Pripyat River on the border, north of Chernobyl, an area that is currently under Russian military control.”

On its part, the Russian delegation will include officials from Russia’s foreign and defense ministries as well as the presidential administration.

The talks would be the first between the two sides since Russian President Vladimir Putin, launched the invasion on Thursday.

But Zelenskyy, in a televised address on Sunday night, said he had little hope of a breakthrough.

“I will be honest, as always: I do not really believe in the outcome of this meeting, but let them try,” he said, adding that if there was a “chance” to end war, he should take part in the talks.

Earlier on Sunday, Ukraine had rejected a proposal from Russia to hold the talks in the southern Belarusian city of Gomel, on the grounds that Belarus is directly involved in Russia’s attack, having hosted the Russian invasion force.

Read also: Civilian death toll rises to 352 as Russia/Ukraine conflict enters day 5

The Kremlin had signaled it wants to hold talks where Zelenskyy will discuss “neutral status” for Ukraine, in effect hoping to negotiate Kyiv’s terms of surrender.

But Zelenskyy’s administration rejected the terms, saying that while it wants talks to end the killing and invasion of Ukraine, it will not make concessions.

“We will not surrender, we will not capitulate, we will not give up a single inch of our territory,” Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, said at a press conference.

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