Talks between Ukraine and Russia have begun


Talks began between Ukrainian and Russian officials on the Belarusian border on Monday as Moscow took emergency steps to shield itself from a cascade of harsh western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine.


Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky’s office said the negotiations were aimed at ensuring an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukrainian territory.


The talks come five days after Russian president Vladimir Putin launched the biggest attack on a European state since the second world war, pouring thousands of troops into his western neighbour Ukraine and shelling its major cities. After the west imposed swingeing sanctions on Russia, Putin put the country’s nuclear deterrent on high alert.


While Russia has recorded some successes in southern Ukraine, the pace of its advance has slowed and it has yet to take a single large Ukrainian city, with the capital Kyiv still in government control.


According to a UK defence ministry assessment, the bulk of Putin’s ground forces remain more than 30km north of Kyiv, their advance frustrated by logistical failures and staunch Ukrainian resistance.


The military campaign in southern Ukraine has been more effective, with Russian forces capturing the two towns of Berdyansk, on the Sea of Azov, and Enerhodar, according to a Russian defence ministry statement. It added that its troops had seized territory around a nuclear power plant in Zaporizhiya and that Russia now controlled all of Ukrainian airspace.


Fighting was also reported on Sunday night in the town of Tokmak, north-west of Berdyansk, where Ukrainian forces were engaging Russian saboteurs who had infiltrated the city wearing Ukrainian army uniforms, according to local officials.


Meanwhile, Ukraine’s military said Russian troops continued to attack airports, air defence systems, critical infrastructure and residential areas around the country, and had launched missile strikes on buildings in the cities of Zhytomyr and Chernihiv.


Russian and Ukrainian military claims cannot be independently verified.


A curfew imposed in Kyiv on Saturday was lifted on Monday morning, creating long queues outside supermarkets as local residents left their homes to stock up on supplies.


Russia’s armed forces denied claims that they had encircled Kyiv and said civilians could safely leave on the highway to the town of Vasylkiv, scene of heavy fighting between Ukrainian and Russian troops over the weekend.


Ukrainian soldiers manned checkpoints on roads out of Kyiv, checking the documents of those leaving the capital.


The Ukrainian military commander leading the defence of Kyiv said on Monday that his troops had successfully repelled a Russian attack overnight. Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi said in a Facebook post that columns of Russian troops had repeatedly tried to storm the city.


“The occupier’s equipment columns were destroyed,” Syrskyi said in the post released by Ukraine’s military. “The opponent suffered significant losses of personnel.”


Speaking to UK prime minister Boris Johnson on Sunday, Zelensky said he believed “the next 24 hours was a crucial period for Ukraine”, according to a Downing Street official.


Meanwhile, the Ukrainian-Russian talks began on Monday on Ukraine’s border with Belarus, near the Pripyat river.


“We definitely want to reach some kind of agreement as quickly as possible, though it has to be in the interests of both sides,” Vladimir Medinsky, head of the Russian delegation, told Russia’s state agency RIA-Novosti.


Ukraine said its delegation included the country’s defence minister Oleksiy Reznikov, presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak and David Arakhamia, leader of Zelensky’s party in parliament.


© 2022 Financial Times



  1. “Our conditions are clear. We can’t say specifically now, but this is a ceasefire and the withdrawal of all Russian troops. We are talking about Donbas and Crimea. All troops should leave Ukraine! We will bury everyone anyway, so it’s better to leave voluntarily,” presidential speaker Arestovych said.

    • Yep! Given the Russian Army’s performance, which is well within norms of the Army since the Russian revolution, There is no reason not to push Russia out of the Ukraine if they refuse to go. While bullets are still flying, the Kerch Bridge needs to be destroyed.

      • Yes. Two cancers. The invaders and the crazies in Kyiv. They give the entire country away for (lost) Crimea and (unrealistic) Nato membership. When this is over they will have zero. Well done! […]

        • The request for NATO membership was not unrealistic or unreasonable. Ukraine was the first post Soviet country to join the partnership for peace. Russia was invited, but you can guess what they did with that. Yeltsin had ambitions as well. The Transnistria fiasco was his baby.

          A few minds may have changed now with Putin’s stupidity.

  2. The past several days have made a strong-arm tactic nearly impossible for mafia land. It’s war with Ukraine isn’t going as planned. It got a bloody nose already, and it’s getting ready for a couple of black eyes too.

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