Before the talks started, the Kremlin said it would not declare its official position as Moscow’s assault against Ukraine went into a fifth day. “I suggest we wait for the talks,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. “I would not declare any negotiating positions.”
The talks are being held at Ukraine’s border with Belarus — near the Chernobyl exclusion zone — after a call between President Volodymyr Zelensky and Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko. Ukraine had earlier refused to talk in Belarus, where Russian troops were stationed before the invasion.
The United Nations Security Council will hold a rare emergency special session of the General Assembly today to discuss Russia’s attack on Ukraine. India abstained from the procedural vote, but welcomed the talks between Moscow and Kyiv.
Russia’s invasion force has lost momentum and is having logistical and supply problems after facing stiff Ukrainian resistance, the White House claims. However, Russia military has claimed air superiority in Ukraine and alleged that Ukraine is using civilians as human “shield”.
The UN has said 102 civilians, including seven children, have been killed in Ukraine. The UN refugee agency has said tens of thousands are fleeing the fighting, with most crossing into Poland as the total count reaches 400,000. Others are seeking shelter in Hungary, Romania, Moldova and Slovakia. Pope Francis has called for corridors for civilians to escape the fighting.
Protests are building up against the invasion. Hundreds of thousands of people are taking part in solidarity marches from Berlin to Baghdad to Quito. Within Russia, over 5,000 people have been arrested for demonstrating against the attack.
European Union members have announced new sanctions and assured Ukraine of more military support in the coming days. The countries will even send fighter jets to help Ukraine counter the Russian assault, the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Sunday.