Russia And Ukraine Officials Meet In Belarus For Peace Talk

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  • Talks ended in Belarus without a resolution between Russia and Ukraine 
  • Ukraine had indicated it would request ceasefire and full withdrawal of Russians
  • Column of Belarusian military vehicles seen heading for southern border today 
  • President Vlodymyr Zelensky admitted he was not expecting positive outcome
  • Observers have warned the talks could be pretext for Moscow to ramp up attack
  • Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko seems poised to join Russian invasion

 

Ukraine and Moscow have ended a meeting with Kyiv slamming Russia’s ‘destructive processes’ as a huge convoy of Belarusian tanks and troop carriers is seen near the border.

The talks ended without resolutions and a second round of negotiations will be held in the coming days, with a member of the Ukrainian delegation today saying talks were difficult and the Russian side was biased.

 

 

 

Presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said on Twitter: ‘The Russian side, unfortunately, still has a very biased view of the destructive processes it has launched.’

Russian officials, meanwhile, said: ‘We have identified certain points from which we can predict general positions.’

Ukrainian President Vlodymyr Zelensky earlier admitted he was not confident of a positive resolution, adding that he owed it to his people to at least try and engage.

He had been reticent to agree to talks in Belarus, a country used as a staging ground for the Russian invasion and which is now poised to join the war, offering instead to meet in Istanbul, Warsaw or Baku.

Ukraine had indicated it would request a ceasefire and full withdrawal of Russian forces but Moscow remained tight lipped over what the negotiations, held at noon in Gomel in southeastern Belarus, would entail.

It comes as columns of Belarusian military vehicles were spotted today heading east from the south western corner of the country in what appeared to be preparations to join the invasion of Ukraine.

Some observers warned the talks could be a pretext for Moscow to ramp up its attacks on Ukraine if Kyiv’s officials refuse Russian demands.

 

 

 

Ukrainian and Russian officials today met for peace talks in Belarus as observers warned the talks could be a pretext for Moscow to ramp up its attack if Kyiv's officials refuse Russian demands

 

 

 

 

Ukrainian and Russian officials today met for peace talks in Belarus as observers warned the talks could be a pretext for Moscow to ramp up its attack if Kyiv’s officials refuse Russian demands

 

Columns of Belarusian military vehicles were spotted today heading east from the south western corner of the country in what appeared to be preparations to join the invasion of Ukraine

 

Columns of Belarusian military vehicles were spotted today heading east from the south western corner of the countryIt appeared to be preparations to join the invasion of Ukraine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Among those present at the talks were the Ukrainian defence minister, a lead advisor to the President’s office and the deputy minister of foreign affairs.

But while Ukraine sent its defence minister and other top officials, the Russian delegation was led by Putin’s adviser on culture – an unlikely envoy for ending the war and perhaps a sign of how Moscow views the talks.

Meanwhile ahead of peace talks today Russian military officials ordered heavy strategic bomber flights as part of what appears to be efforts to prevent international aid from reaching Ukraine.

Observers have warned the order suggests Vladimir Putin’s forces are preparing to ramp up the bombardment of Ukraine in the coming days.

 

Richard Nass, president of the Council of Foreign Affairs, warned recent developments mean the most likely development of the conflict is ‘conventional’ military escalation by Russia, rather than a diplomatic breakthrough.

Nass, writing on Twitter, speculated that Moscow was using negotiations to ‘appear somewhat reasonable’ to slow sanctions against Russia as well as help to Ukraine.

But he warned the Kremlin’s forces were likely to turn to ‘more destructive munitions’ if peace talks collapse, using the failure to negotiate a diplomatic breakthrough as a pretext.

Delegations from Ukraine and Russia, including aides to both Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky, hold peace talks in Belarus' Gomel region

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Delegations from Ukraine and Russia, including aides to both Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky, hold peace talks in Belarus’ Gomel region

 

As outgunned but determined Ukrainian forces slowed the Russian advance and sanctions crippled the Russian economy, the military confirmed that its nuclear forces were on high alert, following President Vladimir Putin’s order.

While that raised the unimaginable specter of nuclear conflict, it was unclear what practical effect it had.

A tense calm reigned in Kyiv by Monday morning, explosions and gunfire were heard in embattled cities in eastern Ukraine, and terrified Ukrainian families huddled overnight in shelters, basements or corridors.

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