Ukraine agrees to hold talks with Russia on Belarusian border
Russia said on Sunday that after some back and forth, Ukraine had agreed to send a team to Belarus for talks aimed at ending Russia’s military campaign in the country, RT reported.
Kiev has “confirmed” the planned talks in the Gomel region, close to the borders of Russia and Ukraine, Russian chief negotiator Vladimir Medinsky told reporters.
Medinsky, an aide to President Vladimir Putin and a former culture minister, added that the parties were now deciding on the logistics and exact location of the summit, with “maximum security” for Ukrainians, RT reported.
“We guarantee that the travel route will be 100% safe. We will wait for the Ukrainian delegation,” the chief Russian negotiator said.
The Russian team arrived in Gomel on Sunday, where they said talks were planned with the Ukrainians.
Kiev later said it wanted to negotiate on “neutral ground”, arguing that Russian troops were using Belarusian territory to stage attacks on Ukraine. Minsk, however, denied that its forces were taking part in the Russian operation, RT reported.
The Russians initially announced that their team would stay in Belarus until 3 p.m. local time. However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke by phone with his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko, asking to move the deadline, according to Lukashenko’s spokeswoman, Natalia Eismont, according to the report.
She said the Belarusian leader then spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who agreed to postpone the planned talks to a later date.
Zelensky confirmed the call with Lukashenko on social media, but did not comment on the talks.