Delegations of Ukraine and Russia have started negotiations in Belarus. The government in Kyiv is sceptical but aims for an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of Russian troops, President Volodimir Zelensky’s office said.
Russia did not want to give up its objective in advance.
The Ukrainians arrived by helicopter at the meeting point in Belarus, near the border with Ukraine. The delegation includes defence minister Oleksii Reznikov and Zelensky’s adviser Mychajlo Podoljak.
The Russians had arrived earlier and are represented by, among others, Leonid Slutsky, the chairman of the parliament’s foreign committee.
Belarus, an ally of Russia, has decorated a meeting room with flags of the three countries. Ukraine initially refused negotiations in Belarus but later agreed after security guarantees were given, among other things, by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
President Zelensky does not have high expectations but is willing to give it a try.