Ukraine agrees to meet with Russia in Belarus for talks

Ukraine has said it would hold talks with Russia at its border with Belarus, near the Chernobyl exclusion zone, after initially rejecting to attend talks with Russia in Belarus. 

This is coming after a phone call between President Volodymyr Zelensky and Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko.

“The politicians agreed that the Ukrainian delegation would meet the Russian one without preconditions at the Ukraine-Belarus border, near the Pripyat River,” Zelensky’s office said in a statement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that a Russian delegation was currently in the Belarusian city of Gomel. Zelensky previously suggested that negotiations could be held in Istanbul, Warsaw, Bratislava, Budapest or Baku.

“Warsaw, Bratislava, Budapest, Istanbul, Baku. We proposed all of them,” Zelensky said earlier on Feb. 27 in an address posted online.

Zelensky stressed that Russia has been carrying out some of its attacks on Ukraine from Belarus, therefore he is open to talks only in locations that are “not showing aggression” toward his country.

“And any other city in a country from whose territory missiles do not fly would suit us,” he stated.

Zelensky reiterated his country’s call to Turkey for closing the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits to the passage of Russian warships.

“I thank my friend Mr. President of [Turkey] @RTErdogan and the people of [Turkey] for their strong support. The ban on the passage of [Russian] warships to the Black Sea and significant military and humanitarian support for [Ukraine] are extremely important today. The people of [Ukraine] will never forget that!” he tweeted on Feb. 26.

Turkey had earlier offered to mediate between Moscow and Kiev even before Russia attacked Ukraine. Erdo─čan earlier invited both Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin for a face-to-face summit in Istanbul.

Ankara has repeatedly called the Russian invasion of Ukraine “unacceptable.”

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