Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy rejected a Russian offer of talks in Belarus on Sunday, saying Minsk itself was complicit in the Russian invasion, but leaving the door open to negotiations in other locations.
The Kremlin said on Sunday its delegation was ready to meet Ukrainian officials in the Belarusian city of Gomel.
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Zelenskyy said Ukraine was willing to hold talks with Russia, but rejected convening them in neighboring Belarus as it was being used as a launchpad for Moscow’s invasion.
“Warsaw, Bratislava, Budapest, Istanbul, Baku. We proposed all of them,” Zelenskyy said in an address posted online.
“And any other city in a country from whose territory missiles do not fly would suit us,” the 44-year-old president said.
“That’s the only way talks can be honest. And could put an end to war.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine that has already cost some 200 civilian lives and drawn global condemnation.
Moscow says Kyiv’s forces must surrender and the country should agree to become a “neutral” territory, conditions seen widely as unacceptable by Ukraine.
Russian ground forces have pressed into Ukraine from the north, east and south but have encountered fierce resistance from Ukrainian troops, the intensity of which has likely surprised Moscow, according to Western sources.
Putin on Sunday congratulated members of special forces, saying they fought “heroically” in Ukraine.
“Special gratitude to those who these days are heroically fulfilling their military duty in the course of a special operation to provide assistance to the people’s republics of Donbas,” Putin said in a televised address.
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