Russia & Ukraine start third round of talks

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Delegations from Moscow and Kiev have arrived to western Belarus for a new round of talks amid the ongoing conflict

Moscow and Kiev officials started talks in western Belarus’ Brest region on Monday, amid Russia’s ongoing offensive in Ukraine. The Russian delegation is led by President Vladimir Putin’s aide, Vladimir Medinsky.

Speaking before the meeting, Medinsky told journalists that both sides would still focus on “the same issues”: The internal political situation in Ukraine, humanitarian aspects, and military issues.

The first round of the talks was held on February 28, four days into the large-scale military operation launched by Moscow to “demilitarize” and “denazify” Ukraine in the name of protecting the people of the two Donbass republics Russia has recently recognized. The initial talks, however, saw no breakthroughs.

During the second round, held on March 3, the sides agreed to establish humanitarian corridors to allow civilians in Ukraine to leave the combat zones.

However, the efforts on the ground have since been unsuccessful, with both sides accusing each other of disrupting the evacuation.

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People leave the city of Irpin, outside Kiev, Ukraine, March 7, 2022. © Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP
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On Monday, Medinsky said Russia and Ukraine would try “once again” to work out the details of the humanitarian corridors scheme. “In all the cities, where we have committed to establishing those corridors, our forces and those of the Donbass [republics] have ceased fire,” the presidential aide added.

Earlier on Monday, Moscow also confirmed that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov would meet his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, in Turkey on Thursday as part of an agreement reached by President Vladimir Putin and the Turkish leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov promised a “surprise” for Russia on the battlefield, as he hinted at “significant progress” in western military aid deliveries to Ukraine. Russia’s operation, which has seen some intense fighting, particularly near the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, has sparked a wave of condemnation in the West.

Western nations have slapped Russia with unprecedented military sanctions and vowed generous military aid to Ukraine, including small arms, artillery pieces, and even combat aircraft.

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