Russia offensive in Ukraine continues …as new round of talks awaited

A new round of talks between Russia and Ukraine was expected to take place Thursday morning in Belovezhskaya Pushcha on the Belarus-Poland border, as military activity continues in Ukraine.

Russian presidential aide, Vladimir Medinsky, said the Russian delegation headed by him arrived at the negotiating site on Wednesday evening. 

The Ukrainian side is expected to arrive on Thursday morning, Medinsky said, adding that Russia and Ukraine agreed on the location for the new round of talks. Russia’s military has established a safe corridor to allow the Ukrainian delegation move through Ukrainian territory, he said. 

The possibility of a ceasefire, among other things, would be discussed during the talks, according to the official. 

However, David Arakhamia, parliamentary faction leader of the Party of Servant of the People in Ukraine, said on Facebook that “information that the talks will be held in Belovezhskaya Pushcha is not true. Indeed, the talks will take place, but in another venue.

All details will be provided later,” the Interfax news agency reported Thursday.

The first round of negotiations between Russia and Ukraine concluded on Monday with no clear breakthrough. Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said on Facebook that Kiev was ready to negotiate, but would not comply with “Russian ultimatums.” 

Kuleba and U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, discussed new sanctions against Russia and a new supply of defensive weapons for Ukraine in a phone conversation on Wednesday. 

Kuleba emphasised that Ukraine was committed to finding diplomatic ways for settling the conflict with Russia, but Kiev’s allies must show unity in increasing pressure on Russia “until Moscow demonstrates its readiness for constructive negotiations.”

On the same day, Russian President, Vladimir Putin, held several telephone conversations on the situation in Ukraine with foreign leaders, including Kazakh, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, and Israeli Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett. 

The Russian Defense Ministry announced Wednesday that 498 Russian servicemen have been killed in the course of the “special military operation” in Ukraine, while around 3,700 Ukrainian servicemen have been injured and 2,870 others killed. 

Earlier in the day, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Igor Konashenkov, said 1,502 Ukrainian military facilities have been destroyed in the Russian operation.  -Xinhua

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