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28 Feb, 2022 07:20

Russian-Ukrainian peace talks to begin on Monday

The negotiations in Belarus are aimed at ending the Russian military operation in Ukraine
Russian-Ukrainian peace talks to begin on Monday

Moscow and Kiev are set to hold talks in Belarus on Monday, four days after Russia began a military attack on Ukraine.  

Russian forces entered the neighboring state early Thursday morning, claiming that the operation was in defense of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, two regions which broke off from Kiev shortly after the 2014 "Maidan" in the capital. Ukraine said the move was an act of unprovoked aggression.

The talks are scheduled to begin in Belarus, at an undisclosed location close to the Ukrainian border. The Belarusian Foreign Ministry published a photo of the room for the negotiations on Monday morning.

Sputnik Belarus quoted a source on Monday as saying that Ukrainians have arrived in the country, and video later emerged of helicopters landing at the site. 

The talks were initially expected to take place in the city of Gomel in eastern Belarus on Saturday, but the Ukrainians refused to send a team due to disagreements over the location and preliminary terms, Kiev said at the time.

Ukrainian officials argued that it was inappropriate to hold talks in Belarus because Russian troops were using its territory to stage attacks against Ukraine. Minsk denied that its forces were participating in the Russian operation.

After a phone call between Presidents Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine and Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus on Saturday, Kiev agreed to the arrangement. However, the arrival of the Ukrainian team was further delayed due to logistical issues.