Belarus hails Russia-Ukraine negotiations
As the Russian military attack on Ukraine continues, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has praised the initial round of talks between Moscow and Kiev after the two sides met to discuss the high-stakes situation in the Eastern European nation.
Speaking at a meeting of his security council on Tuesday, Minsk’s long-term leader commended Russian and Ukrainian diplomats, remarking that “the negotiators are just great, simply awesome. They did even more than what was possible. They did their job brilliantly during the five hours of the first stage [of talks].”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, however, appeared less optimistic about the outcome of negotiations. In his address to the nation on Monday evening, he complained that Kiev did not achieve its desired outcome.
“So far, we do not have the result that we would like to achieve. Russia stated its position. We voiced our counterarguments [on how to] end the war. We received some signals. When the delegation returns to Kiev, we will analyze what we have heard and then we will decide how to proceed to the second round of negotiations,” he revealed.
Earlier the same day, the head of the Russian delegation, Vladimir Medinsky, confirmed that Russian and Ukrainian diplomats will depart from Belarus and discuss the outcome of the first round of crunch talks.
He emphasized that their main achievement is that the delegations have agreed to resume talks in a bid to establish peace. “The negotiations with the Ukrainian side lasted about five hours. We went through all the items on the agenda in detail and found some points on which we can predict common positions. Most importantly, we agreed to continue the negotiation process. The next meeting will take place in the coming days on the Polish-Belarusian border,” Medinsky revealed.
The first round of negotiations took place on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, in the Gomel region of Belarus. Initially, Kiev rejected the proposal of hosting the talks in the former Soviet Republic, accusing Minsk of supporting Russia’s military operation.
Russian troops streamed across the border into its neighbor early on Thursday morning following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s address to the nation. The goal of the offensive, according to the Kremlin, is “to protect the people [of Donbass] who have been tortured for eight years by the Ukrainian regime.”
Putin also called for the complete “demilitarization” and “denazification” of Ukraine, and vowed to prosecute those who were involved in “numerous bloody crimes against civilians.” Moscow’s incursion into Ukraine followed an official request from the leaders of the recently recognized Donetsk (DPR) and Lugansk (DPR) People’s Republics for “help in repelling the Ukrainian military aggression.”