Talks between Ukraine and Russia have started at the Belarusian border, a Ukrainian presidential adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, told Reuters via text message on Monday.
Earlier the Ukrainian president’s office said Ukraine’s goal for the talks was an immediate cease-fire and the withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine.
The Ukrainian delegation included the head of Servant of the People party David Arahamiya, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, an adviser to the Ukrainian presidential office Mykhailo Podolyak, First Deputy Head of the Ukrainian Delegation to the Tripartite Contact Group Andriy Kostin and lawmakers Rustem Umerov and Mykola Tochytsky.
The key issue of the talks is an immediate cease-fire and the withdrawal of troops from Ukraine, the office said.
“We definitely have an interest in reaching some agreements as soon as possible,” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aide, Vladimir Medinsky, who traveled to Belarus for the talks, said in televised remarks before meeting.
The Kremlin said it would not declare its official position ahead of talks with the Ukrainian delegation on Monday as Moscow’s assault against Ukraine went into its fifth day.
“I suggest we wait for the talks,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters. “I would not declare any negotiating positions,” he added.
Putin had vowed to “demilitarize” and “denazify” Ukraine when he launched his offensive, accusing Kyiv of orchestrating an alleged “genocide” of Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said he is sceptical about the possibility of a breakthrough.