Ukraine and Russia agree to talks without preconditions, Zelenskiy says – UPDATE

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LVIV, Ukraine, Feb 27 (Reuters) – Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet for talks at a venue on the Belarusian border with Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s office said on Sunday.

The talks, the first since Russia unleashed a full scale invasion of Ukraine last week, would be held without preconditions and are the result of a phone call between Zelenskiy and the Belarusian president, Zelenskiy said.

“We agreed that the Ukrainian delegation would meet with the Russian delegation without preconditions on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, near the Pripyat River,” he said in a statement.

Russia dropped preconditions to talks after military setbacks, Ukraine says

Russia dropped its preconditions for talks after suffering military setbacks, Ukraine’s foreign minister said on Sunday, adding that Ukraine would attend the talks to listen to what Russia had to say. 

Dmytro Kuleba also told a briefing that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s move to put nuclear forces on high alert was timed to put pressure on Ukraine during the negotiations.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Sunday said Russia had agreed to talks at a venue on the Belarusian border, the first since Russia unleashed a full-scale invasion of its neighbour last week. 

Russia denies talks with Ukraine have started, officials arriving – Interfax

Russia denied on Sunday that talks with Ukraine had begun but said the two sides were arriving at the destination for negotiations, Interfax news agency quoted the Foreign Ministry as saying.

The negotiations could possibly offer some room to try to de-escalate the crisis after Russia invaded Ukraine from several directions. Earlier, an adviser to Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said the talks had already begun.

(Reporting by Natalia Zinets, Writing by Matthias Williams;Editing by Andrew Cawthorne, Alison Williams)

Photo Ukrainian refugees at the train station in Przemysl, southeastern Poland, 27 February 2022. Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, over 156,000 refugees have entered Poland from that country, the Polish Border Guard has reported in the morning 27 February. Russian troops entered Ukraine on 24 February prompting the country’s president to declare martial law and triggering a series of announcements by Western countries to impose severe economic sanctions on Russia. EPA-EFE/Darek Delmanowicz POLAND OUT

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