Ukraine rejects Russian offer of talks in Belarus, leaves door open in other locations
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy rejected the Kremlin's offer of talks in Belarus on Sunday, saying the country was a staging ground for the Russian invasion, reported agencies. Zelenskiy, however, left the door to negotiations open in other locations. Russia had offered to hold talks with Ukrainian officials in the Belarusian city of Gomel. Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, meanwhile, called on Kyiv to sit down and hold talks with Russia so that Ukraine does not lose its statehood, Russia's RIA news agency reported.
In a video message, Zelenskiy named Warsaw, Bratislava, Istanbul, Budapest or Baku as alternative venues.
The development comes as Russian troops entered Kharkivm the second-largest city of Ukraine, leading to street fights between Ukraine and Russian soldiers. Zelenskiy said Russian forces are deliberately attacking residential areas to hurt people.
Soon after Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the go-ahead for what Russia is declining to call war but a special military operation, Russia has been sending feelers to Ukraine that Russia is ready to talk. The Kremlin earlier said Putin was ready to send a delegation to Belarus which had hosted rounds of peace talks over the Ukrainian crisis.
Ukraine’s refusal so far has been utilised by Russia to strengthen its operation on Ukraine with the Kremlin accusing Kyiv of prolonging the conflict by turning down Russia’s olive branch.
Why Belarus and why Ukraine does not want Belarus in this
The landlocked country of eastern Europe held past negotiations between Ukraine and Russia. But Belarus has been accused of being complicit in Russia’s attack on Ukraine and sanctions has also been imposed on Belarus for taking the side of Russia.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, in a visit to Hong Kong on the city's handover anniversary on Thursday, told crowds that the city has been “reborn of fire” and “risen from the ashes” in what appeared to be references to the pro-democracy protests quelled by security forces in 2019 and a large-scale Covid-19 outbreak earlier this year.
Hong Kong has 'risen from the ashes', China president Xi Jinping said Thursday on a rare visit to the former British colony. Xi Jinping's was in Hong Kong to celebrate 25 year since it was returned to China and administer the oath of office to the global financial hub's new leader, John Lee. Today was Xi Jinping's first visit to Hong Kong since 2017.
Chaos erupted in Kabul as several explosions and gunfires were reported close to the hall where the 'Loya Jirga' or the grand assembly of religious scholars and elders is underway, local media reported. The exact cause and location of the gunfire is not clear yet. The Freedom Fighters Front in its statement said that its 'special forces' had attacked the Taliban gathering. But the Taliban regime has not said anything, Aamaj News English, reported.
Canada extended all existing Covid-related border restrictions till at least September 30 this year, the government announced on Wednesday. The restrictions include a mandatory 14-day quarantine for everyone except the fully vaccinated, which in this case means having taken the primary series of two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine approved by Canadian health authorities. Those not considered fully vaccinated will also be tested on the first and eighth days after their entry into Canada.
A Congolese woman was kidnapped twice by militants in the Democratic Republic of Congo, repeatedly raped and forced to cook and eat human flesh, a Congolese rights group told the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday. Julienne Lusenge, president of women's rights group Female Solidarity for Integrated Peace and Development (SOFEPADI), told the woman's story while addressing the 15-member council about the conflict-torn east of Congo.