Ukraine rejects Russian offer of talks in Belarus, leaves door open in other locations

Russia-Ukraine war: On the 4th day of the ongoing tension, Russian and Ukraine are both ready for talks, but they are yet not on the same page, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he won't talk with Russia in Belarus. 
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the Elysee Palace, Dec. 9, 2019, in Paris.(AP / File)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the Elysee Palace, Dec. 9, 2019, in Paris.(AP / File)
Published on Feb 27, 2022 01:31 PM IST
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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.

Follow live updated of Russia-Ukraine war

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.

Abe questions US over Taiwan after Ukraine fiasco by the West

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.

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