Russian-Ukrainian peace talks to begin on Monday

The negotiations in Belarus are aimed at ending the Russian military operation in Ukraine

Moscow and Kiev are set to hold talks in Belarus on Monday amid Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.

Russia attacked the neighboring state early Thursday morning, arguing that it was defending the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, two regions with a sizeable portion of Russian speakers, which broke off from Ukraine shortly after the 2014 coup in Kiev. Ukraine said the move was an act of unprovoked aggression.

The talks are scheduled to begin in Belarus somewhere close to the Ukrainian border. The Belarusian Foreign Ministry published a photo of the room for the negotiations on Monday morning. The country is prepared to organize the talks “at any moment,” Anatoly Glaz, a foreign ministry spokesman, said. 

Sputnik Belarus quoted a source on Monday as saying the Ukrainians have arrived in the country.

⚡️Анатолий #Глаз: белорусская сторона готова организовать процесс в любую минуту.

Переговоры начнутся, как только все делегации прибудут к месту встречи

— МИД Беларуси 🇧🇾 (@BelarusMID) February 28, 2022

The talks were initially expected to take place in the city of Gomel in eastern Belarus on Saturday, but the Ukrainians refused to send a team due to disagreements over the location and preliminary terms, Kiev said at the time.

Ukrainian officials argued that it was inappropriate to hold talks in Belarus because Russian troops were using its territory to stage attacks against Ukraine. Minsk denied that its forces were participating in the Russian operation.

After a phone call between Presidents Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine and Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus on Saturday, Kiev agreed to the talks. However, the arrival of the Ukrainian team was further delayed due to logistical issues.

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