Russia-Ukraine peace talks in Belarus: Ukrainian delegations demand 'immediate ceasefire' and 'withdrawal of Russian troops'

 Russia has been cagier about the talks, with the Kremlin declining to comment on Moscow's aim. The talks are being held on the border with a strong Russian ally Belarus.


Ceasefire talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials began on the Belarusian border on Monday as Russia faced deepening economic isolation four days after invading Ukraine.

Ukrainian and Russian delegations are meeting at the Belarusian border near the Chernobyl exclusion zone -- after a call between President Volodymyr Zelensky and Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko. This is their first direct talks since Russia's invasion began on Thursday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office said that they have demanded an immediate cease-fire from Russia. Zelenskyy’s office further mentioned that the negotiations were aimed at ensuring an "immediate ceasefire" and the "withdrawal of Russian troops" from Ukrainian territory.

Russian forces have seized two small cities in southeastern Ukraine and the area around a nuclear power plant, as per reports by the Russian news agency Interfax.

Russia has been cagier about the talks, with the Kremlin declining to comment on Moscow's aim. The talks are being held on the border with a strong Russian ally Belarus.

Notably, President Vladimir Putin dramatically escalated East-West tensions by ordering Russian nuclear forces put on high alert Sunday. Citing “aggressive statements” by NATO and tough financial sanctions, Putin issued a directive to increase the readiness of Russia’s nuclear weapons.

Ukraine agreed to the talks around the same time as Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered defence chiefs to put nuclear "deterrence forces" on high alert. The US has slammed him for "manufacturing threats that don't exist" because his invasion of Ukraine "has been halted".

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