Ukraine says to meet Russia for talks at Belarus border

AP , Sunday 27 Feb 2022

Ukraine said Sunday it would hold talks with Russia at its border with Belarus -- near the Chernobyl exclusion zone -- after a call between President Volodymyr Zelensky and Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko.

Alexander Lukashenko and Volodymyr Zelensky
Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko (L) and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

"The politicians agreed that the Ukrainian delegation would meet the Russian one without preconditions at the Ukraine-Belarus border, near the Pripyat River," Zelensky's office said.

Zelensky has said he will not hold talks with Russia on the territory of Belarus, where some Russian troops were stationed before invading on Ukraine's northern border.

But Kyiv said Lukashenko assured Zelensky that "all planes, helicopters and missiles stationed on Belarus territory will remain on the ground during the travel, negotiations and return of the Ukrainian delegation".

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that a Russian delegation was currently in the Belarusian city of Gomel.

Moscow has wanted to hold the talks in Kremlin-aligned Belarus.

Zelensky, refusing to travel to Minsk, said Kyiv had proposed "Warsaw, Bratislava, Budapest, Istanbul, Baku" as options to Russia.

Ukraine fought off an incursion by Russian troops into its second city Kharkiv on Sunday, the fourth day of the invasion, but Putin raised international alarm by putting nuclear forces on alert.

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