Russia says 'some progress' being made in talks with Ukraine

AP , Wednesday 9 Mar 2022

Russia said Wednesday that negotiations with Kyiv to resolve the Ukraine conflict were making headway and underscored that Moscow's troops were not working to topple the Ukrainian government.

Russian-Ukrainian talks
Russian Ambassador to Belarus Boris Gryzlov (L), Russian deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko (2nd L), Russian Presidential Aide and the head of the Russian delegation Vladimir Medinsky (2nd R), Leonid Slutsky (R), chairman of the Russian State Duma s International Affairs Committee, speak to the media following the Russian-Ukrainian talks in Belarus Brest region on March 7, 2022. AFP

"Some progress has been made," foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said during a press briefing, referring to three rounds of talks with Kyiv.

Ukraine and Russia officials have been meeting on the Belarus-Poland border for talks to end fighting.

Zakharova said another round of talks will be focused on humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians.

She also said Moscow does not intend to occupy Ukraine or overthrow its government.

The army's aim is "not to occupy Ukraine, or the destruction of its statehood, or the overthrow of the government. It is not directed against the civilian population," Zakharova said.

President Vladimir Putin has said he sent in troops to Ukraine in order to "de-Nazify" the country.

Since Russian troops went in on February 24, they have advanced into the country and shelled Ukraine's main cities, forcing thousands to flee.

Moscow says it not to target civilian areas, despite widespread evidence otherwise.

Zakharova during the briefing accused Kyiv authorities of blocking efforts to evacuate civilians.

"Information about humanitarian corridors is deliberately not communicated to the population," she said.

"Persons wishing to leave for Russia are forced to evacuate in the Western direction," she said.

Russia and Ukraine have agreed a day-long ceasefire Wednesday around a series of evacuation corridors to allow civilians to escape fighting.

Moscow said this week it would set up evacuation corridors, but Kyiv said the proposed routes were unacceptable because some led to Russia.

Zakharova claimed that around two million Ukrainians want to be evacuated to Russia.

The UN refugee agency UNHCR has estimated the total number of Ukraine refugees at as many as 2.2 million.

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