Negotiations between Russia and Ukraine concluded on Monday, and the two sides agreed to hold more talks in the coming days. It was the first round of talks since the Russian assault on Ukraine began.
The talks lasted about five hours and were held in Belarus near the borders of Ukraine and Russia. “We agreed to keep the negotiations going,” said Vladimir Medinsky, the head of the Russian delegation, as quoted by Russia’s RIA news agency.
According to the US’s RFE/RFL, Ukraine’s presidential press service said the two sides “discussed in detail a number of key topics on which they have prospects of finding mutually acceptable solutions.”
According to RT, Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said the two sides identified a number of priority topics on which “certain solutions have been outlined.”
Medinsky said that the two delegations found points they could agree on. He said the next round of talks will take place between the borders of Poland and Belarus.
Ahead of the talks, Zelensky’s office said the Ukrainian side would demand an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian troops. The Russians have made clear that they want Ukraine to declare its neutrality and pledge not to host strategic weapons that can target Moscow.
While the talks were being held, Zelensky formally submitted an application for Ukraine to join the EU. The move is largely symbolic since joining the EU takes time, and it’s unlikely all 27 EU states would support Ukraine’s membership while the country is fighting Russia, but it signals Zelensky is not ready to declare neutrality.
Fighting has continued across Ukraine, and the US and its European allies are pledging to send more weapons into the country. On Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin put Russia’s nuclear forces on “special” alert in response to sanctions and threats from the West.