A Ukrainian official said that Russia and Ukraine agreed during the second round of talks in Belarus on Thursday to establish humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians from conflict zones in Ukraine.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said the two sides tentatively agreed to establish temporary ceasefires in certain areas to help civilian evacuations.
“That is, not everywhere, but only in those places where the humanitarian corridors themselves will be located, it will be possible to ceasefire for the duration of the evacuation,” Podolyak said.
The agreement was confirmed by Vladimir Medinsky, the head of the Russian delegation. “We managed to find mutual understanding for some [issues raised during the talks], but the main issue that was resolved today is the rescue of people, civilians, who have found themselves in the zone of military clashes,” he said, according to Sputnik.
Leonid Slutsky, another Russian negotiator, said an understanding was reached on the corridors, but the Russian and Ukrainian militaries still need to work out the details.
Podolyak said the two sides agreed to hold a third round of talks soon. “We agreed to continue our work in the third round in the nearest future,” he said.
Russia has made clear that its terms for a full ceasefire include Ukraine declaring its neutrality. In the first round of talks, Russia reportedly asked Ukraine to commit to neutrality at the parliamentary level and organize a referendum. Russia also wants Ukraine to recognize the independence of the breakaway Donbas republics of Donetsk and Luhansk and recognize Crimea as Russian territory.