Ukrainian and Russian officials held talks via video link for the second day on Tuesday and are set to hold more Wednesday, a member of the Ukrainian delegation said.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, described the talks as “very difficult” but said there was room for compromise.
“We’ll continue tomorrow. A very difficult and viscous negotiation process. There are fundamental contradictions. But there is certainly room for compromise. During the break, work in subgroups will be continued,” Podolyak wrote on Twitter.
Earlier in the day, Ihor Zhovkva, Zelensky’s deputy chief of staff, said the talks between the US and Russia had become “more constructive” and said Russia is no longer demanding Ukraine surrender.
One of Russia’s key demands for a ceasefire is for Ukraine to declare its neutrality. Zelensky signaled he was willing to compromise on that issue on Tuesday when he said Ukraine must “acknowledge” that it will not become a NATO member, although he is still pleading for more Western military support.
Before the video conferences started on Monday, Ukrainian and Russian officials held three rounds of in-person talks in Belarus. Officials said they’d reached agreements on humanitarian corridors during the Belarus talks.
The two sides have accused each other of preventing civilians from fleeing conflict zones. Ukrainian officials said that about 20,000 civilians had evacuated from the city of Mariupol on Tuesday via humanitarian corridors.
The US has still not shown any sign of pushing for diplomacy between Ukraine and Russia to end the fighting. Instead, the US is fueling the conflict by sending weapons into Ukraine and imposing harsh sanctions on Russia.