Russian and Ukrainian negotiators are set to resume face-to-face peace talks today, with President Volodymyr Zelensky saying he hoped they would bring peace “without delay”. The new talks are set to start in Turkey on either today or tomorrow. Several previous rounds of peace talks have failed to halt the fighting or overcome fundamental disagreements about Kyiv’s alignment with the West and Russia’s occupation of Ukrainian territory. Neither intense diplomacy nor steadily mounting sanctions have persuaded Putin to halt the war.
Here are 10 updates:
Setting out his negotiating red lines, Zelensky said in a late-night video message: “Our goal is obvious — peace and the restoration of normal life in our native state as soon as possible. Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are beyond doubt. Effective security guarantees for our state are mandatory.”
Zelensky has previously indicated he is “carefully” considering a Russian demand of Ukrainian “neutrality”.
“This point of the negotiations is understandable to me and it is being discussed, it is being carefully studied,” Zelensky said during an interview with several independent Russian news organisations.
The UN estimates that at least 1,100 civilians have died and more than 10 million have been displaced in a devastating war that has gone on far longer than Moscow expected.
However, it remains to be seen whether talks will be hampered by US President Joe Biden’s shock declaration that Putin “cannot remain in power”. The ad-libbed remark sparked outrage in Moscow.
The unscripted comment prompted concern by French President Emmanuel Macron, the U.K. and Republican lawmakers, all of whom warned against further escalating tension with Russia over the war in Ukraine.
However, asked by reporters Sunday if he had been calling for regime change, Biden responded: “No.” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also told media that was “not the objective of NATO, nor that of the US president.”
Meanwhile, on Saturday, Russian shelling damaged a nuclear research facility in Kharkiv, although on-site radiation levels remain within standard limits.
Ukraine has ordered 5,100 light anti-tank weapons from German’s Dynamit Nobel Defence GmbH at a cost of 25 million euros ($27.5 million), Bild am Sonntag reported, citing Andrij Melnyk, Kyiv’s ambassador to Germany.
Some 2,650 of the type RGW90 HH “Matador” weapons arrived in Ukraine on Saturday. The rest will be sent in weekly tranches through the end of May, according to the newspaper.
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