Ukraine has “agreed to hold talks with Russia” and will dispatch a team to Belarus for the talks, Russian media RT reported on February 27.
Russia said that, after some back-and-forth, Ukraine agreed for the talks in Belarus to end the Russian military campaign in the country.
Kiev “confirmed” the planned talks in Gomel Region, which is close to the borders of both Russia and Ukraine, Russian chief negotiator Vladimir Medinsky told reporters.
Medinsky, an aide to president Vladimir Putin and former culture minister, added that the parties are now deciding on the logistics and the exact location of the summit, with “maximum security” for the Ukrainians, RT reported.
“We guarantee that the travel route will be 100 per cent safe. We will be waiting for the Ukrainian delegation,” the Russian chief negotiator said.
The Russian team arrived in Gomel on February 27, where it said talks were planned with the Ukrainians.
Kiev later said it wanted to negotiate on “neutral ground”, arguing that Russian troops were using Belarusian territory to stage attacks on Ukraine. Minsk, however, denied that its forces were participating in the Russian operation, RT reported.
The Russians initially said their team would stay in Belarus until 3 pm local time. However, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky spoke to his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko over the phone, asking to move the deadline, according to Lukashenko’s spokeswoman, Natalia Eismont, the report said.
She said the Belarusian leader then spoke to Russian president Vladimir Putin, who agreed to move the planned negotiations to a later time.
Zelensky confirmed the call with Lukashenko on social media, but has not commented on the talks.