New round of talks between Russia and Ukraine offers a glimmer of tentative hope

New round of talks between Russia and Ukraine offers a glimmer of tentative hope

Shafaq News/ Ukraine said it would seek to discuss a ceasefire, immediate withdrawal of troops and security guarantees with Russia on Monday after both sides reported rare progress at the weekend, despite fierce Russian bombardments.

Previous rounds of talks have had similar aims but have ended up focused mainly on humanitarian issues and agreed ceasefires to supply towns and cities under siege by Russian forces have frequently failed.

"Russia still has a delusion that 19 days of violence against (Ukrainian) peaceful cities is the right strategy," Ukrainian President aide said ahead of the talks that begun via videoconference earlier today, Monday.

Russia denies targeting civilians, describing its actions as a "special operation" to demilitarise and "deNazify" Ukraine. Ukraine and Western allies call this a baseless pretext for a war of choice.

Moscow said earlier it saw no reason for United Nations peacekeepers to be sent to Ukraine, a prospect that had not been widely considered up to now. Pyotr Ilyichev, director of the minitry's international organisations department, said there was no need for peacekeepers as Russia was in control, RIA reported.

Moscow widened its assault on Sunday with an attack on a base near the border with NATO member Poland.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, discussed diplomatic efforts to stop Russia's invasion, the State Department said, after Russia and Ukraine gave upbeat assessments of weekend negotiations.

"Russia is already beginning to talk constructively," Ukraine negotiator Podolyak said in a video online. "I think that we will achieve some results literally in a matter of days."

A Russian delegate to the talks, Leonid Slutsky, was quoted by the RIA news agency as saying the negotiators had made significant progress and it was possible they could soon reach draft agreements.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the countries' delegations had been speaking daily by video link and a clear aim of his negotiators was to "do everything" to arrange for him to meet Putin.

"We must hold on. We must fight. And we will win," Zelenskiy said in a late night video speech.

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