Ukraine and Russia Met at Belarus Border Monday
Feb. 28, 2022 (EIRNS)—Delegations from Ukraine and Russia held talks Monday morning, Feb. 28, on the Belarus border, in an attempt to end Moscow’s military action, reported ABC News today. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had agreed to send a delegation to meet with Russian negotiators during a phone call on Feb. 27 with Belarus President Alexandr Lukashenko, a spokesman for President Zelenskyy’s office said.
The two sides began talks this morning at the Pripyat River on the border, north of Chernobyl, the spokesman said—an area currently under Russian military control. The Russian delegation was headed by Vladimir Medinsky, an aide to President Vladimir Putin and former Culture Minister; State Duma Deputy Leonid Slutsky, chairman of the Duma Committee on Foreign Affairs; and Russia’s Ambassador to Belarus Boris Gryzlov, as well as officials from Russia’s Foreign and Defense Ministries, whom ABC didn’t name. The Ukrainian delegation included Davyd Arakhamiya, a leader of Zelenskyy’s Servant of the People political faction; Oleskii Reznikov, the Ukraine Defense Minister; Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to the head of the presidential office; Andriy Kostin, the first deputy head of the Ukrainian Delegation to the Tripartite Contact Group; Rustem Umerov, a member of Ukraine’s unicameral Verkhovna Rada; and Deputy Foreign Minister Mykola Tochytsky. The talks were the first between the two sides.
In a televised address, Zelenskyy said: “I will be honest, as always: I do not really believe in the outcome of this meeting, but let them try,” and if there was a “chance” to end the war, he should participate in the talks. At the conclusion of the five hours, however, Podolyak said that the two sides had identified a number of priority topics, “on which certain solutions have been outlined.” Medinsky likewise said the two delegations found points on which common positions could be reached. The two sides returned to their countries for consultations, after agreeing, said Medinsky, “The next meeting will take place in the coming days on the Polish-Belarusian border.”
As the talks got underway, French President Emmanuel Macron and Putin spoke by phone. According to Macron’s office, “Putin purportedly agreed to halt all strikes against civilian targets” (Putin had stated from the outset that only military targets were being aimed at); to preserve civilian infrastructure; and to secure main roads, particularly the road south of Kyiv, for the delivery of humanitarian aid, reported ABC News.