Delegations from Ukraine and Russia are in talks on the Ukraine-Belarus border. Today is day 5 of the Russian military offensive in Ukraine. How promising is this diplomatic engagement?
On February 24, Russian President Putin announced the launch of a military operation in Ukraine. Since then heavy fighting has been going on in Eastern, Northern, and Southern Ukraine. Immediately after the start of the war, Russia offered talks to Ukraine in Minsk Belarus.
Ukraine refused to hold talks with Russia in Minsk. Belarus is a Russian ally. More than 30000 Russian troops are deployed to Belarus. Russian troops entered Ukrainian Chernihiv and Chernobyl regions from Belarus in the last 4 days.
Ukraine does not see Minsk as impartial. It offered to hold talks with Russia on the Belarus-Ukraine border. The talks started on Sunday. Today an hour ago, the two delegations again arrived on the Ukraine-Belarus border.
The talks are being conducted behind closed doors. No official statements have been issued about these negotiations so far. Meanwhile fighting rages on in several parts of Ukraine. Major Russian offensives on Ukrainian capital Kiev and 2nd largest Ukrainian city Kharkiv are underway. Street fighting is being reported in both Ukrainian cities.
Before the start of talks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called upon Russian soldiers to lay down arms and he demanded the Russian military to leave Ukraine.
Russia, on the other hand, has been accusing Ukraine of playing second fiddle to alleged ambitions of NATO and Western countries to corner Russia. Russia recognized disputed Luhansk and Donetsk regions as countries hours before launching a military offensive on Ukraine. It took a step ahead after that demanding that the borders of Luhansk and Donetsk be restored to 2014 position. Read more
In another major development last night, the EU announced the deployment of fighter jets to support the Ukrainian forces. While the Russia-Ukraine war carries the risk of spreading into neighboring countries, all eyes are on the Russia-Ukraine diplomatic engagement on the Ukraine-Belarus border.