Ukraine and Russia have agreed to start talks to end the war

Of Andrea Marinelli

In a possible turning point in the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia, delegations from the two countries have decided to meet in a border town with Belarus: Belarusian President Lukashenko has guaranteed security to the Ukrainian counter-doors and a negotiation without preconditions

In what could be a turning point in the war between Russia and Ukraine, which broke out after the invasion by Russian troops of Ukrainian territory, delegations from the two countries have decided to sit at the negotiating table, starting todayin a border town in Belarus.

The negotiation that led to this point was very hardand took place as the conflict continued, on the ground.

In the morning, Moscow sent an ultimatum to the Kiev government: the Russian delegation will wait for the Ukrainian one in Gomel, Belarus, until 3pm today (Moscow time, 1pm in Italy). If he doesn’t get an answer within that hour, Russian MP Leonid Slutsky said, Ukraine will be responsible for upcoming events. For the second day in a row, the Kremlin had tried to corner the Ukrainian counterpart, inviting it to a negotiation in Belarus which includes very tough conditions: no entry into the EU and NATO, complete disarmament and Finnishization of the country, or rather neutrality. After the first refusal received from Ukraine, yesterday Putin ordered an all-out offensive, while today, after having long said no to a negotiation, a Ukrainian delegation left Minsk and headed to Gomel to negotiate. At about 3pm (1pm Italian time) we received confirmation that the negotiations will take place in the Gomel regionRussian head of delegation Vladimir Medinsky announced to the state agency Tax.

The voice of Kiev was missing, which eventually arrived: the Ukrainian presidency confirmed negotiations with Russia on the border with Belarus. President Volodymyr Zelenskt announced that he had spoken with his Belarusian colleague Alexander Lukashenko, who guaranteed safety: he took responsibility for the fact that at the time of the departure of the negotiations and the return of the Ukrainian delegation, all the planes, helicopters and missiles placed on Belarusian territory. The two leaders, the Ukrainian presidency explained on Facebook, agreed that the Ukrainian delegation will meet the Russian delegation without preliminary conditions at the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, in the Pripyat River area. This morning Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov confirmed that a delegation made up of representatives from the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Defense and other agencies, including the presidential administration, already in Belarus for talks with the Ukrainians, adding that the fighting was not they would have stopped anyway.

We are ready, Peskov had said, and Zelensky replied that he was ready too, but not in Belarus, not in a country from which missiles are firing towards us.. In fact, Belarus is closely linked to Moscow, a military hangar of the Kremlin, as defined in this interview with Courier service Belarusian dissident Svetlana Tikhanovskaya: Russian troops invaded Ukraine, entering from the north, to attack Kiev, and missiles were fired, as Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko himself admitted in the morning. There is not a single Belarusian soldier, not a single bullet in Ukraine, the Belarusian president said. Taxconfirming for having launched two, three missile attacks from the south of the country towards Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict because Kiev has amassed three, four missile divisions near our border.

The Belarusian president presses from the north, and agitates the nuclear threat: sanctions, said the last dictator of Europe, push Russia towards the Third World War. If it were necessary to deploy nuclear weapons, we would deploy them according to this Constitution, the leader of Minsk, where today we vote for a constitutional referendum. In the event of victory, among other things, Article 18 will be removed, which has guaranteed the country’s nuclear neutrality since its independence from the Soviet Union in August 1991. We have developed plans to protect Belarus and agreed with Putin to deploy here such weapons, which they will make Poles and Lithuanians lose all desire to go to waradded Lukashenko.

a shame, he said later with respect to Zelensky’s rejection of the deal. Everyone is waiting for the Ukrainian delegation in Gomel, if their choice does not come. Do you think it was Volodymyr Zelensky who made the decision? No, he just talked. Zelensky spoke, yes: with Lukashenko on the phone, as he himself announced on Facebook, and publicly, indicating Warsaw, Bratislava, Budapest, Baku, Istanbul as possible venues for negotiations. In fact – as explained by the adviser to the Ukrainian presidency, Mykhailo Podolyak – the Russian delegation arrived in Gomel, Belarus, knowing that it is useless: the potion of Ukrainian President Zelensky remains that of accepting only real negotiations, zero ultimatum.

In the morning Putin had announced a speech to the nation, then suddenly canceled: according to the editorialist of the Financial Times Gideon Rachman, the Kremlin leader was convinced that Zelensky would accept the negotiation offer and he wanted to announce it on television, only to back off when the situation evolved, with the Ukrainian refusal. In a telephone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who offered himself for mediationPutin then noted – the Kremlin reports in a statement – that the Russian delegation is in the Belarusian city of Gomel and ready for negotiations with the representatives of Kiev, who, demonstrating inconsistency, have not yet taken advantage of this opportunity.

Ukraine has missed an opportunity, Putin said, who ordered the Armed Forces to alert the nuclear defense system after the statements of NATO leaders, which he defined as aggressive towards our country. Zelensky responded by announcing on Twitter that he had reported Russia to the International Court of Justice, the main judicial body of the United Nations. Russia – wrote the Ukrainian president – must be considered responsible for manipulating the concept of genocide to justify the aggression. We are calling for an urgent decision ordering Russia to cease military activity now and we expect the trials to begin next week.

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