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Ukraine: President Zelensky Confirms Russia And Ukraine Will Meet For Negotiations

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Ukraine: President Zelensky Confirms Russia And Ukraine Will Meet For Negotiations

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has reportedly said negotiations between Kyiv and Moscow will be held at the Belarusian-Ukrainian border.

In a new statement, Zelensky's office said the two delegations will meet 'without preconditions' near the Pripyat River, Sky News reports.

The news comes after Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko spoke to Zelensky earlier today, February 27.

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'Alexander Lukashenko has taken responsibility for ensuring that all planes, helicopters and missiles stationed on Belarusian territory remain on the ground during the Ukrainian delegation's travel, talks and return,' the statement said.

Zelensky had previously refused to meet with a Russian delegation in Belarus, as he believes Minsk itself is complicit in the Russian invasion, though he did not rule out negotiations in other locations, per Reuters.

Volodymyr Zelensky (Alamy)
Volodymyr Zelensky (Alamy)

Following Zelensky's conversation with Lukashenko, the statement read, per BBC News: 'We agreed that the Ukrainian delegation would meet with the Russian delegation without preconditions on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, near the Pripyat River.'

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Zelensky previously turned down the offer of negotiations in Minsk as Russian forces had entered Ukraine through Belarus.

Neither Belarus or Russia have yet offered a statement on the matter.

Shortly before the announcement of a talks agreement, reports came through that Russian president Vladimir Putin had order the country's nuclear deterrent forces to be 'on alert'.

Speaking at a meeting with his top officials, Putin said leading NATO powers had made 'aggressive statements' along with the West imposing hard-hitting financial sanctions against Russia, including the president himself, according to PA.

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Putin ordered the Russian defence minister and the chief of the military’s General Staff to put the nuclear deterrent forces in a 'special regime of combat duty'.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin (Alamy)
President of Russia Vladimir Putin (Alamy)

The US ambassador to the United Nations immediately condemned the move as an 'unacceptable escalation'.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield said: 'It means that President Putin is continuing to escalate this war in a manner that is totally unacceptable and we have to continue to stem his actions in the strongest possible way.'

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Sky News correspondent Diana Magnay said the decision was an 'incredibly dramatic, escalatory move' that will 'really, really worry people'.

'This is the first time that we've ever had a situation, in Putin's reign at least, where he has put his nuclear forces ready essentially for combat duty, on high alert,' she said.

If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information 

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: News, Ukraine, Russia, World News, Volodymyr Zelensky, Vladimir Putin

Charlie Cocksedge
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