Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet for talks at the Belarusian border.
“We agreed that the Ukrainian delegation would meet with the Russian delegation without preconditions on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, near the Pripyat River,” the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a statement on Sunday.
No dates or times have been established for the meeting amidst the ongoing conflicts across Ukraine.
Putin indicated that he was ready for “talks” as early as Friday, according to the Kremlin. Zelensky had initially resisted meeting in Belarus due to the country’s pro-Moscow relationship, and had stated in an address that he would prefer to meet at other locations, such as Warsaw, Bratislava, Istanbul, Budapest or Baku.
“Any other city in a country from whose territory missiles do not fly would suit us,” Zelensky emphasized.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett proposed in a phone call with Putin to act as a mediator between the two nations, according to a readout released by the Kremlin. Zelensky had proposed the idea to Bennett on Friday, reported The Times of Israel, due to Israel’s relationship with both nations. It is unclear if the assistance will be approved.
US officials are skeptical of Russia’s intentions. “Now we see Moscow suggesting that diplomacy take place at the barrel of a gun, or as Moscow’s rockets, mortars, artillery target the Ukrainian people,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said at a Friday briefing. “This is not real diplomacy. Those are not the conditions for real diplomacy.” Price was responding to statements from the Kremlin claiming that Putin was “ready” for talks with Zelensky.