Ukraine-Russia Ceasefire Talks Amid Heavy Fighting
by Stefan Bos, Chief International Worthy News Correspondent
MINSK/KYIV (Worthy News) – Amid relentless attacks by Russian forces, negotiators for Kyiv and Moscow have begun ceasefire talks in Belarus. But expectations were not high as the Russian invasion of Ukraine entered its 5th day.
While fighting continued, the leader of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko, hosted the first face-to-face talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials since the Russian invasion began.
However, before the meeting, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that he was not hopeful it would end the hostilities. He said he does “not want to see missiles, airplanes, and helicopters flying to Ukraine or troops entering the country from neighboring Belarus,” Russia’s ally.
He added: “I don’t believe that much in the result of this meeting. But let them try so that not a single citizen of Ukraine has any doubt left that I, as president, used every chance to stop the war, even a small one.”
Zelinsky also urged Russian troops to lay down their weapons and called for his nation’s immediate membership of the European Union.
He spoke as Ukraine’s second-largest city reeled under a barrage of Russian rockets that officials said left dozens of people dead.
The bombardment of a residential area of Kharkiv frightened residents and signaled a potentially intensifying turn of Russia’s ongoing invasion.
And, reports suggest Belarus – a close Russian ally to Ukraine’s north – will deploy its soldiers to fight. It has also agreed to host Russian nuclear weapons to frighten the West.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has already put forces possessing nuclear weapons on high alert.
Yet, Ukrainian President Zelensky declined a U.S. offer to be evacuated amid reports that hundreds of Russian mercenaries attempted to kill him and his government in the capital Kyiv.
A U.S. official quoted the 44-year-old leader saying he needed ammunition, not a ride.
Russian forces have faced massive nationwide resistance in Ukraine, with thousands of soldiers reported dead.
Britain has now warned that Russia could indiscriminately bomb cities as frustration with the campaign grows. The north-eastern city of Chernihiv, for instance, faced heavy shelling overnight but remained in Ukrainian hands.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine left Moscow increasingly isolated from the world.
The Russian rouble plunged to a new low against the dollar, the stock market froze, and analysts warned of a possible run on Russia’s banks.
It came after Western allies introduced tough sanctions, including banning Russia from the international SWIFT payment system, further increasing uncertainty among Russians.
The European Union also took the unprecedented step of sending arms to Ukraine, closing its airspace to Russian aircraft and banning Russian state media outlets Russia Today and Sputnik.
And Washington announced a further round of sanctions Monday, effectively prohibiting institutions in the U.S. from doing business with Russia’s central bank.
However, it has done little to silence the guns and prevent more human misery. As the war continued, the United Nations refugees agency said some 500,000 people fled Ukraine so far.
And without a ceasefire, millions more are expected to escape in the coming weeks.
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