Initial Talks Between Russia and Ukraine Yield No Resolution
KYIV, Ukraine — Initial talks between Russia and Ukraine concluded without result on Monday evening, with both delegations returning from the site of the negotiations in Belarus to their capitals for consultations.
Kyiv is seeking a cease-fire i in Ukraine and an end to hostilities, according to Mihailo Podolyak, a member of the Ukrainian delegation.
“The parties identified a number of priority topics in which certain solutions were outlined,” he said after the discussions ended. “In order to get some opportunities for implementation and logistical solutions, the parties are returning to their capitals for consultations.”
The Kremlin wants its security demands taken into account “unconditionally,” President Vladimir V. Putin told the French president, Emmanuel Macron, as talks were underway. Those include the recognition of Russian sovereignty over Crimea, and “demilitarizing and denazifying the Ukrainian state and ensuring its neutral status,” meaning that it gives up a right to join the NATO alliance.
Vladimir Medinsky, a former culture minister who led the Russian delegation, said that the parties had “found certain points where we can predict common positions.”
He said the next meeting would take place once more along the Ukraine-Belarus border in the “coming days.”
On Monday, dozens of people were killed and many more wounded in an attack by Russian rockets on Ukraine’s second-biggest city, Kharkiv. As news broke that the negotiations had concluded for the day, explosions were also heard in Kyiv.
While the talks were ongoing, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine signed an application for membership in the European Union.
“Pretty sure this is real,” he wrote on his Instagram page, where he shared a photo of the signing ceremony.
Earlier in the day, in an impassioned speech, he urged the 27-member bloc to pave a swift path to accession.
“We appeal to the European Union for Ukraine’s immediate accession under a new special procedure,” Zelensky said in a video broadcast from the capital, Kyiv. “Our goal is to stand alongside all Europeans and, most importantly, to stand on their level.”