Russia is ready to send a delegation to Minsk, Belarus, to start negotiations with Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday.
“Russian President Vladimir Putin, in response to the proposal (of his Ukrainian counterpart) Volodymir Zelensky, is ready to send to Minsk a delegation at the level of representatives of the Defense, Foreign and Presidential Administration Ministries for negotiations with the Ukrainian side,” Peskov said.
The Russian presidential spokesman referred to a recent statement by Zelensky in which the Ukrainian president said he was ready to discuss the country’s neutral status, thereby renouncing his aspiration to join NATO.
Russia insists that Kyiv’s desire to join the Atlantic Alliance is a direct threat to its security, like other plans for NATO expansion into post-Soviet territory.
Zelenski today called on Putin to come to the negotiating table to stop the Russian military operation launched the day before in Ukraine.
“I want to address once again the president of Russia. There is fighting all over Ukraine. Let us sit down at the negotiating table to stop the death of human beings,” he said in a televised message.
The Kremlin spokesman on Friday also reported a conversation between Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who expressed readiness to “create all conditions” for the start of negotiations between Kyiv and Moscow, which since yesterday have no diplomatic relations, in Minsk.