The Kremlin says prospects for possible peace talks between Russia and Ukraine look uncertain due to apparent differences over a venue.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says that Russian President Vladimir Putin has agreed to send a delegation for talks with Ukrainian officials in Minsk, Belarus, where President Alexander Lukashenko runs a pro-Russian government.
That agreement came in response to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s offer earlier in the day to discuss non-aligned status for Ukraine.
Peskov told reporters that after the parties discussed Minsk as a possible venue, Ukrainian officials changed course and said they were unwilling to travel to Minsk and would prefer to meet in NATO member Poland. They then halted further communication, Peskov says.
Putin has claimed that the western refusal to heed Russia’s demand to keep Ukraine out of NATO prompted him to order an invasion of the neighboring country.