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Ukrainian negotiator says Russia realizing ‘real cost of war’

Talks with Russia are beginning to be “constructive,” a Ukrainian negotiator says, describing what he perceives as an apparent shift in Moscow’s attitude towards Ukrainian resistance and biting international sanctions.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, says he has noted a change in Russia’s approach as it realizes “the real price of war.”

“At the very start of the war, they were insisting on total domination. They weren’t expecting that Ukraine would deliver such severe resistance,” Podolyak says in an interview with the Canadian daily The Globe and Mail, in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv.

“They are starting to realize the real price of war only now. And now we are starting to have constructive negotiations,” adds the official, who participated in the first two rounds of talks between Russia and Ukraine, held on the border of Belarus.

A third session of talks is scheduled for Monday, according to the Ukrainian delegation.

The Russians “have lost massive amounts of equipment and manpower. Sanctions like we’ve never seen before are collapsing their economy. Their country has become an outlaw on the international scene and their propaganda doesn’t work at all,” Podolyak says.

Ukrainian negotiator Mikhailo Podolyak speaks to media after talks between delegations from Ukraine and Russia in Belarus’ Gomel region on February 28, 2022, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine (Sergei KHOLODILIN / BELTA / AFP)

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