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Russia, Ukraine set to resume negotiations via video link Monday

Leonid Slutsky, a senior member of Moscow’s negotiating team, says ‘significant progress’ has been made since the start of the talks and could develop into ‘documents to be signed’

Ukraine's negotiation team (left) meets with the Russian delegation for talks in Belarus, close to the Polish-Belarusian border, March 7, 2022. (Maxim Guchek/BelTA Pool Photo via AP)
Ukraine's negotiation team (left) meets with the Russian delegation for talks in Belarus, close to the Polish-Belarusian border, March 7, 2022. (Maxim Guchek/BelTA Pool Photo via AP)

KYIV, Ukraine — Conflict talks between Russia and Ukraine are set to resume on Monday, negotiators and the Kremlin have said, after both sides hailed progress at earlier rounds aimed at ending more than two weeks of fighting.

The talks are slated to resume by video-conference on Monday, Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and part of the negotiating team, said late Sunday.

His statement, on Twitter, confirmed an earlier statement by Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for the Russian presidency.

“Negotiations go non-stop in the format of video conferences,” Podolyak wrote Sunday in an English-language post on Twitter. “On Monday, March 14, a negotiating session will be held to sum up the preliminary results,” he said.

In a video address after midnight early Monday, Zelensky said he will continue negotiating with Russia and making requests for a meeting with Putin, which, so far, have gone unanswered by the Kremlin. He said his delegation has a “clear task” to do everything to ensure a meeting between the two presidents.

Daily talks, Zelensky said, were necessary to establish a cease-fire and add more humanitarian corridors, which saved more than 130,000 people in six days.

Peskov was quoted earlier by Russian news agencies as saying that negotiations were scheduled to continue Monday.

The confirmation of the next round of talks come after both sides said they were making headway at the negotiations aimed at ending more than two weeks of direct fighting between the Russian and Ukrainian armies.

Leonid Slutsky, chairman of the Russian State Duma’s International Affairs Committee speaks to the media after the Russian-Ukrainian talks in the Belavezhskaya Pushcha National Park, close to the Polish-Belarusian border, northward from Brest, in Belarus, March 7, 2022. (Maxim Guchek/BelTA Pool Photo via AP)

Leonid Slutsky, a senior member of Russia’s negotiating team, told the state-run television network RT that “significant progress” was made following several rounds of talks hosted on the border of neighboring Belarus.

“If we compare the positions of both delegations at the start of the talks and now, we see significant progress,” he told the network according to Russian news agencies. “My own expectations are that this progress could develop over the next few days into a unified position held by both delegations in documents to be signed,” agencies cited him as saying.

Negotiators from Moscow and Kyiv have held several rounds of talks since Russian President Vladimir Putin sent in troops to the country. Turkey this week hosted a first meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has been speaking with both Putin and Zelensky in an attempt to potentially broker talks hosted in Jerusalem, though the fruits of his efforts remain unclear.

Earlier Sunday, the Jerusalem municipality said it was “happy” to host talks in response to what it said was a request from Zelensky. The statement came after it came under fire for displaying flags of both Ukraine and Russia on the Old City’s walls, which it eventually removed under pressure.

An unnamed senior Zelensky adviser quoted by Israel’s Kan broadcaster said that Bennett was a fair broker who would “pressure the Russians to understand the situation.” The adviser also claimed that Moscow was readying to make concessions.

Earlier Sunday, Podolyak wrote on Twitter that Russia had stopped issuing “ultimatums” and instead “carefully listens to our positions.”

Zelensky said Saturday that Russia had adopted a “fundamentally different approach” in the talks.

Meanwhile, Putin, who ordered his army into Ukraine on February 24, this week said there had been “some positive shifts” in the dialogue and that negotiations were being held almost daily.

Times of Israel staff and AP contributed to this report.

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