Russia and Ukraine to hold fifth round of talks today
Kyviv, Mar 15: Russia and Ukraine kept diplomatic path open with a new round of talks yesterday even as Moscow's military operations continued at Kyiv and other cities across Ukraine.
Meanwhile, a convoy of 160 civilian cars left the encircled port city of Mariupol along a designated humanitarian route, the city council reported, in a glimmer of hope in the conflict-torn country.
The latest negotiations, held via video conference, were the fourth round involving higher-level officials from the two countries and the first in a week. The talks ended without a breakthrough after several hours, with an aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy saying the negotiators took a technical pause and planned to meet again today.
The two sides had expressed some optimism in the past few days. Mykhailo Podolyak, the aide to Zelenskyy, tweeted that the negotiators would discuss peace, ceasefire, immediate withdrawal of troops & security guarantees.
Previous discussions, held in person in Belarus, produced no lasting humanitarian routes or agreements to end the fighting.
In Washington, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a briefing yesterday that while the Biden administration supports Ukraine's participation in the talks with Russia, President Vladimir Putin would have to show signs of de-escalating in order to demonstrate good faith.
Ukrainian authorities said two people were killed when the Russians struck an airplane factory in Kyiv, sparking a large fire. The Antonov factory is Ukraine's largest aircraft plant and produces many of the world's biggest cargo planes.