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Ukraine and Russia to hold negotiations without preconditions

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he Ukrainian president has said Ukraine and Russian delegations will meet for negotiations at the Ukrainian-Belarusian border.

The two sides will meet at an unspecified location, Volodymyr Zelensky’s office said.

The announcement comes hours after Russia announced that its delegation had flown to Belarus to await talks.

Ukrainian officials initially rejected the move, saying talks should not take place in Belarus where Russia has placed a large contingent of troops.

News of the meeting comes shortly after President Vladimir Putin put Russian nuclear forces on high alert in response to what he called “aggressive statements” by leading Nato powers.

Zelensky’s office said Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, a Putin ally, “has taken responsibility for ensuring that all planes, helicopters and missiles stationed on Belarusian territory remain on the ground during the Ukrainian delegation’s travel, talks and return.”

Although the two sides will meet for talks, Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba insisted the country would not surrender any land to Russia.

An Ukrainian Territorial Defence fighter examines a destroyed Russian Armoured personnel carrier (APC) after the fight in Kharkiv on February 27, 2022.

/ AFP via Getty Images

He said: “We go there to listen to what Russia wants to say.

“We will not surrender. We will not capitulate. We will not give up a single inch of our territory. This is not the goal of our fight.”

The talks come after Vladimir Putin instructed Russia’s military to place its nuclear deterrent forces on alert.

The Russian President cited the hard-hitting economic sanctions and aggression from the West as the reason for his action.

US ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said: “President Putin is continuing to escalate this war in a manner that is totally unacceptable.”

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