Ukraine demanded an immediate Russian ceasefire and troop withdrawal on Monday as its delegation arrived in Belarus for talks with Russian negotiators. Ukraine’s delegation is set to meet Russian representatives for the first talks since Moscow’s invasion, as the fighting for several Ukrainian cities continues and the Russian rouble collapses. “The Ukrainian delegation arrived at the Ukrainian-Belarusian border to take part in talks with representatives of the Russian Federation,” the Ukrainian presidency said in a statement. “The key issue of the talks is an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of troops from Ukraine.” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a separate statement urged Russian troops to abandon their equipment and leave the battlefield in order to save their lives, claiming that more than 4,500 Russian soldiers had already lost their lives. He also urged the European Union to give Ukraine “immediate” membership, via a special procedure. Russian state media posted videos of Ukrainian delegates arriving to the talks by helicopter.
Russian forces have taken over the towns of Berdyansk and Enerhodar in Ukraine’s southeastern Zaporizhzhya region as well as the area around the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, Interfax quoted Russia’s defence ministry as saying on Monday. The plant’s operations continued normally, it said. Meanwhile, Britain’s defense ministry said that Russia’s advance on Kyiv has been slowed by logistical failures and fierce Ukrainian resistance. “The bulk of [President Vladimir] Putin’s ground forces remain more than 30km [18.6 miles] to the north of Kyiv their advance having been slowed by Ukrainian forces defending Hostomel airfield, a key Russian objective for day one of the conflict,” the ministry said. “Logistical failures and staunch Ukrainian resistance continue to frustrate the Russian advance.” The Ukrainian military also accused Russia of launching a missile strike on residential buildings in the cities of Zhytomyr and Chernigiv, cities in the country’s northwest and north. “At the same time, all attempts by the Russian invaders to achieve the goal of the military operation failed,” the military said. “The enemy is demoralized and bears heavy losses,” it claimed.
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