The second negotiation, which took place on March 3 between Russia and Ukraine, lasted for many hours but failed to reach an agreement on a ceasefire. Fighting between the two sides continued.
“The second round of negotiations has ended. Unfortunately, the result that Ukraine needs has not been achieved yet,” Ukraine’s presidential adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, wrote on social media after the meeting. ABC News quoted Mr. Podolyak as saying that the negotiations only created a solution to organize humanitarian corridors.
Russia’s foreign minister said that Russia continued to insist that any peace deal with Ukraine must include a promise that Ukraine would “demilitarize”. Russia has also signaled that it wants to discuss Ukraine’s application of “neutral status” and agree to give up its ambition to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Before the meeting, Mr. Podolyak said that Ukraine’s priorities in the negotiations were an “immediate ceasefire”, an armistice and “humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians”. Ukrainian officials have said they want Russia to withdraw all its troops from Ukraine.
However, Ukraine and Russia have reached an agreement to organize safe corridors for the evacuation of civilians and to provide humanitarian supplies. Under the agreement, the ceasefire will be observed in places that create safe “corridors”.
According to Reuters, they have witnessed first-hand the transportation of medicine and food to places where the fiercest fighting is taking place. Belarusian state news agency Belta quoted Podolyak as saying negotiators would meet again next week. However, some experts warn that the creation of “humanitarian corridors” and ceasefires could be an opportunity for Russia to resupply and gather strategic forces.
Meanwhile, on the same day, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed no interest in demilitarization and issued a warning to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Zelensky said he is ready to meet and talk directly with Putin because this is the only way to prevent this conflict.
“We are not attacking Russia and we are not planning to attack it. What do you want from us? Leave our land,” the president said.
Earlier, the Belarusian state news agency Belta quoted the head of the Russian delegation, Vladimir Medinsky, as saying that the second round of the negotiations took place in Belarus at 3 a.m. on March 3 (local time). The negotiations took place in the context of the Russian military continuing its military operation in all directions of attack in Ukraine. Russia took control of the city of Kherson, in southern Ukraine, while besieging the city of Mariupol in the Donetsk Oblast.
The first negotiations between Russia and Ukraine took place on February 28 in the Gomel region near the border between Ukraine and Belarus. After five hours of negotiations, officials from the two countries said that a number of priority topics had been identified, before returning to the capital for consultations with leaders of each side.