The third round of Ukraine-Russia talks has started in Belarus, hours after the Russian plan for a humanitarian corridor to Ukrainian cities Kyiv, Mariupol, Kharkiv, and Sumy fell through. Ukraine nixed the plan, calling it an “unethical stunt”. Meanwhile, Moscow has announced a temporary ceasefire and a plan to evacuate Ukrainians from several cities, mainly to Russia and Belarus.
The Ukrainian negotiator, Mykhailo Podolyak, urged Russia to halt attacks on civilians in a Monday tweet, minutes before talks between him and Russian negotiators began. “In a few minutes, we will start talking to representatives of a country that seriously believes large-scale violence against civilians is an argument. Prove that this is not the case,” he wrote.
According to maps published by the RIA news agency, the corridor from Kyiv would lead to Belarus, while civilians from Kharkiv would be permitted to go only to Russia. Russia also said it would begin airlifts to take Ukrainians from Kyiv to Russia. Last week, both sides agreed to open humanitarian corridors to allow civilians out of some combat zones, but none of them has worked so far, with the sides accusing each other of violating the local ceasefire.
As talks between Russia and Ukraine have so far proven to be fruitless, leaders across the globe, including Israel’s, have attempted to mediate between the two European countries in an effort to stop Russia’s invasion and bring peace to the region. It was announced that Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov will meet with Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba for the first time since the invasion began.