Kremlin says Russia agrees to talks with Ukraine
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Friday said that Russian President Vladimir Putin has agreed to send a delegation to Belarus to meet with Ukrainian officials.
Peskov made the comments after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he is willing to negotiate Ukraine’s stance on NATO membership as Russian forces closed in on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, The Associated Press reported.
Ukraine has been firm in wanting to join the NATO alliance, but after the invasion broke out, the president said the country would consider a nonaligned status.
Although Peskov said Moscow is willing to negotiate on those terms, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Ukraine “missed the opportunity,” according to the AP.
Russia has continually asked for assurances that Ukraine would not be allowed to join NATO.
No NATO country has yet sent troops to Ukraine, but they have offered humanitarian assistance and placed harsh sanctions on Russia in support of the former Soviet republic.
Zelensky has expressed frustrations with some countries refusing to do more to assist Ukraine.
“When bombs fall on Kyiv, it happens in Europe, not just in Ukraine,” he said in an address to the country Friday. “When missiles kill our people, they kill all Europeans.”
Zelensky previously said Ukraine would not give any territory to Russia and the people would fight against the invasion.