Ukraine’s leadership has rejected negotiations

Russia says it has resumed the military operation in Ukraine after Kiev refused to negotiate

Feb 26, 2022

Russia’s military operation in Ukraine is continuing after the country’s leadership declined to negotiate, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Saturday.

President Vladimir Putin previously ordered the Russian troops to halt their advance on Friday, awaiting a response from Kiev, Moscow said. It added that the offensive continued on Saturday.

Alexey Arestovich, an adviser at Zelensky’s office, confirmed to Ukrainian media that Kiev has declined the talks with Russia, citing the “terms” put forward by Moscow through intermediaries. “It was an attempt to force us into capitulation,” he said, without elaborating.

Alexey Arestovich, an adviser at Zelensky’s office, confirmed to Ukrainian media that Kiev has declined the talks with Russia, blaming the “terms” put forward by Moscow through intermediaries. “It was an attempt to force us into capitulation,” he said, without elaborating.

However, moments later, another official at Zelensky’s office, Mikhail Podolyak, told Russian outlet RBC that Kiev did not reject the negotiations.

“Undoubtedly, Ukraine did not refuse to negotiate,” he said, underlining that negotiations have not yet taken place. “Ukraine and President Zelensky categorically reject any unacceptable or ultimatum-like conditions of the Russian side.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday that he was ready to sit down for talks with Russia in order to end hostilities between the countries. The same day, Peskov told reporters that Moscow was ready to hold talks in Minsk, Belarus. He later claimed that the Ukrainian side first offered to move the meeting to Warsaw, Poland, and then stopped responding.

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Russia began its military operation in Ukraine early Thursday morning. Announcing the move, Putin rolled out a long list of grievances regarding the state of Russian-Ukrainian relations, which went downhill after the 2014 coup in Kiev. The Russian leader said Moscow aims to defend the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as well as to carry out “demilitarization and denazification” of Ukraine.

Putin previously said that Ukraine must never join NATO, whose military infrastructure Moscow sees as a threat.

There have been reports of shelling and firefights in Kiev and elsewhere in Ukraine on Saturday morning. Both sides have accused each other of killing civilians.

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