Russian negotiator sees ‘progress’ in talks

A Russian negotiator said, on Sunday, that talks between Kyiv and Moscow are progressing, in the midst of the conflict in Ukraine, at a time when diplomatic contacts are increasing despite the continuing fighting.

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“If we compare the position of the two delegations between the start of negotiations and now, we see significant progress,” said Leonid Slutsky, a parliamentarian who was part of the Russian delegation that recently met with Ukrainian negotiators in Belarus.

“I personally expect this progress to lead in the near future to a common position between the two delegations and the signing of documents,” he was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying.

Since the start of the Moscow military offensive on February 24, three rounds of talks have been held in Belarus. They were mainly focused on creating humanitarian corridors for civilians.

On Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministers Sergei Lavrov and Ukrainian Dmytro Kuleba left discussions in Turkey without declaring tangible progress, but pledged to continue dialogue.

On Sunday, Mikhailo Podolak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, tweeted that Moscow had stopped issuing “ultimatums” to Kyiv and had begun to “listen carefully to our proposals.”

While Mr. Zelensky stressed on Saturday that Moscow had taken a “fundamentally different” approach to these negotiations, his counterpart Vladimir Putin told him on Friday that he had seen “positive progress” in the talks.

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