Ukraine rejects Russia's offer of talks in Belarus

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he is ready for peace talks with Russia but not in Belarus.

Ukraine rejects Russia's offer of talks in Belarus File Photo (Reuters)

New Delhi: Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday (February 27) rejected Russia’s offer for peace talks in Belarus. 

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy named Warsaw, Bratislava, Istanbul, Budapest or Baku as places to hold talks with Russia, adding that he is ready for a discussion at other places except for Belarus, AP reported. 

"At the moment, we`re saying no to Minsk. Other cities can be a place to meet. Of course, we want peace, we want to meet, we want for the war to end. Warsaw, Bratislava, Budapest, Istanbul, Baku, we have suggested all that to Russia. And any other city will do... in a country, from whose territory the rockets are not flying. This is the only way that the talks can be honest and can really put an end to the war," Zelenskyy said in a video. 

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov informed earlier that a Russian delegation including military officials and diplomats had arrived in the Belarusian city of Homel for talks with Ukrainian officials. “The Russian delegation is ready for talks, and we are now waiting for the Ukrainians,” Peskov said.

On Saturday, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko had said that Minsk was ready to provide a venue for initiating peace talks. 

Ukraine's rejection of the location comes as the Russian invasion began on Thursday, with troops moving from Moscow's ally Belarus in the north, as well as from the east and south. 

While the Russian troops advanced into Ukraine's second-largest city Kharkiv on Sunday, a regional official said, leading to street fighting. 

Meanwhile, Zelenskyy demanded that Russia should be thrown out of the United Nations Security Council following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. In a video message on Sunday, he said that the Russian invasion of Ukraine amounts to an act of genocide, adding "Russia has taken the path of evil and the world should come to depriving it of its U.N. Security Council seat." 

Russia is one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, which gives it veto power over resolutions.

(With agency inputs)

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