Moscow and Kiev agree on mechanisms to establish routes to evacuate civilians from combat zones in Ukraine.
- Russia and Ukraine agreed Thursday on the need for humanitarian corridors to help civilians escape hostilities between the two nations, signaling apparent progress in peace talks, Reuters reports.
- After the talks, Russia said “substantial progress” had been made, as both sides agreed to assist ordinary citizens caught in the fray.
- The negotiators were able to find common ground on matters pertaining to military and humanitarian issues, as well as future political reconciliation, RT News reports.
- They even discussed prospects of a temporary ceasefire for regions around the evacuation routes.
- Vladimir Medinsky, head of the Russian delegation, confirmed these developments, stating that the two sides had solved the “main issue” of saving the lives of civilians.
- “We managed to find mutual understanding for some [issues raised during the talks], but the main issue that was resolved today is the rescue of people, civilians, who have found themselves in the zone of military clashes,” Medinsky said.
- Mykhailo Podoliak, Ukraine’s presidential adviser, said a temporary halt to fighting in select locations was workable.
- “The parties have reached an understanding on the joint establishment of humanitarian corridors with a temporary ceasefire. Russia and Ukraine will soon create channels of communication and cooperation to organize these corridors,” Podoliak said.
- The office of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the UN will also discuss mechanisms for the coordination of humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
- The Thursday talks were held in the Brest Region of Belarus, according to Medinsky.
- Russia and Ukraine agreed to meet for a third round of negotiations in the near future.
UKRAINE NOT SATISFIED, BUT EMPHASIZED COOPERATION:
- The Ukrainian side said it did not achieve the results it had been expecting from the negotiations.
- “The second round of talks between the Russian and Ukrainian sides has just ended. Unfortunately, we did not get the results we hoped for,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Podoliak said, as reported by Ukrainian news outlet Ukrinform.
- However, Podoliak did emphasize that it was both parties who jointly agreed to provide the humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians as well as for the delivery of medicines and food to the sites with the fiercest fighting, Ukrinform notes, contradicting reporting from Reuters that it was only “the Ukrainian side [who] pointed to an understanding on helping ordinary people.”
- Thousands are believed to have died or been wounded as a result of the largest-scale military operation that has taken place on a European state since World War Two.
- Recent battles between Russia and Ukraine have created 1 million refugees, according to Reuters.
- The first round of Russian-Ukrainian talks took place on Feb 28 in the Gomel region, lasting five hours.
- The Russian delegation was led by presidential aide Vladimir Medinsky, who said that the Russian delegation was ready to speak with the Ukrainian side for as long as it may take to reach agreements, according to TASS.