Ukraine agreed on Sunday to hold talks with Russia on the former’s border with Belarus, near Chernobyl city, after mediation efforts by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
Russian forces continued their advance into Ukraine for the fourth day of their offensive, while western powers imposed heavy sanctions on Moscow.
“An Ukrainian delegation will meet its Russian counterpart, without conditions, at the Ukrainian-Belarusian border in the Pripyat River region,” the Ukrainian presidency said in a statement.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba stressed that his country will not surrender to Moscow during the negotiations, denouncing the Russian president’s decision to put the nation’s nuclear deterrent force on alert. He considered the move as an attempt to pressure Kiev.
“We will not surrender, we will not surrender, and we will not give up an inch of our land,” said Kuleba during a press conference.
Earlier on Sunday, Russia announced its readiness to start talks with Ukraine. The Kremlin was quoted by the Russian “Interfax” news agency as saying that it would not suspend its military operation during the possible talks.
Meanwhile, the Russian army announced that it has “completely” besieged the main cities of Kherson and Berdyansk in southern Ukraine.
On the other hand, the Ukrainian military announced that it had repelled a Russian attempt to seize Kharkiv, after fierce fighting and street battles with advancing Russian troops.
About 4,300 Russian soldiers have been reportedly killed since the beginning of the offensive on Thursday, according to the Ukrainian army. The Ukrainian Air Force said that it has used the Turkish-made drones “Baykar Bayraktar TB2” to strike Russian targets.
Moreover, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on foreigners wishing to help his country confront the Russian offensive, to go to Ukrainian embassies around the world and register their names to join an international squad of volunteers.
On the other hand, the Russian Defense Ministry announced the destruction of 975 facilities of the Ukrainian military infrastructure since the beginning of the offensive, saying that its forces launched new strikes with long-range precision weapons, using winged missiles from the air and sea, against the military infrastructure of Ukraine.
Among the targeted facilities were 23 control points and communications centers for the Ukrainian forces, and 31 pieces of the “S-300”, “Buk M-1” and “Osa” systems for anti-aircraft missiles and 48 radar stations, according to state-run Russia Today. Additionally, the Russian army said it has shot down 8 Ukrainian combat aircraft, 7 helicopters, 11 drones, in addition to two Tochka-U tactical missiles.
Furthermore, several European countries offered support to Ukraine, as Spain announced its intention to send military equipment to Ukraine, and Italy announced transferring an immediate payment of €110m to the Ukrainian government. Additionally, the Czech and Greek governments announced sending more material aid to Ukraine.