As the Russian invasion of Ukraine entered day five on Monday morning, a Ukrainian delegation arrived at the Belarus border for peace talks.
A team of negotiators from Kyiv and Moscow are meeting to discuss peaceful means of ending the conflict in Ukraine, but the meeting is taking place while fighting continues elsewhere in the Eastern European country.
The focus of the talks is "immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of troops from Ukraine" according to the Ukrainian president's office.
The time and place of the peace talks have been postponed and renegotiated several times due to safety concerns from the Ukrainian side.
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The Russian delegation has been waiting in the Belarus border town since yesterday.
This morning, the Ukrainian delegation arrived in helicopters through Poland due to safety concerns.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that the next 24 hours will be "a crucial period" for his country.
Mr Zelensky, who has refused US help to evacuate the country, has also requested fast-track membership to the European Union.
Ahead of the talks, the Kremlin has accused the West of creating a dangerous and destabilising situation by supplying Ukraine with weapons.
Kyiv has confirmed that the Ukrainian delegation consists of:
- Oleksii Reznikov, Minister of Defence of Ukraine
- Davyd Arakhamia, the head of the Presidential party Servant of the People,
- Mykhailo Podoliak, Advisor to the Head of the Office of the President
- First Deputy Head of the Delegation of Ukraine to the Tripartite Contact Group Andriy Kostin
- Member of Verkhovna Rada Rustem Umerov
- Mykola Tochytskyi, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.
The Russian side is led by Russia's presidential aide, Vladimir Medinsky.
The delegation consists of Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko, Deputy Minister of Defence Alexander Fomin and Russian ambassador to Ukraine Boris Boris Gryzlov.
Mr Medinsky told reporters that Moscow’s stance is solid, and the meeting will last as long as it takes.
He said: “With every hour that the conflict continues more lives of Ukrainian citizens and Ukrainian soldiers are lost.
“So, we are undoubtedly interested in coming to some sort of agreement as soon as possible.
“These agreements have to be undoubtedly in the interest of both sides.”
Russia has been met with fierce resistance in Ukraine. Russia is reported to have suffered many casualties yesterday as its attack on Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, was repelled by the Ukrainian military.
The peace talks are taking place hours after a three-mile long convoy of Russian tanks was recorded by satellite images rolling towards Kyiv.
The negotiations will take place by the Pripyat River which flows between the border of Belarus and Ukraine.
The location of the talks was agreed upon this morning after a telephone conversation between President Zelensky and the longstanding Belorussian President Alexander Lukashenko.
Cover image: Flag of Russia and Ukraine. (Picture: Alamy)