Ukraine’s President Zelensky discussing ‘time and place’ for possible talks with Russia

‘During these hours, consultations are underway between parties on venue and time of negotiation process,’ Ukrainian leader’s press secretary says

Megan Sheets
Friday 25 February 2022 23:29
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Zelensky tells Ukrainians he will remain in Kyiv to protect country

Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky and Russia’s Vladimir Putin are discussing coming together to negotiate a ceasefire, according to a spokesperson for government in Kyiv.

President Zelensky’s press secretary Serhiy Nykyforov was quoted as saying on Friday: “I must refute the allegations that we have refused to negotiate. Ukraine has been and remains ready to talk about a ceasefire and peace. This is our constant position.

“We agreed to a proposal of the president of the Russian Federation. During these hours, consultations are underway between the parties on the venue and time of the negotiation process.

“The sooner negotiations begin, the more chances there are to return to normal life.”

Earlier in the day, Mr Putin told his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in a call that Russia is willing to hold high-level talks with Ukraine, Chinese state television CCTV reported.

“The United States and Nato have long ignored Russia’s reasonable security concerns, repeatedly reneged on their commitments, and continued to advance military deployment eastward, challenging Russia’s strategic bottom line,” Mr Putin told Mr Xi.

“Russia is willing to conduct high-level negotiations with Ukraine.”

It came as Russian tanks entered Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv on Friday and the city was rocked by explosions and gunfire which lasted into the evening.

Local residents were urged to fight back with Molotov cocktails against the encroaching Russian forces, which appear to be moving through the suburb of Obolon - just over five miles north of the city centre and its parliamentary buildings.

Mr Putin spoke at a televised meeting with Russia’s security council and called on the Ukrainian military to seize power in their country and overthrow Mr Zelensky.

“I once again appeal to the military personnel of the armed forces of Ukraine: do not allow neo-Nazis and (Ukrainian radical nationalists) to use your children, wives and elders as human shields,” he said.

“Take power into your own hands, it will be easier for us to reach agreement.”

Meanwhile, Mr Zelensky released a video from the streets of Kyiv and reassuring people he is still in the capital as Russian troops close in.

There were rumours in Russian media that he had fled – but Mr Zelensky insisted he was staying put.

“We are all here,” he said, surrounded by senior advisers and his prime minister.

“Our troops are here, citizens are here. All of us are here protecting the independence of our country.

“And it will continue to be this way.”

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