Negotiations between Russia and Ukraine on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border will begin early on Monday, according to sources in both countries, cited by Russian and Ukrainian media.
“It is not a postponement, the meeting will take place in the morning due to a logistical issue of the Ukrainian side,” a source was quoted as saying by Russia’s TASS news agency.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s spokesman, Sergei Nikiforov, told the nv.ua portal that due to complex logistical measures, as well as the need to ensure the security of the Ukrainian delegation, it would still take a few hours to reach the meeting site.
On Sunday, both countries announced that they will negotiate in Belarus, a firm ally of Moscow.
Ukraine has said it will do so unconditionally at the Aleksandrovka-Vilcha checkpoint on the Ukraine-Belarus border and that Minsk would answer for the safety of the Ukrainian delegation.
The president of Ukraine explained that he accepted that meeting “so that later not a single citizen of Ukraine has the slightest doubt that I, as president, did not try to stop the war, when there was a small one, but still an opportunity.”
Previously, Kiev refused to meet with the Russian delegation in Minsk because of its involvement in the war against Ukraine.
“If there were no aggressive actions from their territory, we could talk in Minsk, but now we say no to Minsk. Other cities can host (negotiations),” Zelensky explained his decision.
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted, according to RT, that before the agreement was reached, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko had a telephone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Zelensky. “After this, President Lukashenko addressed the Russian side, President Putin, with the request not to withdraw the Russian delegation because signals were received from the Ukrainian side, expressing his willingness to reach negotiations in Gomel province,” Peskov said, adding that the Russian side “is completely ready for negotiations,” collects RIA Novosti.
Shortly after, the office of the President of Ukraine reported that Zelensky and Lukashenko agreed that the Ukrainian delegation will meet with the Russian side “without preconditions”, near the Pripyat River.