A member of the Ukrainian delegation, David Arakhamia (left), talks to the media in Istanbul. Reuters
The talks between Ukraine and Russia for a possible peace agreement will resume on Friday by video, according to the head of the Ukrainian delegation.
David Arakhamia is a member of the Ukrainian delegation who also leads the governing party’s group in parliament.
The delegations met in-person on Tuesday in Istanbul, after two weeks of meeting by video, and the faint outlines of a possible peace agreement seemed to emerge.
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Meanwhile, the Ukrainian president said his country's defense against the Russian invasion is at a "turning point” and again pressed the United States for more help in the hours after the Kremlin's forces reneged on a pledge to scale back some of their operations.
The Ukrainian delegation offered a framework under with the country would declare itself neutral — dropping its bid to join NATO, as Moscow has long demanded — in return for security guarantees from a group of other nations.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks in Kyiv. File photo
Russian diplomats responded positively to Ukraine’s proposal.
Russian forces bombarded areas around Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv and intensified attacks in other parts of the country Wednesday, adding to already deep doubts about any progress toward ending the punishing war. Talks between Ukraine and Russia were set to resume Friday by video, according to the head of the Ukrainian delegation, David Arakhamia.
Earlier, a delegation of lawmakers from Ukraine’s parliament visited Washington to push the US for increased assistance, saying their nation needs more military equipment, more financial help and tougher sanctions against Russia.
"We need to kick Russian soldiers off our land, and for that we need all, all possible weapons,” Ukrainian parliament member Anastasia Radina said at a news conference at the Ukrainian Embassy.
Members of the Ukrainian and Russian delegations attend the talks in Istanbul, Turkey, on Tuesday. Reuters
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made the case directly to US President Joe Biden.
"If we really are fighting for freedom and in defense of democracy together, then we have a right to demand help in this difficult turning point. Tanks, aircraft, artillery systems. Freedom should be armed no worse than tyranny,” Zelensky said in his nightly video address to the nation, which he delivered standing in the dark outside the dimly lit presidential offices in Kyiv. He thanked the US for an additional $500 million in aid that was announced Wednesday.
There seemed to be little faith that a resolution would emerge anytime soon between Russia and Ukraine, particularly after the Russian military's about-face and its most recent attacks.
Russia said on Tuesday that it would de-escalate operations near Kyiv and Chernihiv in order to "increase mutual trust and create conditions for further negotiations." The announcement was met with suspicion from Zelensky and the West. And soon after, Ukrainian officials reported that Russian shelling hit homes, stores, libraries and other civilian sites in or near those areas.
Russian troops also stepped up their attacks on the Donbas region in the east and around the city of Izyum, which lies on a key route to the Donbas, after redeploying units from other areas, the Ukrainian side said.
Russian missiles pounded a military base in western Ukraine on Sunday, killing 35 people in an attack on a facility that served as a crucial hub for cooperation between Ukraine and the NATO countries supporting its defense.
Ukrainian and Russian negotiators held face-to-face talks in Istanbul on Tuesday as Ukraine resumed evacuations from territory occupied by Russian forces and clung on in the besieged city of Mariupol.
The two nations planned to return Wednesday to talks that could produce a framework for ending the war that has imposed an increasingly punishing toll.
Residents in areas under Russian control reported earlier this month that they had been handed a Russian passport, which is necessary for basic bureaucratic procedures.
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