By John Ikani
Russian President, Vladimir Putin has expressed his readiness to negotiate with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The development came as Russian forces approached Kyiv on the second day of Moscow’s invasion.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Russian leader was “ready” to send a high-level delegation “for talks with a Ukrainian delegation” to Belarusian capital Minsk, which has previously hosted rounds of peace talks over the Ukraine crisis.
The Cable News Network reported that Putin’s decision follows a request made by Zelenskyy.
The negotiations could put an end to Ukraine’s NATO ambitions after President Zelenskiy said he was willing to discuss Ukraine’s “neutrality” — a demand of Putin’s — in his latest attempt to appeal to the Russian leader to negotiate. The Kremlin said it took note of Zelenskiy’s offer.
China’s Foreign Ministry also said that Putin told Chinese leader Xi Jinping by phone that “Russia is ready for high-level talks with Ukraine.”
“Vladimir Putin is ready to send a Russian delegation to Minsk in response to Zelenskiy’s proposal,” Kremlin spokesman Peskov said.
The delegation would comprise Defense Ministry, Foreign Ministry and Presidential Administration officials, Interfax quoted him as saying.
Peskov added that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, a close Russian ally, welcomed the opportunity to host the Russia-Ukraine talks.