Putin begs for talks as Russian troops humiliatingly outfought – delegation in Belarus

Vladimir Putin is 'cold, brutal and ruthless' says Andrew Pierce

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Minister of Defence of Ukraine Oleksii Reznikov has tweeted Russian troops invading the country met “72 hours of resistance”, with Moscow failing so far to get Kyiv to surrender. Now, Russian officials have said they are ready for ceasefire talks, just days after launching their invasion into Ukraine.

On Sunday, Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin Press Secretary, said the Russian delegation arrived in Belarus for negotiations with the Ukrainians, ready to start them in Gomel.

Mr Peskov said: “In accordance with the agreement, the Russian delegation, consisting of representatives of the Foreign Ministry, Defense Ministry, and other departments, including the presidential administration, arrived in Belarus for negotiations with the Ukrainians.

“We will be ready to start these negotiations in Gomel.”

Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko called on Kyiv on Sunday to sit down and hold talks with Russia so that Ukraine does not lose its statehood, according to Russia’s RIA news agency.

However, Ukraine has refused to meet in Belarus as they regard the country as complicit in the Russian invasion and could not be regarded as a neutral intermediary.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Kyiv is ready for talks with Russia, but only in a country “from which missiles aren’t flying”.

A referendum on constitutional amendments in Belarus, held on February 27, is set to allow Russia to place nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus.

The vote will take place amid the Russian military presence in Belarus which it uses to attack Ukraine from the north.

On Friday, a spokesman for Mr Zelensky said Kyiv is “preparing to hold ceasefire and peace talks with Russia”.

Serhiy Nykyforov said Russian and Ukrainian officials are currently discussing a time and place for talks to be held.

In a Facebook post, he said: “I have to deny statements that we have refused to hold talks.

“Ukraine was and remains ready to talk about the end to fighting and about peace. This is our unchanged position.

“We agreed to the offer by the Russian president. Right at this moment, the sides are consulting on the place and time of holding the negotiating process.

“The sooner the talks begin, the more chances there will be to restore normal life.”

Liz Truss has shared she does not trust Russian “negotiation” efforts with Ukraine, urging Kyiv to show caution.

She told Sky News: “Now if the Russians are serious about negotiations they need to remove their troops from Ukraine.

“They cannot negotiate with a gun to the head of the Ukrainians … So frankly, I don’t trust these so-called efforts of negotiations.”

According to the UK Ministry of Defence, Russian forces are bypassing Chernihiv after strong resistance to focus on encircling Kyiv.

They said: “Ukrainian forces have engaged the remnants of Russian irregular forces within the city of Kyiv for the second night in a row, fighting has been at a lower intensity than the previous evening.

“After encountering strong resistance in Chernihiv, Russian forces are bypassing the area in order to prioritise the encirclement and isolation of Kyiv.”

“Intensive exchanges of rocket artillery overnight have been followed by heavy fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces in Kharkiv.

“Russian forces are continuing to advance into Ukraine from multiple axis but are continuing to be met with stiff resistance from the Ukrainian armed forces.”

Mr Reznikov tweeted on Sunday: “72 hours of resistance! The world didn’t believe. The world doubted.

“But we did not just stand, we confidently continue to fight with Russian occupant!

“We showed the world – don’t be afraid of Russia, be strong & repel it! Support of Ukraine must be more stronger! Your safety depends on us!”

It also comes as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Mr Zelensky that Ankara was making efforts to broker a ceasefire with Russia.

Mr Zelensky asked Turkey to close the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits controlling passage to the Black Sea to Russian warships.

Turkish officials told local media that no decision had been made to do so.

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