Ukraine demands retreat of Russian forces from its territory; warring nations to hold second round of talks

The talks were held at Ukraine's border with Belarus -- near the Chernobyl exclusion zone -- after a call between President Volodymyr Zelensky and Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky (File photo)
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky (File photo)
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NH Web Desk

Ukraine has demanded the retreat of all Russian forces from its territory as ceasefire talks began between Kyiv and Moscow on the Belarusian border today. The two countries are now planning a second round of talks, NDTV reported.

Before the talks started, the Kremlin said it would not declare its official position as Moscow's assault against Ukraine went into a fifth day. "I suggest we wait for the talks," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. "I would not declare any negotiating positions."

Ukraine agreed to the talks around the same time as Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered defence chiefs to put nuclear "deterrence forces" on high alert. The US has slammed him for "manufacturing threats that don't exist" because his invasion of Ukraine "has been halted".

The talks were held at Ukraine's border with Belarus -- near the Chernobyl exclusion zone -- after a call between President Volodymyr Zelensky and Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko. Ukraine had earlier refused to talk in Belarus, where Russian troops were stationed before the invasion.

The UN has said 102 civilians, including seven children, have been killed in Ukraine. The UN refugee agency has said tens of thousands are fleeing the fighting, with most crossing into Poland as the total count reaches 400,000. Others are seeking shelter in Hungary, Romania, Moldova and Slovakia. Pope Francis has called for corridors for civilians to escape the fighting.

Russia's invasion force has lost momentum and is having logistical and supply problems after facing stiff Ukrainian resistance, the White House claims. However, Russia military has claimed air superiority in Ukraine and alleged that Ukraine is using civilians as human "shield".

Ukraine claims to have expelled Russian troops from its second city Kharkiv in the east of the country after Russian armoured vehicles got through its defences. The country says it is holding the line around capital Kyiv. Ukrainian military said Monday that Russian troops had slowed down "the pace of the offensive".

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