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3rd round of talks between Russia, Ukraine kicks off

The third round of negotiations between Russia and Ukraine kicked off in the Belarusian city of Brest on Monday.

Russian presidential aide Vladimir Medinsky is at the helm of Moscow’s delegation, while Kyiv’s is led by Mikhail Podolyak, adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

The negotiations are expected to address political and military issues, as well as matters concerning international humanitarian aid.

Moscow has various conditions to end the war in Ukraine.

It wants Ukraine to change its Constitution to reject a goal of joining any alliance and for Kyiv to recognize the illegally annexed Crimea as Russian territory.

In February 2019, Ukraine’s parliament approved amendments to the Constitution that enshrine Ukraine’s desire to join NATO.

Kyiv, meanwhile, wants the war on its territory to end and Russian troops to completely withdraw for Ukrainian lands, including Crimea and Donbas.

The first round of negotiations between Ukraine and Russia took place on Feb. 28 in the Gomel region of Belarus near the border with Ukraine and lasted five hours.

The second was held on March 3 in Brest.

Russia announced early on Monday that it would declare a “temporary” cease-fire in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv and the cities of Mariupol, Kharkiv, and Sumy from 10 a.m. local time (0700GMT) to ensure the evacuation of civilians.

Russia’s war on Ukraine has been met with outrage from the international community, with the European Union, Britain, and the US, among others, imposing a range of economic sanctions on Moscow.

At least 406 civilians have been killed and 801 others injured in Ukraine since the beginning of the war, according to UN figures.

More than 1.7 million people have also fled to neighboring countries, the UNHCR said.

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By Davies

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