Second Round of Russia-Ukraine Talks End with No Cease-Fire

Photo credit: Anadolu Agency

Peace talks between Russia and Ukraine resumed on Thursday but concluded without a cease-fire agreement, leaving the war to rage on. Delegations from both sides gathered in Belarus in the Brest region, making it the second round of talks to occur in four days. 

Ukraine said that the talks ended without Ukraine’s needs yet being met. Ukraine’s presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted after the meeting that the results were “not yet achieved.” 

Russia said that it will continue to insist that any potential peace agreement must include a promise that Ukraine will “demilitarize.” It has also signaled that it wants to discuss Ukraine having a “neutral status,” and for Ukraine to agree to abandon all ambitions of joining the defense alliance of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO.) 

Before the second round of peace talks, Podolyak said on Twitter that Ukraine’s priorities are an immediate cease-fire, a formal agreement to stop fighting, and humanitarian corridors in order to protect the evacuation of civilians. 

After the meeting, Podolyak said that the talks did manage to produce a solution only for the organization of humanitarian corridors. An estimated one million refugees have already flooded out of Ukraine, and more are expected every day. 

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy on Thursday expressed that Ukraine has no interest in demilitarizing, and issued a warning to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that he will repay everything Russia does against Ukraine “in full.” 

Zelenskyy said that he is ready to meet and speak directly with Putin. He repeated calls for a “no-fly zone” over Ukraine immediately. 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a televised briefing with foreign journalists that Russia is ready to negotiate. Lavrov said that his country will continue its military operation while the talks are ongoing. 

So Russia’s war in Ukraine wages on. 

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