Report: Ukrainian, Russian Leaders Set to Meet Thursday in Belarus


Leaders from Ukraine and Russia are set to meet on Thursday in Belarus for talks as the Kremlin’s invasion of the former Soviet republic reaches its seventh day.

“As far as I know, the Ukrainian delegation has already departed from Kyiv, is en route … We’re expecting them tomorrow,” Vladimir Medinsky, the head of the Russian delegation, told reporters Wednesday evening, according to the Associated Press.

“According to Medinsky, the two sides agreed on the Brest region of Belarus, which borders Poland, as the site of the talks,” the report added.

The meeting will mark the second time leaders from the two sides have met following the sudden conflict that has led to a reported 2,000 Ukrainian deaths and more than 800,000 people fleeing the nation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the military effort following months of troop buildup along the border, with more than 100,000 soldiers near its border with Ukraine. Despite the sizeable advantage, Russia’s military has encountered strong resistance from Ukraine’s military and citizens, with nations worldwide coming to the nation’s support.

“The spokesman of the Russian Defense Ministry says 498 Russian troops have been killed in Ukraine and 1,597 more sustained wounds,” according to the AP’s report.

Some sources in Ukraine have noted higher numbers, noting more than 5,000 Russian deaths.

In addition, videos purportedly of Russian military members captured by Ukrainians have surfaced online, including some soldiers who have surrendered without a fight, according to reports.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky has served as a leading hero in the nation’s efforts to stop Russia’s military attacks. Rather than fleeing the nation, the president joined the efforts of the Ukrainian armed forces in the popular uprising.

“During this time, we have truly become one. We forgave each other. We started loving each other. We help each other. We are worried for each other,” Zelensky said during remarks on Wednesday.

Leaders from the two sides met in Belarus on Monday for approximately five hours. No decisions were announced, with Putin continuing airstrikes as the meeting occurred.

Russian bombing of Kharkiv this week, the second-largest city in Ukraine, left devastation as the nation faced its sixth day of attacks on Tuesday.

Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s minister of foreign affairs, released a video showing the missile strike upon Freedom Square.

“Barbaric Russian missile strikes on the central Freedom Square and residential districts of Kharkiv. Putin is unable to break Ukraine down. He commits more war crimes out of fury, murders innocent civilians. The world can and must do more. INCREASE PRESSURE, ISOLATE RUSSIA FULLY!” he wrote.

The Wall Street Journal reported:

At least 10 civilians were killed and more than 40 injured, with the toll likely to grow because continued shelling interfered with rescue efforts, said Kharkiv Gov. Oleh Synehubov. “It’s a war crime,” he said. Most of Kharkiv’s residents are Russian-speakers, the population whose rights Moscow says it wants to protect through its military operation.

The city’s mayor, Ihor Terekhov, said that the fatalities included four residents who had left a shelter to get water and a family of two parents and three children who were incinerated when a Russian rocket hit their car. “It’s not just a war, it’s murder,” he said.

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