Ukraine leader raises breakthrough hopes at ‘difficult’ talks

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Monday that ongoing talks to halt two weeks of fighting with Russia were progressing with difficulty, but raised hopes a breakthrough could be announced later in the day.

The Ukrainian leader confirmed that “difficult negotiations” were underway with the Russian side, aimed at finding a diplomatic solution to Moscow’s invasion of his pro-Western country.

“A video meeting between the delegations has already started today. It continues,” Zelensky said in a video statement Monday.

“Everyone is waiting for news. We will definitely report in the evening.”

A fourth round of talks between Moscow and Kyiv began earlier Monday, a senior Ukrainian negotiator said, amid mutual claims of shelling and civilian deaths.

Kyiv’s lead negotiator and presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak posted a picture on Twitter of video-conference talks with Russian officials and described the negotiations as “hard”, saying that the two sides were outlining their “specific positions”.

Both sides indicated over the weekend that they were making headway.

Russia’s negotiators hailed “significant progress” while Podolyak said Moscow’s delegation had stopped issuing “ultimatums” and instead “carefully listens to our positions”.