Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a temporary halt to the Russian military operation in Ukraine on Friday afternoon in connection with the expectation of negotiations with Kiev, but the operation was resumed Saturday afternoon after the Ukrainian leadership refused to talk, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.
“Yesterday afternoon, in connection with the expected negotiations with the Ukrainian leadership, the Russian president and supreme commander ordered the suspension of the advance of the main forces,” Peskov said, speaking to reporters on Saturday. “Since the Ukrainian side essentially refused to negotiate, the advance of the main Russian forces resumed this afternoon in accordance with the operational plan,” he added.
Peskov clarified that the halt in the advance did not lead to a stop in localized fighting, with hostilities continuing across a number of areas.
Ukraine to ‘Dictate’ Peace Talks’ Terms
However, on Saturday, Ukrainian presidential advisor Mikhail Podolyak said that Kiev has rejected negotiations with Russia for the time being because the conditions were not right.
“Any war ends with a negotiation process, but I think that the positions in this negotiations process will be different. These will be positions that Ukraine will dictate. It will set the conditions for what will happen next, including in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions,” Podolyak said.
Lukashenko Calls for Immediate Talks
“We are open. They can come today. We will provide everything needed and help in this regard to prevent a war and slaughter. It is still a conflict for now, a conflict in the inflammation stage. It has to be stopped. You know our stance. I spoke about it on the first day,” Lukashenko said.