Russian and Ukrainian negotiators meet for the third time

Russian and Ukrainian negotiators have concluded a third round of peace talks in a bid to end the violence.

The two sides met in Belarus on Monday. They had earlier agreed to establish “humanitarian corridors” for the safe passage of civilians fleeing the violence. The UN says at least 400 people have been killed since the invasion by Russian troops.

Ukraine’s chief delegate, Mykhailo Podolyak, said the talks resulted in some small positive changes in improving corridor logistics.

The head of the Russian delegation, Vladimir Medinsky, said he discussed the issue at length. He added that the previous deal “didn’t work at all”.

Medinsky said Ukrainian forces were ignoring orders from their commanders to stop firing. He said negotiators assured his team the corridors would be working soon.

Both sides said they had made little progress on a broader ceasefire. The Russians said they had brought written proposals on how to move forward. The Ukrainians took the papers with them “for consideration”.

Russian officials said their military would end the action if its demands were met. These include the “demilitarization” of Ukraine and a change in the country’s constitution to guarantee neutrality.

The Russians also want Ukraine to recognize Crimea as Russian territory and to recognize the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent.

Both parties are also working on meetings at a higher level. Turkey’s foreign minister said he would host talks between his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts on Thursday. Sergei Lavrov and Dmytro Kuleba will meet for the first time since the start of the invasion.