Moscow says its willing to send a delegation to Belarus, but air and land forces continue to move into the Ukrainian capital.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for Russian President Vladimir Putin to meet for talks in a video statement late Friday. The statement came as an assurance the Ukrainian government was still defending the city among rumors they had fled. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov signaled willingness to send a delegation to the Belarusian capital to begin discussions.
However, Putin also called on the Ukrainian military to overthrown the government, demanding a regime change as precondition for any peace talks.
“It seems that it will be easier for us to come to an agreement [with the military] than with this gang of drug addicts and neo-Nazis, who occupied Kyiv and took the entire Ukrainian people hostage,” Putin said of the Ukrainian government.
He said any discussions for peace must include demilitarization and neutral status for Ukraine, comparing the Ukrainian government to terrorists.
“They hide behind people in the hope of later blaming Russia for the civilian casualties,” Mr. Putin told a security council meeting.
He claimed Russian forces were fighting with “nationalist formations”. As of now, there is no evidence of genocide or Ukrainian antagonism against the separatist areas in its east, the basis for Russia’s invasion.