Speed Reads

don't get your hopes up

Zelensky downplays expectations ahead of Monday talks between Ukrainian and Russian delegations

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a brief televised address on Sunday in which he expressed skepticism as to whether peace talks between Ukrainian and Russian delegations would produce any positive results, CNN reports.

"I do not really believe in the result of this meeting, but let them try, so that no citizen of Ukraine would have any doubt that I, as president, did not try to stop the war when there was even a small chance," Zelensky said.

The talks are set to begin Monday near the Pripyat River on the border between Ukraine and Belarus. The two countries began working to schedule peace talks on Friday, but Zelensky initially balked at the prospect of holding them in Belarus, Axios reported.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko allowed Russian President Vladimir Putin to use Belarus as a staging ground for his invasion of Ukraine, a decision Zelensky fiercely condemned on Sunday even as he agreed to the location for the talks after a phone conversation with Lukashenko.

Oksana Markarova, Ukraine's ambassador to the United States, told CNN's Dana Bash on Sunday that Zelensky will "definitely not" be present at the talks.

Russian news agency Interfax reported Sunday that, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, the two delegations have begun arriving at the venue where the talks will be held.