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Peace talks between Russia and Ukraine begin on Belarusian border

Peace talks between Russian and Ukrainian delegations began Monday on the border between Ukraine and Russian-allied Belarus, The Hill reports.

Per The Hill, the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — who is not attending the talks — said Ukraine's goal is a ceasefire and the withdrawal of invading Russian forces.

In a televised address Sunday, Zelensky told Ukrainians he was not optimistic about achieving this goal. He said the meeting would likely achieve nothing but that he wanted to show his people he tried "to stop the war when there was even a small chance."

The Russian delegation is insisting that Ukraine "demilitarize and denazify," according to The Washington Post. Although there is a neo-Nazi militia group fighting with Ukraine's military, Russian sources regularly overstate the influence of neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine. Zelensky, who is Jewish, was elected in 2019 with almost 75 percent of the vote.

The Post also reports that Belarus is planning to send troops into Ukraine as early as Monday, according to a U.S. official. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko previously allowed Russian troops to launch missiles from inside Belarus and to use the country as a staging ground for their invasion, but did not commit Belarusian troops to the war.