Kyiv seeks cease-fire deal in Russia talks

[PRAGUE] Ukraine is striving for a cease-fire agreement in talks with Russian negotiators starting on Tuesday (Mar 29) in Turkey, setting a "minimum" goal of an improvement in the humanitarian situation that has caused millions to flee their homes in the wake of Moscow's invasion, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said.

Russia's siege of the southern city of Mariupol has killed almost 5,000 people, according to its mayor. Ukraine's military recaptured the town of Irpin west of the capital from Russian troops, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the Ukrainian and Russian delegations he expects "good news" from Tuesday's peace talks in Istanbul.

"We are at a time that requires concrete results from the talks," he said in televised comments. "An immediate cease-fire and peace is in everyone's interest." With the war now in its second month, a series of dilemmas are coming into sharp focus over which conditions could be deemed acceptable by Ukraine for any accord, especially as regards the security guarantees alliance members might be able to offer Kyiv.

There are also divergences over what further weapons to send Ukraine, and on the question of whether talking to Putin is helpful or not, according to people familiar with discussions that have taken place in the past week between leaders on both sides of the Atlantic and documents seen by Bloomberg.

France and Germany are of the view a cease-fire should be achieved quickly and then the withdrawal of Russian troops. But other Nato members believe the dialog that Paris and Berlin are pursuing with the Kremlin is counterproductive and could play into Putin's hands, according to one of the documents. BLOOMBERG

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