Diplomatic efforts to broker peace between the warring sides in Ukraine have gathered momentum with negotiators from Moscow and Kiev resuming fresh round of talks on Monday.
The fourth round of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, which comes after both sides hailed progress in earlier rounds despite no significant breakthrough,was held via video conference.
Ukrainian presidential adviser and negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak said “a hard negotiation between Moscow and Kiev has started.”
“Political positions of two parties have actively explained but the ongoing communication is hard because of too different political systems,” he said, tweeting a photo of the talks.
Earlier, Podolyak made the announcement, saying negotiations “go non-stop in the format of video conferences”.
His statement on Twitter corroborated an earlier statement issued by Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Russian presidency.
In a tweet late on Sunday, Podaliak said working groups are “constantly functioning” and a “large number of issues require constant attention.”
“On Monday, March 14, a negotiating session will be held to summarize the preliminary results," he wrote.
Ворогу, ні найменьших попущень, ні одного міліметра , не поступитися.— Орест Кучерин (@orestkucheryn) March 13, 2022
Благословення Господнє на вас, нехай перебуває завжди, скрізь і повсякчас.
"З нами Бог, яко з нами Бог..."
In another tweet, he took a jibe at Moscow, saying they had “turned to China for military help”, referring to Western media reports, while dismissing Kremlin’s military operation in Ukraine as “failure”.
Meanwhile, a senior member of Russia's negotiating team, Leonid Slutsky, believes that "important progress" has been made in the earlier rounds of talks hosted on the border of neighboring Belarus.
Slutsky says there is a possibility for the two sides to come up with draft peace agreements, the RIA news agency reported on Sunday.
He, however, did not clarify what matters of contention the potential agreements would cover.
"If we compare the positions of both delegations at the start of the talks and now, we see significant progress," he told the network, according to Russian news agencies.
"My own expectations are that this progress could develop over the next few days into a unified position held by both delegations in documents to be signed," agencies cited him as saying.
Negotiators from the two warring sides have held several rounds of talks since Russia launched the military operation in Ukraine last month.
Earlier this week, Turkey hosted a first meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers in an attempt to de-escalate tensions.
Zelensky on Saturday said Russia had adopted a "fundamentally different approach" in the talks.
On February 24, Putin announced a “special military operation” aimed at “demilitarization” of the restive Donetsk and Lugansk regions in eastern Ukraine.
In 2014, the two regions declared themselves new republics, refusing to recognize Ukraine’s Western-backed government.
Announcing the operation, Putin said the mission was aimed at “defending people who for eight years are suffering persecution and genocide by the Kiev regime.”
Kiev has already said it is willing to negotiate but has refused to surrender or accept any ultimatums.
Meanwhile, fighting rages in the Kiev suburbs as Russian forces make rapid advances towards the capital. Only roads to the south remain open and Kyiv is preparing to mount a "relentless defense", according to the Ukrainian president's office.