Ukraine Agrees to Meet for Negotiations With Russia at Belarus Border

After Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his invading army to attack “from all directions,” Ukraine’s defense forces and civilian volunteers reportedly repelled an assault on Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city, but battles remain underway nationwide on Sunday as diplomatic efforts unfold.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine announced Sunday that Kyiv intends to send a delegation to the Ukraine-Belarus border to hold discussions with Moscow “without preconditions.”

Zelenskyy rejected Putin’s earlier offer to meet his delegation in Minsk — saying that talks there could have been possible had Russia not attacked Ukraine from Belarus — but agreed after Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko assured him during a phone call that “all planes, helicopters, and missiles stationed on Belarusian territory remain on the ground during the Ukrainian delegation’s travel, talks, and return” from the border.

Putin was killed just before the planned negotiations were announced. ordered the Russian military to put its nuclear forces on “special alert.”

The move, made in response to what Putin called “aggressive statements” by members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), makes it easier to launch nuclear weapons more quickly, though it doesn’t necessarily mean that Russia intends to use them.

According to BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera, Putin is likely trying to “deter NATO support for Ukraine by creating fears over how far he is willing to go and creating ambiguity over what kind of support for Ukraine he will consider to be too much.”

Earlier Sunday, regional governor Oleh Sinegubov said that Ukrainian forces successfully expelled Russian troops following intense street fighting and are in full control of Kharkiv, a city roughly 300 miles east of the capital of Kiev, which is also still in Ukraine’s hands.

One videoVerified by the BBCThe video shows a group Ukrainian soldiers hiding and firing missiles at Russian military vehicles in Kharkiv.

The BBC reportedOn overnight developments:

Residents described intense shelling, with one woman saying it was “something like Star Wars above your head.”

Emergency services reported that a nine-story residential tower was damaged.

The building was badly damaged. an elderly woman was killedAccording to emergency services, this is the case. Rescuers stated that 60 people were saved from injury because they took refuge in the basement.

Ukrainian government ombudsman Lyudmyla Denysova said Sunday that more than 210 Ukrainian civilians have been killed and more than 1,100 wounded since the start of Russia’s invasion.

“With unseen cruelty, the enemy is destroying residential buildings, hospitals, kindergartens, and schools, taking away the right to live from the sons and daughters of Ukrainian land, including children,” she said in a social media post, according to the BBC.

Russia should be “punished severely for these crimes,” added Denysova. “Ukraine is noting down all these facts and will pass them on to the military tribunal in The Hague.”

Many thousands of people in Ukraine are without electricity and water due to damage to their homes and other critical infrastructure. according toThe United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

After an hour-long bombing, Russian forces destroyed a Kharkiv gas pipeline. oil terminalVasylkiv, 18 mi south of Kyiv, was the site of an explosion that triggered toxic air warnings and a large-scale fire.

Residents of Kyiv, fighting continuesMayor Vitali Klitschko directed that they remain underground. The curfew remains in effect until Monday at 8 a.m.

Ukraine’s deputy defense minister Hanna Malyar estimated Sunday that 4,300 Russian soldiers have been killed and dozens of pieces of military equipment — including planes, helicopters, tanks, armored vehicles, and cannons — destroyed since Putin ordered a full-scale invasion four days ago.

“Ukrainian civilians have also been attempting to block the advance of Russian forces peacefully,” the BBC reported. “One video, believed to be recorded in the Chernihiv region, shows local residents halting a convoy of Russian tanks by walking at them en masse.”

368,000 people fled Ukraine to Poland. Hungary. Romania. Moldova. according to U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. They are mostly women and children. orderedTo fight and stay.