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Russia ready for talks with Ukraine to avoid further bloodshed — Foreign Ministry

A second round of talks is underway now in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, Belarus

MOSCOW, March 3. /TASS/. Russia is ready to continue negotiations with the Ukrainian side in order to avoid further bloodshed, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a briefing on Thursday.

"We, for our part, are ready to continue negotiations with the Ukrainian side with an aim to avoid further bloodshed, as the Russian leadership has repeatedly stated," she said.

On February 28, the first round of Russian-Ukrainian talks took place in the Gomel region, lasting five hours. The Russian negotiators were led by presidential aide Vladimir Medinsky, who said that the Russian delegation was ready to speak with the Ukrainian side for as long as it may take to reach agreements. A second round is underway now in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, Belarus.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised address on February 24 that in response to a request by the leaders of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation. The Russian head of state stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories. Russia’s Defense Ministry reported later on Thursday that Russian troops were not delivering strikes against Ukrainian cities. It emphasized that Ukrainian military infrastructure was being destroyed through the use of precision weapons. Civilians are not threatened, the Russian military assured.