Russia Agrees to Refugee Corridors

'What are you afraid of?' Zelensky asks in pushing Putin for direct meeting
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2022 4:07 PM CST
Russia, Ukraine OK Path for Refugees
A woman fleeing the fighting in Ukraine holds her baby Thursday in Siret, Romania, at the Romanian-Ukrainian border.   (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

There was little movement in the Ukraine-Russia peace talks Thursday, but there was a change that could help those trying to escape the fighting flee safely. Negotiators agreed to set up humanitarian corridors for war refugees, Axios reports. Mykhailo Podolyak, a member of the Ukrainian delegation, said his team went into the talks wanting the corridors for civilians and a cease-fire. "The results Ukraine needs are not yet achieved," he tweeted about the cease-fire. A timetable for establishing the path for those leaving Ukraine wasn't released. It would be coupled with cease-fires, per USA Today. In a week, more than 1 million people have left Ukraine.

In the talks in Belarus, humanitarian issues including the evacuations, food, and medicine were the focus, per NPR. On the invasion, Russia stuck to President Vladimir Putin's insistence on the "demilitarization and neutrality of Ukraine," as he had in a call Thursday with French President Emmanuel Macron. President Volodymyr Zelensky called out Putin to "sit down with me" and negotiate directly. "What are you afraid of?" Zelensky asked in a press conference, adding: "It is not that I want to talk with Putin. I think I have to talk with Putin. The world has to talk with Putin because there are no other ways to stop this war."

The negotiators said only that they will meet again soon. One analyst said that Putin's refusal to yield on any of his demands shows he has no intention of negotiating. Democratic Rep. Adam Smith and others suggest the US lay out the conditions for lifting the sanctions against Russia to give Putin a way out. Radek Sikorski, a Polish politician and diplomat, argues instead that the goal of sanctions at this point should be a change of rulers in the Kremlin, per Axios. (More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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