Kyiv — Ukrainian and Russian delegates met on Monday in the first direct negotiations between the two countries since Russia launched its invasion five days ago. The talks lasted for hours, and while they brought some hope of an end to the war,The president and Kyiv residents made it clear that they expected little discussion. Even during the meeting there were reports of intense Russian bombing of cities in eastern Ukraine.
Russia will not explain its goals from the talks, but CBS News’ Haley Ott reported that Ukraine’s main demands are an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of all Russian forces. Russian officials said that the meeting ended early in the evening and that concerned delegations were heading back to their capitals to discuss negotiations.
The Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, was still on high alert on Monday, but residents were allowed out of their homes and shelters for the first time since Saturday night, when the local government – preparing to escalate the Russian siege on the city – said anyone out on the streets would treat it as an enemy.
Hours before the start of Russian-Ukrainian negotiations at a site near the border with Belarus, Ukrainian officials said Russia again bombed major cities overnight. Defense officials said Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, came under intense artillery bombardment after Ukrainian forces retook it from Russian forces the day before.
Meanwhile, pressure was mounting on Russian leader Vladimir Putin, as the entire United Nations General Assembly convenedto discuss the crisis a day after Putin announced he had put his nuclear forces on alert in response to what he claimed were “aggressive statements” by NATO, and punished sanctions from the world’s richest nations.