Ukraine negotiations: Complete ceasefire hard to imagine as Russians advance

Ukraine: Russian senator admits to massive military losses

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Over the last week, Russian and Ukrainian diplomats have met on the Polish-Belarusian border to negotiate a path out of the crisis. They have made some meaningful progress, as on Thursday, they approved limited ceasefires to facilitate humanitarian corridors. But experts believe it discussions over broadening and setting these ceasefires may prove unsuccessful.

The overall goal for both diplomatic missions is to end the war, with the Ukrainian side eager to stop Russian advancement and Russia’s side intent on drawing concessions.

While the humanitarian corridors were a promising step, neither mission has succeeded so far, and there is no “substantial progress”, according to Maksym Chepeliev, a Ukrainian research economist.

He told Express.co.uk it is unlikely any major progress would be made unless Russia changes its list of conditions.

As such, future talks would likely see key issues distilled into “targeted solutions of selected key issues”, such as new corridors or temporary ceasefires in selected areas or regions.

Shedding light on possible future demands, Mr Chepeliev said they would depend on the “dynamics of the conflict”, both militarily and economically.

He said the scope of the sanctions is “unprecedented” and “constantly expanding”, and led Goldman Sachs to alter its Russian GDP forecast for 2022 to a seven percent decrease over two percent increase.

As a consequence, the Russian economy is heading into a state not seen since the 1990s, during the run-up to and eventual collapse of the Soviet Union.

That may not persuade Mr Putin to change his negotiating stance unless the effects bleed out beyond the Russian middle class.

Mr Chepeliev said: “Essentially, the Russian economy is heading toward the early 90s, with a particularly hard hit for low-income households that do not have any savings.

“But it is hard to evaluate to what extent the economic factors would be in consideration by the Russian authorities considering their ongoing rhetoric.

“The former, though, could have an indirect impact on the negotiation dynamics through the Russian business circles and state company officials.”

Western allies could exact the most significant toll if they focussed on restricting Russian energy commodities, he added.

As negotiations around the invasion continue, they have branched off to address an urgent situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

The plant, which is the largest in Europe, was attacked by Russia on Thursday and caught fire.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other world leaders called for immediate negotiations to cease active firing in the area.

After a brief climb down, where Russian officials say they extinguished the fire, occupation has begun.

Petro Kotin, head of Energoatom, Ukraine’s nuclear power operator, said workers are running the plant “at gunpoint”.

He said via Telegram: “Today there is no connection, the station management works at invaders’ gunpoint.

“As for the staff, they were admitted in the morning to perform their duties.

“We do not currently have a direct connection to the station. We get information from the sources at the station.”

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