Zelensky says Ukraine regaining lost ground as hopeful peace talks continue

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Peace talks are set to resume in Istanbul, reported Sky News, even though there are claims of a chemical attack during previous negotiations.

A Russian oligarch and two representatives from Ukraine were said to be suffering from red eyes, painful tearing and peeling skin on their faces and hands.

One of these men was former Chelsea FC boss Roman Abramovich, who was apparently unable to see for several hours.

In an evening message to his people, President Zelensky praised the “liberation” of the town of Irpin to the northwest of Kyiv.

However, he acknowledged that Russia was likely to continue its offensive, despite reports it has largely stalled.

He said: “Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv regions, Donbas, southern Ukraine – the situation everywhere remains tense, very difficult.”

The southern city of Mariupol has been under heavy siege, as the Russians have refused to allow a humanitarian corridor to be arranged for Monday so its citizens can escape, according to Mr Zelensky.

Representatives from Russia and Ukraine will meet in Istanbul on Tuesday, as Turkey continues to maintain its position of neutrality and act as mediator between the two countries.

Ukraine has said it wishes to secure a ceasefire, although the US is “sceptical” of any real breakthrough.

On Monday, President Zelensky appeared to offer some compromises on a peace deal, saying he would consider Ukrainian neutrality and offer security guarantees to Russia.

He added that the issue could be put to the Ukrainian people in a referendum.

The US has also cast doubt on the alleged chemical attack, with sources saying “intelligence highly suggests” the cause was in fact environmental.

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Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has offered words of warning for anyone negotiating with the Russians.

He said: “I advise anyone going for negotiations with the Russian Federation not to eat or drink anything.

“And, preferably, avoid touching any surfaces.”

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