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Peace talks stall after Russia pushes referendum to take over portions of southern Ukraine


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Peace talks between Ukrainian and Russian negotiators stalled Friday after revelations surfaced suggesting Moscow would seek a referendum to annex portions of southern Ukraine. 

The war in Ukraine has persisted for nearly 60 days with Russian troops allegedly taking heavy losses. 

Ukrainian defense officials said Friday that they had obtained intelligence suggesting that Moscow was looking to make up for its personnel losses by conscripting Ukrainian men in regions southwest of the Donbas – where the majority of heavy fighting is currently concentrated. 

A convoy of pro-Russian troops moves along a road in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Thursday, April 21.
(REUTERS/Chingis Kondarov)

UKRAINE DISPUTES RUSSIA’S CLAIM THAT IT WILL NOT STORM MARIUPOL STEEL PLANT FULL OF CIVILIANS

After two days of resumed negotiations, a high-ranking Ukrainian official reportedly said that talks had stopped and Kyiv had issued the Kremlin an “ultimatum” relating to its aggressive plans in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, first reported Ukrainian news outlet Pravada.

Peace negotiations have been ongoing for weeks after Russia originally submitted a list of several demands of Kyiv in order for it to withdraw its troops, among which were demilitarization, “denazification” and a pledge not to join NATO.

Ukraine has reportedly balked at both initial requests given the fact that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is Jewish and was democratically elected.

Kyiv has agreed not to join NATO.

In this photo released by the Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pauses during his and Brazilian Foreign Minister Carlos Franca's joint news conference following their talks in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. 

In this photo released by the Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pauses during his and Brazilian Foreign Minister Carlos Franca’s joint news conference following their talks in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. 
(Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP)

UKRAINE SAYS RUSSIA LOOKS TO ‘REPLENISH’ TROOPS BY CONSCRIPTING UKRAINIANS

But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed Friday that an updated proposal from Moscow had gone unanswered.

“We were negotiating. Now they have stopped because five days ago the next proposal we passed to the Ukrainian negotiators – which was formulated based on their comments at the time – remains unanswered,” he said during a press conference

It remains unclear what updates were included in the most recent round of negotiations.

Though Zelenskyy refuted these claims and said Ukrainian negotiators never received any such proposal. 

“We have not received anything,” he said in response to questions on the talks.

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In this image from video provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks from Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, April 8, 2022. 

In this image from video provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks from Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, April 8, 2022. 
(Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

Zelenskyy has previously warned that negotiations could crumble if Russia continues to aggressively bombard civilians trapped inside Mariupol. 

Lavrov dismissed the warning Friday and claimed Russia will not tolerate any ultimatums.



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