Ukraine vowed that it will not surrender to Russia amid talks between delegates from both countries along the border.
“Ukraine is ready to continue seeking a diplomatic solution, but Ukraine is not ready to surrender or capitulate,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told CNBC on Monday, coming several days after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the invasion of Ukraine.
Kuleba told the news outlet that he’s not sure whether the talks are going to be successful or not. On Sunday, Ukrainian officials confirmed there would be talks along the Ukraine–Belarus border.
“I’m a diplomat, I have to believe in the success of talks, but at the same time my main goal as a diplomat now is to impose more sanctions on Russia, to bring more weapons to Ukraine, and to isolate Russia as much as we can in the international arena so I’m focused on this part of diplomacy,” he said, adding that “we stand not only for ourselves but for the world order as we all know it.”
On social media, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office said it would demand an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian forces. Some military analysts have said that Russia’s advance has been slowed by Ukrainian defense forces despite Russia having more tanks, armored vehicles, and planes.
A tense calm reigned Monday in Kyiv, where people lined up to buy food and water after two nights trapped inside by curfew. Explosions and gunfire were heard in embattled cities in eastern Ukraine, and terrified families huddled overnight in shelters, basements, or corridors.
Exact death tolls are unclear, but the U.N. human rights chief said 102 civilians have been killed and hundreds wounded in five days of fighting—warning that figure was likely a vast undercount—and Ukraine’s president said at least 16 children were among the dead. More than 500,000 people have fled the country since the invasion, another U.N. official said Monday—among millions who have left their homes.
After the fighting started, the United States and European Union hit Russia with far-reaching sanctions and other economic penalties. In response, on Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he would ready the country’s strategic defense forces, which oversees the country’s vast arsenal of nuclear weapons.
The United States, European Union, and the United Kingdom also agreed to block selected Russian banks from the SWIFT system, which facilitates moving money around thousands of banks and other financial institutions worldwide.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.