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Russia, Ukraine start first talks since Moscow assault

Russia, Ukraine start first talks since Moscow assault
February 28, 2022 AFP

KYIV (AFP) – Russian and Ukrainian delegations on Monday began their first talks since Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to invade Ukraine last week, Belarusian state news agency Belta reported.

"Russia and Ukraine are holding the first talks," Belta said. Ahead of the talks, the Ukrainian presidency had demanded an immediate Russian ceasefire and troop withdrawal.

At least 102 civilians in Ukraine have been killed since Thursday, with a further 304 wounded, but the real figure is feared to be "considerably higher", UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said on Monday.

More than 360,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries, according to the UN Refugee Agency.

A senior US defence official said Russia had fired more than 350 missiles at Ukrainian targets since Thursday, some hitting civilian infrastructure.

"It appears that they are adopting a siege mentality, which any student of military tactics and strategy will tell you, when you adopt siege tactics, it increases the likelihood of collateral damage," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.