BREAKING: Russia, Ukraine begin first peace talks

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Talks between Ukrainian and Russian delegations in Belarus began just before 1 p.m. Ukrainian time (6 a.m. ET) on Monday.

According to CNN, Ukraine’s delegation includes several high-ranking officials, but not Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky himself.

The country demanded an “immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of Russian troops” in the lead-up to the meeting.

Meanwhile, CNN reports that Belarusian minister welcomes Ukrainian and Russian delegations for talks, saying they should feel “completely safe”

“Dear friends, the President of Belarus asked me to welcome you and to provide everything for your work, as agreed with President Zelensky and President Putin. You may feel completely safe here. This is our sacred duty,” Makei said.