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IANS

Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready to send a Russian delegation to the Belarusian capital of Minsk for negotiations with Ukraine, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.

The Russian team will consist of representatives of the Defense Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and the Presidential administration, Peskov added on Friday.

Earlier on Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a televised address that he wants to hold negotiations with Russia over its military operation, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Kremlin Spokesman recalled the purpose of Russia's operation is to "help the 'Luhansk People's Republic' and the 'Donetsk People's Republic', including by the demilitarisation and denazification of Ukraine, which is actually an integral part of the issue for Ukraine's neutral status."

Also on Friday, Putin held a phone conversation with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who promised to create all the necessary conditions for the Russia-Ukraine talks.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a briefing that his country has no plan to occupy Ukraine and Moscow is ready to hold negotiations straight after the Ukrainian forces "lay down their arms."

Russian forces have blockaded the Ukrainian capital of Kiev from the west, and they also continue to perform tasks in the areas of other cities, said Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman, Igor Konashenkov.

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