(Update 1: Adds detail on talks concluding)
Lviv, Ukraine, Mar 14 (EFE).- A fourth round of talks between Russia and Ukraine that began on Monday has been paused until the following day, the Ukrainian delegation said as intense fighting continued on several fronts.
“A technical pause has been taken in the negotiations until tomorrow,” Mykhailo Podolyak, the Ukrainian presidential advisor, said on Twitter, adding that the break would allow negotiators to work in “subgroups” and to clarify “individual definitions.”
“Negotiations continue…,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Podolyak said the talks had got off to a difficult start with communication between the parties “hard.”
“The reason for the discord is too different political systems,” he continued, saying “Ukraine is a free dialogue within the society and an obligatory consensus” while Russia engages in “suppression of its own society.”
The talks were the fourth to be held in person since president Vladimir Putin launched his invasion on February 24.
Ahead of the meeting, Kyiv announced that it would repeat its demand of a cease-fire and the withdrawal of all Russian troops from Ukrainian territory.
“The positions of the Ukrainian delegation before the fourth round of negotiations with Russian representatives on Monday remain unchanged, and Kyiv will demand above all a ceasefire and the withdrawal of all Russian forces from Ukrainian territory,” Podolyak said.
Moscow has said it wants the demilitarization of Ukraine and a pledge that it will remain neutral and not join Nato, as well as recognition of the pro-Russian breakaway territories in eastern Ukraine and acknowledgement of Crimea as part of Russia.
At least 23 people were killed and 20 wounded in an attack by Ukrainian forces in the Donetsk region in the east of the country, Russian media reported on Monday citing sources from the separatist authorities in the affected areas.
Ukraine, meanwhile, said at least one person had been killed and three others wounded when a residential apartment building in Kyiv was struck by Russian shells.
The mayor of Mariupol, which has been besieged by Russian forces, claimed that over 2,500 civilians had been killed by almost incessant shelling in recent days, while the rest of the city has been deprived of medical resources, food and water.
The United Nations’ human rights office said last week that at least 564 civilians, including 41 children, had died in Ukraine since the invasion began, although it added that the exact number was likely higher.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Saturday that around 1,300 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed.
Ukrainian prime minister Denys Shmyhal claimed Monday over 12,000 Russian soldiers had been killed since the beginning of the invasion, although the figures have not been independently verified. EFE