ANKARA – Peace talks between Ukraine and Russia began on Monday, five days after Moscow launched a war against its western neighbor.
Ukraine's delegation arrived on Monday morning at the Gomel region of Belarus, which borders both sides to the conflict.
The Russian delegation had come to the meeting location on Sunday.
Russia's attack on Ukraine entered its fifth day after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the military intervention last Thursday, days after recognizing two separatist-held enclaves in eastern Ukraine.
The military move was met by an outcry from the international community, with the EU, UK, and US implementing a range of economic sanctions against the Kremlin.
Russia has been further isolated as its airlines have been banned from traveling in European airspace, as well as Canadian airspace, and a number of its banks have been kicked out of the SWIFT international banking system.
Ukraine said 5,300 Russian troops killed
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry claimed on Monday that nearly 5,300 Russian troops have been killed since the start of Russia's large-scale military intervention in Ukraine, which is now in its fifth day.
Ukraine's Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar shared information about the estimated losses of the Russian army from Feb. 24 to Feb. 28.
Maliar claimed that the Ukrainian army killed around 5,300 Russian troops, destroyed 29 warplanes, 29 helicopters, 191 tanks, 816 armored combat vehicles, 74 guns, and two ships/motorboats.
She added that Russian forces also lost a Buk anti-aircraft missile system, 21 Grad multiple launch rocket systems, 291 vehicles, 60 cisterns, five AAD assets, and three unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
On Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin directed the country's Defense Ministry to place deterrent forces on high alert.
Putin ordered the military intervention on Thursday, days after recognizing two separatist-held enclaves in eastern Ukraine.
At least 368,000 Ukrainians have fled to Poland, Hungary, Romania, Moldova and other countries since then, according to the UN Refugee Agency.
Western powers have imposed harsh financial sanctions on Moscow and decided to supply Ukraine with weapons and ammunition. (Anadolu)