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Ukraine Rejected Offer to Negotiate, Kremlin Says

Alexei Nikolsky / TASS

Russia said Ukraine rejected calls to negotiate an end to hostilities, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Saturday.

Peskov claimed President Vladimir Putin ordered a temporary pause in Russia’s advance in Ukraine on Friday, but ordered them to continue the invasion — which the Kremlin is calling a “special operation” — on Saturday after Kyiv rejected the calls to negotiate.

There were no signs of the temporary pause in Russia’s military action over the last 24 hours according to reports on the ground. Russian forces shelled the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv overnight, including hitting a residential building, multiple reports stated.

Moscow has publicly said its goal by invading Ukraine is to change the regime in Kyiv. Putin publicly called for an armed coup in Ukraine on Friday, asking the Ukrainian army to remove President Volodymyr Zelensky from office. 

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had said that any negotiations could only start once Ukraine surrenders. An adviser to Zelensky said Kyiv rejected negotiations due to preconditions put in place by Moscow.

Zelensky has repeatedly called for direct negotiations with Putin over the situation. U.S. officials dismissed Russia’s supposed offer to negotiate, which the Pentagon said was not offered in good faith. Zelensky on Saturday said Ukraine’s armed forces had repulsed a Russian advance on the capital Kyiv, and called on the city’s residents to defend against the invasion.

Peskov also told reporters that Western sanctions against Russia were “very serious,” but insisted the Russian economy would get through them

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