March 1, Tuesday, 2022 (1:30 p.m.) Newsline

1.Delegates from Ukraine and Russia have sat down for talks for the first time since the invasion started last week. They gathered in southeastern Belarus near the border with Ukraine on Monday. The Ukrainian side is urging an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of Russia’s military. The Russian delegation is demanding what it calls “demilitarization” of Ukraine and a guarantee it will remain neutral. Moscow apparently wants legal assurance that Ukraine won’t join NATO.
2.Russian President Vladimir Putin has reiterated his demand for the demilitarization and neutralization of Ukraine as conditions for a ceasefire in the country. Putin talked with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron by phone on Monday.
3.A senior US Defense Department official has said Russia was aiming to encircle the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv in the coming days. The official said nearly 75 percent of Russian troops amassed along the border were now in Ukraine. He added that Russia had fired more than 380 missiles.