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Lukashenko may take part in future peace talks – top Ukrainian official

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A group of the “real” negotiators to speak to Ukraine already exists in Russia, Kiev’s head of national security also claims

Aleksey Danilov, head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, has speculated that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko may take part in future peace talks between Moscow and Kiev.

The top official took to Facebook on Sunday to share his assessment of the short-lived insurrection of Wagner Group PMC in Russia. His statement contrasted with the elated reactions of officials in Kiev while the action was escalating, with Danilov claiming the affair was only the “first stage” of the purportedly upcoming downfall of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Danilov also claimed that Russian elites were in disarray, with multiple unspecified military and security officials growing weary of the Kremlin’s policies. The security chief implied these are the “real” negotiators to speak with Ukraine in the future, adding that the Belarusian president may also take part in this process. Previously, Ukrainian authorities had explicitly prohibited themselves from ever negotiating with Russia with Vladimir Putin in power.

“There is already a real group of future Russian negotiators [to negotiate] with Ukraine, but for now it remains in the shadows. Lukashenko’s participation in this process is not ruled out,” Danilov wrote.

The security chief did not explain what he was basing his assessment on, particularly given the current state of relations between Kiev and Minsk. Earlier this week, Ukraine’s parliament proposed to label Belarus an “aggressor state” – like its main ally, Russia – and to sever diplomatic ties with it completely.

Russia endured a short-lived mutiny launched by Wagner Group PMC chief Evgeniy Prigozhin on Saturday. The company seized control of a military HQ and other installations in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, and advanced towards Moscow. The situation, however, was ultimately defused after tense talks, facilitated by Lukashenko, with Prigozhin receiving a safe passage to Belarus and a criminal case against him for insurrection being dropped.

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