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Putin paused military operation but resumed after Ukraine refused to negotiate: Kremlin Spokesperson

Moscow [Russia]: Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the suspension of advancement of its military forces in Ukraine on Friday (local time) but the operation was resumed Saturday afternoon after the Ukrainian leadership refused to talk, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. "Yesterday afternoon, in connection with the expected negotiations with the Ukrainian leadership, the Russian president and supreme commander ordered the suspension of the advance of the main forces," Peskov said, speaking to reporters on Saturday. "Since the Ukrainian side essentially refused to negotiate, the advance of the main Russian forces resumed this afternoon in accordance with the operational plan," he added, reported Sputnik. Earlier, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy suggested to Putin that they sit down at the negotiation table amid escalating tensions over Russia's military actions in Ukraine. "I would like to address the president of Russia once again ... let us sit down at the negotiation table to stop people dying," Zelenskyy said in a video address, Sputnik News Agency reported. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had also said that Moscow is ready for negotiations on Kyiv at any moment. "We are ready for negotiations. At any moment, as soon as the armed forces of Ukraine respond to the call of our president (Vladimir Putin), stop resisting and lay down their arms. No one is going to attack them, no one is going to oppress them, let them return to their families," Lavrov said. Zelenskyy on Friday discussed the sanctions, defence assistance and an anti-war coalition with US President Joe Biden. The conversation comes after Zelensky, who is still in Kyiv, delivered a speech saying Ukraine was "alone in defending our country".

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