Certain units of Russia’s military are withdrawing from capital Kyiv and nothern city of Chernihiv, Ukriane’s General Staff of the Armed Forces said in an official Facebook update on Tuesday. The announcement comes as the first face-to-face talks in two weeks between the two parties began Tuesday in Turkey

Russia’s military further claimed that it will “fundamentally cut back” operations near Kyiv, Chernihiv “to increase trust” in talks

While the General Staff of the Armed Forces claims that the Russians did not ‘meet the goal of its offensive operation’, it warned there is a high risk that the troops attack military and civilian infrastructure. 

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It further added that due to the “refusal of personnel to participate in the so-called special operation,” the Russian military is struggling to reinforce and rotate in new soldiers. 

An advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the meeting in Istanbul was focused on securing a cease-fire and guarantees for Ukraine’s security — issues that have been the focus of previous unsuccessful negotiations.

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Zelensky has already said that Ukraine is prepared to declare its neutrality. The Times reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin said he’d “thrash” the Ukrainians while speaking to Roman Abramovich. The Chelsea owner is acting as Moscow’s unofficial envoy in the talks with Kyiv. 

The Ukraine President further warned the “ruthless war” continued, and even the negotiators assembled, Russian forces hit an oil depot in western Ukraine and a government building in the south.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the two sides that they had a “historic responsibility” to stop the fighting.

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“We believe that there will be no losers in a just peace. Prolonging the conflict is not in anyone’s interest,” Erdogan said, as he greeted the two delegations seated on opposite sides of a long table.

Meanwhile, Russia has destroyed more than 60 religious buildings across the country in just over a month of war, with most of the damage concentrated near Kyiv and in the east, Ukraine’s military said in a post Tuesday.