The Russian army has been ordered to expand its offensive in Ukraine “from all sides” after Kiev refused to hold talks in Belarus, the defense ministry said on Saturday.
Russian forces forced their way into the Ukrainian capital Kiev before falling back to the suburbs, where they faced fierce resistance on day three of the invasion ordered by President Vladimir Putin.
“After the Ukrainian side rejected the negotiation process, all units have been ordered today to develop the advance from all directions in accordance with the plans of the operation,” Russian army spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement.
The Kremlin said on Friday that Putin was willing to send a delegation to Belarus for talks with Ukraine, but Ukraine wanted talks in Warsaw instead.
Ukraine says it is being attacked from several sides, including from Belarus.
Konashenkov has claimed that Russian forces have not targeted civilian areas, despite widespread evidence of this.
Ukraine said on Saturday that at least 198 civilians, including three children, have been killed since Moscow launched the attack.
Russia has not said how many of its soldiers were killed in the invasion, which it calls a “special military operation.”
Moscow has said its aim is to “de-Nazify” Ukraine.
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