Russian presidential aide Vladimir Medinsky, also the head of the Russian delegation in several rounds of talks with Ukraine, said Friday that the two sides have moved closer to agreement on the key issue of Ukraine dropping attempts to join NATO and adopting a neutral status.
According to Russian media reports, he said that the two sides are now "halfway" on issues regarding the demilitarization of Ukraine, though their positions on the management of Donbass still differ.
Ukrainian Presidential Advisor Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted Friday that Ukraine's positions at the peace talks with Russia remain unchanged: "a ceasefire, the withdrawal of troops and strict security guarantees with specific formula."
The Ukrainian news outlet Ukrayinska Pravda reported Friday that Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he is ready for fresh talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.
In a telephone call with French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin explained that the country's armed forces were doing everything possible to save civilian lives and open humanitarian corridors for the safe evacuation of the population.
Putin also held a phone conversation with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, voicing Moscow's readiness to explore solutions to the Russia-Ukraine conflict during negotiations with the Ukrainian side.
Produced by Xinhua Global Service