Overthrowing the Ukrainian government is not our goal, according to Russia

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Russia will achieve its goal of securing Ukraine’s neutral status and will prefer to do so through talks, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.

Moscow’s goals do not include overthrowing the Kyiv government and it hopes to make more significant progress in the next round of talks with Ukraine, Zakharova told a briefing, adding that the military operation to Russia was proceeding strictly according to its plan.

His comments came a day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said his country was no longer insisting on joining NATO and was open to a compromise on the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, recognized as independent by Russia.

The Russian Foreign Ministry also said “progress has been made” in talks with Ukraine.

Ukrainian and Russian officials met on the Belarus-Poland border for talks aimed at ending the fighting.

Humanitarian Corridors

Ms Zakharova said another round of talks would focus on humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians. The army’s goal is “not to occupy Ukraine, nor the destruction of its state, nor the overthrow of the government. It is not directed against the civilian population,” Zakharova said.

President Vladimir Putin said he sent troops to Ukraine to “denazify” the country.

Ms Zakharova, during the briefing, accused the Kyiv authorities of blocking efforts to evacuate civilians. “Information on humanitarian corridors is deliberately not communicated to the population,” she said. “People wishing to leave for Russia are forced to evacuate to the west.”

Russia and Ukraine on Wednesday agreed to a one-day ceasefire around a series of evacuation corridors to allow civilians to escape the fighting.

Moscow said this week it would set up evacuation corridors, but Kiev said the proposed routes were unacceptable because some led to Russia.

Ms Zakharova said around two million Ukrainians wanted to be evacuated to Russia.

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