(NewsNation) — Russia and Ukraine are holding new peace talks Tuesday with hopes raised there could be progress toward ending the bloody war that has stretched into its second month.
Russia’s ground forces have become bogged down because of the stronger-than-expected Ukrainian resistance, combined with what Western officials say are Russian tactical missteps, poor morale, shortages of food, fuel and cold weather gear and other problems.
Russia has now fired more than 1,370 missiles at Ukraine but Ukrainians have made some progress, according to U.S. defense officials. Ukraine reported taking back two towns south of Sumy in northeastern Ukraine.
Ukrainian forces seized back control of Trostyanets, 30 miles south of Sumy in the northeast, after weeks of Russian occupation that has left a landscape devastated by war. Sumy is still under Ukrainian control despite being attacked by Russians.
The other town, the fiercely contested Kyiv suburb of Irpin, is now in Ukrainian hands, as Russians continue to try to take Kyiv.
The Institute for the Study of War noted Russia’s attempts at advancing at all in northeastern Ukraine remain stalled and it’s likely to see more Russian troops concentrating on maintaining the Donbas region, where they have more solid control.
Ahead of the peace talks Tuesday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukraine was prepared to declare its neutrality, as Moscow has demanded, and was open to compromise over the contested eastern region of Donbas — comments that might lend momentum to negotiations.