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Putin ready to send delegation to Minsk for talks with Ukraine******
A man checks a broken window of an apartment in Donetsk region in Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready to send a Russian delegation to the Belarusian capital of Minsk for negotiations with Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.
The Russian team will consist of representatives of the defense ministry, the foreign ministry and the presidential administration, Peskov said.
Earlier in the day, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a televised address that he wants to hold negotiations with Russia over its military operation.
Peskov recalled the purpose of Russia's operation is to "help the Lugansk People's Republic and the Donetsk People's Republic, including by the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine, which is actually an integral part of the issue for Ukraine's neutral status."
Also on Friday, Putin held a phone conversation with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who promised to create all the necessary conditions for the Russia-Ukraine talks.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a briefing that his country has no plan to occupy Ukraine and Moscow is ready to hold negotiations straight after the Ukrainian forces "lay down their arms."
Russian forces have blockaded the Ukrainian capital of Kiev from the west, and they also continue to perform tasks in the areas of other cities, said Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov.
Military facilities out of order
The Russian Defense Ministry said on Friday that the Russian Armed Forces have disabled 118 military infrastructure facilities in Ukraine.
Eleven military airfields, 13 command posts and communication centers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, 14 S-300 and Osa anti-aircraft missile systems, and 36 radar stations were among the facilities put out of order, the ministry's Zvezda broadcaster reported, citing Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov.
Five combat aircraft, a helicopter and five drones of Ukraine have been shot down and dozens of vehicles have been destroyed so far, he added.
Konashenkov confirmed the Russian control of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, noting that soldiers of both sides have agreed to jointly protect the power units and the sarcophagus.
The radioactive background in the area of the nuclear power plant is normal, he said.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has instructed Russia's armed forces to "treat Ukrainian troops with respect" and create safety corridors for those servicemen who "have laid down their arms," according to the spokesman.
Backgrounder: Digital Economy Partnership Agreement******
BEIJING, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- China has filed a formal application to join the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA), the Ministry of Commerce announced Monday.。
The DEPA, signed in June 2020 by Chile, New Zealand and Singapore, is a new type of trade partnership agreement seeking to bolster digital trade by regulating issues related to the digital economy, including digital inclusion, data flows and protection, and artificial intelligence.。
It is designed to complement and support the ongoing World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations on e-commerce, and to build on the digital economy work underway within Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and other international forums.。
The DEPA is divided into modules which cover topics such as business and trade facilitation, data issues, business and consumer trust, innovation and the digital economy, etc.。
The DEPA is an open plurilateral agreement to which other WTO members are eligible to join if they are able to meet its standards.。
The agreement has since attracted interest from Canada and South Korea, with Seoul formally applying to join the pact last month.。
The application to join DEPA is in line with China's direction of further deepening domestic reform and expanding high-level opening-up, and will help the country strengthen digital economy cooperation with other members and promote innovation and sustainable development under the new development paradigm, the ministry said. Enditem。