Russia-Ukraine talks resumed on Thursday, with Kyiv seeking an immediate ceasefire as Russian forces increased their bombing of Ukrainian cities. Crypto markets were largely muted as investors awaited more progress in peace talks.

Belarus’ Foreign Ministry said in a tweet that talks between both sides had begun. The day’s talks follow an initial round of negotiations this Monday, which had proven to be largely inconclusive. But dignitaries from Russia and Ukraine had expressed some optimism over being able to find common ground.

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine stretched into a second week, forces were seen intensifying their assault on Ukrainian cities, specifically Kharkiv. Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly told his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, that Moscow’s goal of the demilitarization and neutrality of Ukraine would be achieved either ways.  But Russian foreign ministry officials expressed some hope that a peaceful solution could be reached through the talks.

Ukraine’s demands remained the same- an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of Russian troops, along with the return of separatist territories. Kyiv also demanded the establishment of a humanitarian corridor to safely evacuate non-combatants.

 Crypto markets in holding pattern, Russia-Ukraine in focus

After a strong recovery from one-month lows, crypto markets have traded largely rangebound for the past two days, with investors awaiting more progress on the Russia-Ukraine front. Bitcoin has hovered around the $43,000 mark, while ethereum held just below $3000.

Still, the space has largely sidestepped a rout in equity markets, which have proven to be more sensitive to strict sanctions imposed by the West against Russia. The United States and its allies blocked Russian banks from the SWIFT transaction system, while also freezing their overseas assets and curbing technology exports to the country. The move is expected to impact global markets, due to Russia’s role as a key oil exporter.

But the conflict has also put crypto squarely in focus, as Ukraine adopted the medium at an unprecedented pace to receive aid. The strict sanctions have also fueled speculation that Moscow could use crypto to bypass restrictions.

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