A new session of Russian-Ukrainian talks was held on Tuesday, March 29, in Istanbul, Turkey.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu on Tuesday hailed the “most significant progress” since the beginning of the war, specifying that the talks would not resume on Wednesday. “From now on, it will be up to the foreign ministers of the two countries to meet to resolve the most difficult issues”he added, after three hours of discussions between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations.
According to Turkish media, the heads of the two delegations met face-to-face on the sidelines of the discussions.
- Moscow says it wants to “radically” reduce its military activity in Ukraine
Russia promised on Tuesday to reduce “radically” its military activity in the direction of kyiv and Cherniguiv in Ukraine. « Negotiations on an agreement on the neutrality and non-nuclear status of Ukraine entering a practical dimension (…)it was decided, in order to increase confidence, to drastically reduce military activity in the direction of kyiv and Cherniguiv »Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin said in Istanbul after the talks.
The head of the Russian delegation and representative of the Kremlin, Vladimir Medinsky, reported on “substantial talks” and said that the proposals “clear” of Ukraine with a view to an agreement were going to be “studied very soon and submitted to the President” Vladimir Poutine.
According to him, a meeting of Ukrainian leaders Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian Vladimir Putin, as well as representatives of guarantor states, would be possible in the event of an agreement to end hostilities. “Regarding a meeting of the two presidents, we have said from the beginning that it will be possible when there is an agreement. (…) The meeting could be multilateral, with the participation of guarantor States”he said.
“After today’s substantial discussion, we have come to an agreement and propose that the meeting take place to initial the agreement”he said. “On condition of[effectuer] work quickly on the agreement and find the necessary compromises, the possibility of concluding peace will approach”said Medinski.
- Neutrality of Kyiv subject to guarantees for its security from foreign powers
In a second statement on Russian television, he detailed proposals presented earlier by kyiv, which would commit to neutrality subject to having foreign powers guarantee its security.
Ukraine would also agree not to host foreign military bases and to adopt a statute “non-nuclear”.
Ukraine will agree to be neutral, if it obtains a “international agreement” to guarantee its security, of which several countries would be signatories acting as guarantors, also declared the negotiator. Neutrality means for kyiv to give up joining NATO, a red line for Moscow, but Ukraine asks in return that Western states guarantee its security.
For the Ukrainian chief negotiator, David Arakhamia, these guarantees must provide the same type of protection as Article 5 of the Atlantic Alliance treaty which stipulates that an attack against one of its members is an attack against all.
kyiv proposes that these guarantees do not immediately cover Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014, nor the territories under the control of pro-Russian separatists since 2014. These disputes will have to be the subject of separate negotiations.
According to the Russian negotiator, kyiv wants Moscow to commit not to oppose Ukraine joining the European Union. Mr Medinski described the Ukrainian approach as “constructive” and clarified that Russia “give an answer”. According to him, a possible agreement would be signed by the heads of diplomacy of the two countries, in the presence of MM. Putin and Zelensky.
To justify its February 24 offensive, Russia notably accused Ukraine of wanting to launch a massive attack against the territories of pro-Russian separatists and of seeking to acquire nuclear weapons.
- Joe Biden was to discuss Ukraine with European leaders
US President Joe Biden will meet with European leaders on Tuesday about the war in Ukraine, the White House has announced. The phone call, scheduled for 9:15 a.m. (3:15 p.m. Paris time) with the French, British, German and Italian leaders, aims to “discuss the latest developments regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine”said a spokesperson.