after “significant” negotiations in Istanbul, Moscow promises to “radically reduce” its offensive against Kiev

The talks between Russia and Ukraine on Tuesday, March 29, in Istanbul were “substantial” and could lead to a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to end the conflict that began more than a month ago, negotiated negotiators from both sides after three hours of talks.

Progress in the negotiations could have military consequences for the nature of Russia’s offensive in Ukraine. At the end of Tuesday’s session, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin announced that Moscow intended “drastically reduce [son] military activity in the direction of Kiev and Chernihiv ”. Present in Istanbul, he spoke of a decision made “to increase confidence”when “Negotiations on an agreement on Ukraine’s neutrality and non-nuclear status [entrent] in a practical dimension. On Friday, Moscow had already announced its intention to concentrate its efforts on “Liberation of the Donbass”.

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Following the announcement of these advances, which seem to mark a turning point in the discussions between Kiev and Moscow, the United States expressed their doubts through the voice of Foreign Minister Antony Blinken. “I have not seen anything to suggest that there is a real movement because we have not seen any signs of real seriousness from Russia.”he stated while visiting Morocco, during a press conference.

Kiev will accept neutral status in exchange for security guarantees

Tuesday’s announcements follow what the head of the Russian delegation and Kremlin representative Vladimir Medinsky called the proposal “clear” from Ukraine. According to him, Kiev would commit to neutrality provided that foreign powers guarantee its security.

Neutrality means that Kiev is giving up on joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which was a red line for Moscow. Ukraine will also agree not to host foreign military bases and to adopt a statute “non-nuclear”but will in turn ask that Western states guarantee its security.

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The Ukrainian chief negotiator, David Arakhamia, specified that Kiev demanded one “international agreement” signed by several guarantor countries, which “will act in accordance with Article 5 of NATO and even more firmly”. Article 5 of the Atlantic Alliance Treaty provides that an attack on one of its members is an attack on all. Mr. Arakhamia cited among the countries that Ukraine would like as guarantors, the United States, China, France and the United Kingdom – permanent members of the UN Security Council – as well as Turkey, Germany, Poland and Israel.

kyiv proposes that these guarantees do not immediately cover Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, nor the territories that have been under the control of pro-Russian separatists since 2014. These disputes should be the subject of separate negotiations. To address the specific issue of Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014, Kiev proposes “fifteen” of separate Russian-Ukrainian negotiations, according to another Ukrainian negotiator, Mykhaïlo Podoliak.

According to the Russian negotiator, Kiev wants Moscow to commit not to oppose Ukraine’s accession to the European Union.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu paid tribute “most significant progress” since the beginning of the war, stating that negotiations 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, at the end of the discussions between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations. According to Turkish media, the leaders of the two delegations met face to face on the sidelines of the discussions.

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Soon a meeting between MM. Putin and Zelensky?

Medinski described the Ukrainian approach as “constructive” and explained that Russia “would give an answer”. According to him, any agreement would be signed by the diplomats of the two countries in the presence of MM. Putin and Zelensky. For his part, Mr Arakhamia believed that the situation was now “sufficient” to a summit between the two heads of state.

The Russian negotiator recalled that according to him a meeting of the MM. Zelensky and Putin, as well as representatives of guarantor states, would be possible in the event of an agreement to end the hostilities. “After today’s extensive discussion, we have reached an agreement and suggest that the meeting take place to initialize the agreement”he said. “On condition of[effectuer] work quickly on the agreement and find the necessary compromises, the possibility of making peace is approaching ”said Medinski.

  • Joe Biden talked about Ukraine with European leaders

US President Joe Biden was due to meet with European leaders on Tuesday about the war in Ukraine, the White House announced. The telephone call with the French, British, German and Italian leaders was intended to “to discuss recent developments regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine”said a spokesman.

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In the afternoon, the US Secretary of State expressed his skepticism about the recent negotiations. “I have not seen anything to suggest that there is a real movement because we have not seen any signs of real seriousness from Russia.”he said at a press conference in Morocco. “But if Ukraine assesses that there is [du mouvement], that is good and we will support it ”however, the U.S. diplomat qualified. “There is what Russia says and what Russia does. We focus on what she does ”said Mr Blinken, believing that the Ukrainians are negotiating with “literally a gun to their heads”. “We will judge Putin and his regime on the basis of his actions, not his words”a spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also told reporters.

  • European stock markets are accelerating and taking around 3%

Progress in the negotiations between Ukraine and Russia, which gives investors hope for a potential ceasefire, intensified the rise of European stock markets; they ended at around 3% while the Wall Street Stock Exchange opened higher.

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