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Russia, Ukraine Close to Agreement on Neutrality but Not on De-nazification

March 19, 2022 (EIRNS)—Are the peace talks between Russia and Ukraine really making progress or not? Russian presidential aide Vladimir Medinsky, yesterday, in response to a comment made by Mykhailo Podolyak, his Ukrainian counterpart, said that there can be no meeting of the two Presidents until there’s a document ready to be signed. “I’m absolutely not ready to comment on that. I can only say that before we even mention a meeting of the leaders, delegations of negotiators must prepare and agree on the text of a treaty. After that, the text of the treaty should be initialed by foreign ministers, and approved by governments. After that, a possibility of a summit can be discussed,” he said on March 18, reported TASS.

Podolyak had reportedly stated earlier that a meeting between Putin and Zelenskyy might be organized after the work on the settlement document was completed. According to him, such a meeting was possible in the next couple of weeks.

Medinsky had earlier pointed out what the roadblock in the talks actually is, and it’s not Ukraine’s neutral status. “The topic of neutral status and non-accession of Ukraine to NATO is one of the key issues of the negotiations. This is the issue on which the parties have brought their positions as close as possible,” Medinsky stated. “Then details begin relating to what security guarantees Ukraine receives in addition to those already existing in case of its refusal to join the NATO bloc.”

Other questions however, namely Russian demands to “demilitarize” and “denazify” Ukraine, remain the subject of debate. The delegations are only “halfway” into finding common grounds on the former issue, Medinsky revealed, while the situation with the latter remains “rather strange,” with Kiev continuing to deny the very existence of neo-Nazis in the country. “Ukrainian colleagues believe that there are no Nazi formations in Ukraine,” he explained.

Just in case anyone thought there was any ambiguity in what the Russians mean by “denazification,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov explained yesterday: “And of course, denazification is an absolute must. And it includes not only cancelling the laws encouraging Nazi ideology and practices, but it also includes withdrawing any legislation which discriminates against the Russian language and other national minority languages and in general national minority rights in Ukraine, which have been hugely discriminated and offended,” he told RT in an interview.

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