Negotiators Report Progress in Russia-Ukraine Talks in Istanbul
March 29, 2022 (EIRNS)—Russian Presidential aide Vladimir Medinsky came out of the Russia-Ukraine talks in Istanbul today, indicating progress on a number of points at issue between Russia and Ukraine, possibly even leading to a treaty and, eventually, a meeting between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelenskyy. “After today’s meaningful conversation, we agreed and suggest a solution, under which a meeting between the heads of state is possible concurrently with the initialing of the treaty by the foreign ministers, the more so as during this initialing and consideration of the treaty’s details, it will be possible to discuss various political nuances and details,” he said, reported TASS.
“The format was as follows: first, a treaty is drafted, then it is approved by the negotiators, signed by foreign ministers at a personal meeting, and only after that a possible meeting between the heads of state is organized to sign this treaty,” he said. “It is not a simple matter, the more so as it could be a multilateral meeting involving guarantor nations of peace and security in Ukraine.”
Medinsky said that the Ukrainian side came forward with a “clearly phrased” written position which will be studied by the Russian side. The Ukrainian side submitted proposals “confirming its striving toward a neutral, off-bloc and nuclear-free status, with a refusal from the production and deployment of all types of weapons of mass destruction, including chemical and bacteriological weapons, and a ban on the deployment of foreign military and foreign troops. We have received these written proposals,” he said. The guarantees of security Kyiv is seeking “do not cover the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol, which means that Ukraine abolishes its intent to return Crimea and Sevastopol military, claiming that this would only be possible via negotiations,” Medinsky said. “Of course, this does not correspond to our position in any way, but Ukraine has formulated its approach.” The proposals also do not cover “certain regions” of Donbas.
For the Ukrainian side, former First Deputy Foreign Minister Oleksandr Chaly explained with regard to the security guarantees that Ukraine is seeking, “the key requirement is clear, legally binding guarantees to Ukraine, which in their content and form should be similar to Article 5 of the NATO Charter.” That is, if Ukraine is attacked, some combination of states that have signed on to the guarantees would be obligated to come to Ukraine’s defense. “If we manage to consolidate these key provisions, Ukraine will be in a position to fix its status as a de facto non-bloc and non-nuclear state in the form of permanent neutrality,” Chaly said.