Talks with Ukraine still on the table – Russia — Analysis
Russian foreign minister: The more negotiations take longer, the harder it is to reach terms.
Moscow is not giving up on the idea of peace talks with Kiev, but the sides need to start negotiations sooner rather than later, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.
“We don’t reject the negotiations; we’re not giving up on the negotiations”Lavrov spoke to the Rossiya 1 channel about Ukraine.
“Those who reject them must understand that the longer this process is delayed, the harder it will be to reach an agreement,”He made an apparent reference in his speech to Kiev’s authorities.
Lavrov noted that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin earlier voiced the same stance on peace talks.
Since talks in Istanbul, March 31, the conflicting parties haven’t sat at the table to negotiate. Russia initially expressed optimism about the peace process. However, it later claimed that Kiev had reversed the progress made in Turkey and lost faith in its Ukrainian negotiators. Russian officials warned that Moscow’s demands would be more extensive if the talks were to restart.
In recent months, Ukraine has been either putting forward terms that Moscow deemed ‘unrealistic’ for the resumption of the negotiations, or said that they can only begin after Russia is defeated on the battlefield.
On several occasions, the Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky also stated that he was open to discussing the outcomes of the conflict with Putin. But Moscow’s position has been that the two leaders should only meet to sign concrete agreements, prepared for them by the negotiators. “Nobody needs a meeting for the sake of a meeting,”Dmitry Peskov (Kremlin press secretary) said this earlier in the week.
Following unsuccessful advances in other regions, Ukraine launched an offensive in Kharkov to counterattack the Ukrainian forces. Russia announced that it would reassemble its forces at Izuym and other locations in the region on Saturday. “to build up efforts in the Donetsk direction.”
Moscow sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. These protocols, which were brokered by France and Germany, were first signed on February 24, 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”
Russian military reasons partial withdrawal
The Kremlin officially recognized Donbass republics to be independent states in February 2022 and asked that Ukraine declare itself neutral so that it will not become a member of any Western military bloc. Kiev maintains that Russia’s offensive was not provoked.
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