New Delhi, March 29
Russia on Tuesday said it would scale down operations in Kyiv and northern Ukraine while it studied proposals for a ceasefire. After a fresh round of talks in Turkey, Moscow said it could consider a proposal for a meeting between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The meeting, however, is expected to be preceded by one between the foreign ministers of the two countries.
Moscow may consider Putin-Zelenskyy meet
After fresh talks, Moscow said it could consider a meeting between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelenskyy
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Ukrainian negotiators went on record to state that they have proposed that Kyiv would not join alliances of foreign troops, but would have guarantees from countries such as Israel, Canada, Poland and Turkey. Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, whom western reports had said was “poisoned”, was seen in fine fettle at the venue of the negotiations as a go-between.
Though Ukrainian negotiators wanted a meeting between Putin and Zelenskyy, Russia’s lead negotiator Vladimir Medinsky said that could happen after “we manage to consolidate these key provisions” in a meeting with foreign ministers.
Ahead of the talks, Zelenskyy promised neither to host foreign military bases nor enter into military-political alliances. He also suggested that he was prepared to compromise on the loss of the Russian-majority Donbas region, which along with Crimea is the bone of contention. The proposals mention a complete ceasefire, followed by a 15-year consultation period on the status of Russian-annexed Crimea. The Russian delegation said it would study and present the proposals to Putin.
On Monday night, Russian high-precision air-launched cruise missiles had destroyed a large fuel supply base for the Ukrainian military deployed in the suburbs of Kyiv. During the night, 68 military facilities of Ukraine were hit.
This destruction of Ukrainian military assets around Kyiv would be paused “in order to increase mutual trust and create the necessary conditions for further negotiations and achieving the ultimate goal of agreeing and signing an agreement,” said Russian Deputy Defence Minister Alexander Fomin.
Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said they had largely completed the first phase of assault, degraded Ukraine’s military capabilities and would now focus on areas claimed by separatists.
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