Russia-Ukraine talks: Moscow and Kiev make major progress on the way to peace

Ukraine ready to accept neutral, non-nuclear status

The Ukrainian side has made a number of statements following the talks that ended today, March 29, in Istanbul, Turkey. 

  • Ukraine has submitted its proposals to Russia on the security guarantees treaty for Ukraine. This should be an international treaty to be signed by all guarantors of security, such as Great Britain, China, the USA, Turkey, France, Canada, Italy, Poland and Israel. Some of these countries have already given prior consent.
  • The implementation of this agreement will take place according to the following procedure: first, an all-Ukrainian referendum on the treaty will be held. Then, it will be ratified in the parliaments of the guarantor countries and in the parliament of Ukraine.
  • As for the Crimea, the Ukrainian side proposes to fix the position of Ukraine and Russia regarding the peninsula, and then to continue negotiating the status of Crimea and Sevastopol for 15 years. During this time, both sides are invited not to use armed forces to resolve the Crimean issue.
  • Presidents Putin and Zelensky will discuss the status of the Luhansk People's Republic and the Donetsk People's Republic at a personal meeting.

All matters of arguments have been been more or less coordinated.

The all-Ukrainian referendum can be held only under the condition of peacetime, member of the Ukrainian delegation David Arakhamiya said.

Russia received written proposals from Ukraine confirming its desire for a neutral and non-nuclear status, the head of the Russian delegation, Vladimir Medinsky said.

Ukraine is ready to establish its non-bloc status provided Ukraine will not join any military-political associations, Alexander Chaly, a member of the Ukrainian delegation said. 

Member of the Ukrainian delegation Chaly explained what Ukrainian neutrality would mean:

  1. Refusal to deploy foreign military bases and military contingents.
  2. Refusal to join military-political alliances.
  3. Military exercises on the territory of Ukraine could be held only with the consent of the guarantor countries.
  4. The doors to the EU are open for Ukraine, and the guarantor countries will have to support this.

If the final agreement is reached at a high level, a multilateral conference will be prepared with the participation of top level officials of the guarantor countries, at which this agreement will be signed.

Vladimir Medinsky, the head of the Russian delegation, stated the following as a result of the meeting in Istanbul: 

  1. The negotiations were constructive, Ukraine clearly formulated its position on the joint agreement.
  2. Russia will soon consider Ukraine's proposals, they will be reported to Vladimir Putin.
  3. The meeting between Vladimir Putin and Vladimir Zelensky can be possible provided that the Foreign Ministers of Russia and Ukraine initial the peace treaty. 

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