Before a breakthrough in the negotiations between Ukraine and Russia?

Turkish President Erdogan addresses Russian and Ukrainian delegations ahead of talks in Istanbul

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu said after the negotiations between Ukraine and Russia in Istanbul that there had been “significant progress on all points”. “The parties are in the process of reaching consensus and a common understanding on certain points.” This is written by the Turkish online newspaper Hurriyet Daily News.

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan played the role of host of the negotiations and declared in a speech to the delegations:

“Securing a ceasefire and peace as soon as possible will benefit all parties. We believe that we have entered a period where concrete results must be obtained during the talks. Given the current progress, you, as members of the delegations, have assumed a historic responsibility.”

“The whole world expects useful and good news from you. You are laying the foundations for peace as directed by your leaders. We are ready for any type of contribution that will facilitate their work.

The Ukrainian version of the negotiations

Based in Kyiv Ukrainian Independent News Agency Where UNIEN has the following version of the state of negotiations, quoted here:

  1. Ukraine needs stronger guarantees than Article 5 of NATO
  2. The guarantees must take the form of a treaty signed by all the guarantors
  3. In the event of aggression against Ukraine, consultations must take place within 3 days, after which the guarantor states provide assistance in the form of armed forces, weapons, closure of airspace.
  4. Among the guarantors Ukraine provides: Great Britain, China, Russia, USA, France, Turkey, Germany, Canada, Italy, Poland.
  5. Temporary guarantees will not apply to Crimea and occupied Donbass
  6. The guarantor will not oppose and in fact help Ukraine’s entry into the EU
This map from the French Ministry of Defense appears to be the most realistic available as of March 30, 2022. In this case, it means that Ukrainian forces will soon be completely out of what used to be Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts to the east and there is a continuous belt under Russian control along the Black Sea and the Sea from Azov to Donbass. The main force of the Ukrainian army is confined to pockets on the eastern front.

Read: Moon of Alabama: Ukraine SitRep – The second part of the Russian military operation is taking place

The Russian version

Main dealer in Russia Vladimir Medinsky told the media after the negotiations that the Ukrainian side had submitted a written proposal which he described as “substantial”. This is written by the Russian channel rt.com.

The current situation, according to the Russian delegation, is as follows:

  1. The reduced Russian offensive

An immediate practical effect of the talks will be a de-escalation of military activities in parts of Ukraine, the Russian Defense Ministry said. In particular, he promised to “significantly” reduce his operations near the cities of Chernigov and the capital, Kyiv.

2. NATO-type security guarantees

David Arakhamia, Medinsky’s counterpart in the Ukrainian delegation, said Kyiv had asked for a security guarantee similar to that contained in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. He named Russia, Britain, China, the United States, Turkey, France, Canada, Italy, Poland and Israel as possible partners. Some of them have given preliminary approval, he said.

3. No military blocs and non-nuclear weapons in Ukraine

In the proposal, Ukraine promised not to join any military alliances, not to host foreign military bases or foreign troops, Medinsky said. Even military exercises will require prior approval from guarantors, according to the proposal. Kyiv has also pledged not to seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, the official added. But in return, Ukraine wants Russia not to oppose their one day joining the EU.

4. Crimea, unresolved Donbass

According to Medinsky, Kyiv has proposed a 15-year moratorium on the status of Crimea, during which the future of the peninsula would be negotiated and both sides would promise not to use military force to resolve it. This is not compatible with Russia’s position that Crimea is part of its territory and Kyiv must recognize it as such. Ukraine has also sought to include “parts” of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in defining its territory for security guarantees, the Russian envoy said. Moscow officially recognized the people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk as sovereign states – in all their regional borders (i.e. the former oblast borders shown on the map above, our editor’s note) – some days before sending troops to Ukraine last month.

5. Discussion of limitations

Medinsky said Kyiv has not indicated whether it will give up its territorial claim to Donetsk and Luhansk. Prior to February, Ukraine controlled much of Donetsk and Lugansk and considered the areas its own territory. Arakhamia has made it clear that Kyiv will assert sovereignty over all territory held by Ukraine when it declared independence in 1991, saying there can be no compromise on this.

6. New conditions for the Zelensky-Putin meeting

Moscow has agreed to organize a meeting between Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy as part of the final phase of negotiations on the future peace agreement. The Kremlin previously said such a meeting could only be planned once the document is finalized and signed by the respective foreign ministers.

Chinese commentary

Yang Jin, who is a member of the Institute of Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Chinese official newspaper world times that the words of the Ukrainian and Russian negotiators, as well as the latest comments from officials and diplomats on both sides, have shown that both parties have a firm will and that a political solution is urgently needed.

Russia has now concentrated its troops in the Donbass region and Yang predicted that in the next phase Russia will seek to resolve the conflict primarily through political means with a military method as a complement.

Ukraine, which after suffering huge losses, also understands that the promises made by NATO and the United States were unreliable and that their aid was far from sufficient to enable Ukraine to recover. face Russia, Yang said.

China plays a very important role behind the scenes. The country, which is “more than an ally” with Russia, also considers itself a “strategic partner” with Ukraine and has maintained relations with both sides throughout this war. The West’s contribution has been to militarize Ukraine and otherwise plunder the country for economic resources. If there is to be reconstruction with foreign aid, it is likely to have to come from China.

Probable peace agreement

Based on what Turkey’s delegations are reporting, it is likely that they will reach a peace agreement. Russia will not give up the status of Crimea and Donbass, but has no problem with Ukraine becoming a member of the EU, should the EU have the country as a member. Neutrality seems within reach, as do safeguards against weapons of mass destruction and a ban on foreign bases.

The difficult points will be where to draw the exact lines and how to achieve “denazification”, because even if the Nazi Azov brigade and its ilk are crushed, the Ukrainian state apparatus is so steeped in Nazi-type ideology Bandera that it has to be done well for it to be purified.

For the war party in the United States and Russia’s enemies in Western Europe, it must be a great disappointment if Russia and Ukraine were to agree on a peace deal that both sides can accept.

But as in all negotiations, nothing is settled until everything is settled.

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Chelsea Glisson

"Devoted reader. Thinker. Proud food specialist. Evil internet scholar. Bacon practitioner."

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