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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

‘Istanbul deal’ could be used for future talks with Kiev – Putin

The unsigned draft focused on Ukraine’s neutrality and offered the country security guarantees

Moscow and Kiev could use a tentative agreement reached in talks in Istanbul early in the Ukraine conflict as a basis for further engagement, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.

The Russian leader was referring to a draft document that was on the verge of being formally concluded in the Turkish capital in the spring of 2022. He said last year that under its terms, Ukraine would have committed to “permanent neutrality,” receive certain security guarantees and downsize its military.

However, Moscow says that the talks were derailed by then UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who allegedly advised Kiev to “keep fighting.” Johnson has denied the accusation.

Speaking at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, on Thursday, Putin reiterated that Russia – unlike Ukraine, which he said refused to engage with Moscow on direct orders from the West – has never closed the door to peace talks.

”The Istanbul agreements… have not gone away, they were initialed by the head of the Ukrainian negotiating delegation, which obviously means that Ukraine was quite satisfied with them,” he said, thanking Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for helping to broker the deal.

“These agreements remain on the table and could serve as the basis for continuing those talks.”

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Andrey Yermak.
No compromise with Russia – Zelensky aide

Kiev has refused to hold direct talks with the current leadership in Moscow since the autumn of 2022, after four of its former regions voted overwhelmingly to join Russia. In June, however, Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky said that the two countries could negotiate via intermediaries.

Last month, Putin said that Russia was ready to immediately open peace talks with Ukraine if it withdraws troops from Donbass and two of its other former regions, and commits to neutral status. He added that any final deal should be recognized in Western capitals and pave the way to lifting sanctions against Russia. Both Kiev and its Western backers have dismissed the offer.

Meanwhile, Zelensky has been promoting his ‘peace formula’ demanding that Russia withdraw its troops from the territories Kiev claims as its own and the establishment of a tribunal to prosecute Moscow for alleged war crimes. Russia has rejected the plan as divorced from reality.

July 04, 2024 at 05:45PM

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