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Russia, Ukraine Discussing Ceasefire, to Issue Statement in Several Hours - Aide

Published 03/29/2022, 05:10 AM
Updated 03/29/2022, 05:16 AM
© Reuters

By Geoffrey Smith 

Investing.com -- Ukrainian and Russian diplomats are discussing a possible ceasefire in talks that resumed in Istanbul, Turkey, on Tuesday morning, newswires quoted an aide to the Ukrainian president as saying.

A statement will be issued "in several hours," newswires reported Mykhaylo Podolyak, an aide to President Volodymyr Zelensky, as saying. Podolyak had earlier tweeted that the delegations "are working in parallel on the entire spectrum of contentious issues."

Separately, newswires reported Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu as saying that the main tasks of the first part of what Russia calls a "special military operation" were now completed, stoking speculation that Moscow is also looking for a way to justify a peace settlement.

 

“On the whole, the main goals of the first step of the operation have been fulfilled,” the news agency Interfax reported Shoigu as saying. “The fighting capacity of Ukraine’s armed forces has been substantially reduced, which allows us to devote our main attention and efforts to achieving the main goal – the liberation of Donbas.”

Prior to invading Ukraine on February 24th, Russia had recognized the two breakaway statelets that it has sponsored since 2014, the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, as independent.

However, there was no immediate reference by Shoigu to the other aims proclaimed by Moscow at the start of its attack – the ‘de-Nazification’ and ‘demilitarization’ of Ukraine, a further indication that the Kremlin has dropped its more extreme demands after encountering far greater resistance than it had bargained for.

Ukraine's Zelensky for his part has also tempered his country's position since the start of the war, offering to drop the country's aspiration to join NATO, which is currently enshrined in Ukraine's constitution. One of the trickier parts of the ongoing discussions will be how to guarantee Ukraine's security in the absence of more powerful allies. Russia had already promised never to attack Ukraine in 1994 in return for Ukraine giving up the Soviet nuclear weapons based on its territory, under the terms of the Budapest Memorandum. Russia subsequently refused to ratify the agreement. 

According to the Financial Times, Zelensky is seeking security guarantees from not just Russia and the major Western powers, but also China, which has conspicuously refused to condemn Russia's invasion.

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