Wednesday, May 18

Russia says Ukraine has agreed to its demands by putting in writing to quit NATO


Vladimir Medinski, the main Russian negotiator, has granted an interview to the Rossiya 24 channel in which he has analyzed the state of the talks with Ukraine. Putin’s adviser has appreciated the fact that Ukraine has committed in writing to withdraw from NATO, but has clarified that Russia’s position on Donbas and Crimea has not changed.

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“Ukraine has declared its readiness to comply with the fundamental requirements that Russia has insisted on in recent years,” Medinski said in the interview, according to the Russian agency RIA Novosti.

The Russian negotiator stressed that Ukraine has put in writing the commitment not to join NATO in the future, not to have nuclear weapons or to host military bases, thus fulfilling the demand to remain in a neutral status.

“If these obligations are fulfilled, the threat of creating a NATO foothold on Ukrainian territory will be eliminated. This is the essence, the meaning and the importance of the document agreed upon by Ukraine. The work continues,” he added.

In the negotiations in Istanbul, both delegations also reached an agreement to allow Ukraine to join the EU. As Medinski confirmed after the meeting, Russia would not oppose Ukraine’s accession to the European Union.

This Wednesday morning, the Kremlin spokesman Peskov had cooled the enthusiasm about a possible agreement. “Moscow cannot claim that there are promising advances in the negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, there is a very long way to go,” he had said before the interview with Medinski in statements collected by the Russian agency TASS.

No concessions on Crimea and Donbas

Putin’s adviser wanted to make it clear in the interview that his position on Crimea and Donbas has not changed.

“I would like to emphasize that the position of our side regarding Crimea-Donbas remains unchanged,” he said.

The Ukrainian delegation was in favor at the meeting in Istanbul to remove this thorny issue from the current negotiations to achieve a ceasefire.

Ukraine proposes that the situation in Crimea be negotiated with Russia “within 15 years”, outside of a possible ceasefire treaty. They also propose the commitment that Ukraine “will not use force to liberate those territories”, which will be outside the agreement on security guarantees in which other countries would be involved.

Russia makes it clear that this is a proposal only from Ukraine. For their part, they continue to demand recognition of the annexation of Crimea that Russia carried out in 2014 and that the independence of the “people’s republics” of Donetsk and Lugansk, located in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas and recognized by Russia, be accepted. Ukraine has refused to accept any agreement in which its borders and territorial integrity are questioned.

Ukraine insists on the importance of guarantors

Mikhailo Podoliak, Zelenski’s advisor and member of the Ukrainian negotiating delegation, declared today that he considers that the package of documents with the Ukrainian proposal is already finished and that now it is the Russians who must evaluate them. Podoliak, has insisted in a meeting with the media that an agreement in which several countries sign as guarantors of its security is key for Ukraine, according to the Ukrainian agency Ukrinform.

kyiv wants a firm, written commitment from various powers to intervene in its defense and supply weapons in the event of a new attack within its borders.

At the moment, there is no “official” list of countries. What we know for sure are the 11 countries that the Ukrainian delegation has put on the negotiating table:

  • The five of the United Nations Security Council: the United Kingdom, China, Russia, the United States and France
  • Turkey
  • Germany
  • Canada
  • Poland
  • Israel
  • Italy

Germany has today shown itself in favor of playing this role. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that Germany is ready to act as Ukraine’s security guarantor, Reuters reported citing a German government spokesman in Berlin.

Podoliak has also been optimistic about a possible meeting between Zelensky and Putin.

“Surely we can come to an understanding about a meeting of the presidents in the near future. When? It’s impossible to say because there are logistical issues,” Podoliak said.

Tuesday’s meeting in Istanbul concluded with some points that both countries valued as positive, such as Ukraine’s resignation from joining NATO and the promise – so far unsuccessful – that Russia would reduce its offensive around kyiv and the north.

Medinski assured that the next step was to take these proposals to be evaluated by Vladimir Putin before giving an answer.



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