Draft Russia-Ukraine peace deal not ready for summit talks

AA / Istanbul / Handan Kazancı

A possible draft agreement to end the war between Russia and Ukraine is not ready for discussion at the highest level, Russian media reported on Sunday, citing Moscow’s chief negotiator.

“The Ukrainian side has become more realistic in its approach to issues related to Ukraine’s neutral and nuclear-free status, but the draft agreement is not ready for summit discussion,” the presidential adviser said. Vladimir Medinsky, who is also leading the Russian delegation in the peace talks with Ukraine, according to the TASS news agency.

Medinsky’s statements came after Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamia told a Ukrainian TV channel that the Russian side “confirmed our thesis that the draft documents have been sufficiently developed to allow direct consultations between the presidents of both countries.”

Russia’s chief negotiator said Moscow’s position on the status of Crimea and Donbas “remains unchanged”, the agency reported.

Discussions between delegations will continue on Monday, he added, adding that “work on the text of the agreement and between heads of delegations continued remotely on Friday and Saturday”, according to TASS.

On March 29, as the war entered its second month and casualties on both sides continued to mount, Russian and Ukrainian delegations met in Istanbul for peace talks.

During those talks, Ukrainian officials indicated they were ready to negotiate a “neutral status”, a key Russian demand, but asked for security guarantees for their country.

Russia, meanwhile, has pledged to drastically reduce its military activities targeting the Ukrainian cities of Kyiv and Chernihiv, in order to build confidence for future negotiations.

Ukraine wants countries, including Turkey, to act as guarantors in an agreement with Russia, a Ukrainian negotiator said after the talks.

The Russian war against Ukraine, which began on February 24, has sparked international outrage. The European Union, the United States and the United Kingdom, in particular, have imposed heavy financial sanctions on Moscow.

According to UN estimates, at least 1,417 civilians have been killed in Ukraine and 2,038 others have been injured, but the true toll could be much higher.

More than 4.1 million Ukrainians have also fled to other countries, and millions more have faced internal displacement, according to the UN refugee agency.

*Translated from English by Mourad Belhaj

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