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Kiev Has Essentially Agreed to Russia's Key Demands of Not Joining NATO, Deploying Bases: Negotiator

© AFP 2023 / YURIY DYACHYSHYN Ukrainian folk dancers perform for Ukrainian and US servicemen in a ceremony for joint-drill exercises between the two countries in Yavoriv polygon, Lviv district, western Ukraine on July 20, 2015
Ukrainian folk dancers perform for Ukrainian and US servicemen in a ceremony for joint-drill exercises between the two countries in Yavoriv polygon, Lviv district, western Ukraine on July 20, 2015 - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.03.2022
Russian and Ukrainian delegations met in Istanbul, Turkey on Tuesday to discuss a path out of the long-running security crisis which escalated into a large-scale Russian military operation in Ukraine last month.
Ukrainian negotiators have essentially agreed to Russia's key security demands regarding NATO membership and the presence of foreign military bases on its territory, Russian chief negotiator Vladimir Medinsky has said.

"Yesterday, for the first time ... the authorities in Kiev declared their readiness to negotiate with Russia. They handed us on paper the principles of a possible future agreement, which provides for: a rejection of entry into NATO, fixing Ukraine's bloc-free status, a renunciation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction," Medinsky said, speaking to Russia's Rossiya-24 broadcaster on Wednesday.

The negotiator noted that Ukraine has also agreed in principle to reject the deployment of foreign bases or troops on its territory, and to an obligation to conduct military exercises only with the consent of guarantor states, including Russia.
"In other words, Ukraine has declared its readiness to fulfill those principle demands which Russia has insisted on over the past years," Medinsky said. "If these obligations are met, the threat of the creation of a NATO foothold on Ukrainian territory will be eliminated."
Medinsky recalled that until recently, Ukraine and NATO had ignored Russian proposals to hold talks aimed at guaranteeing Ukrainian security while protecting Russia's national interests. "Ukraine's entry into NATO and the creation of NATO military bases on its territory seemed to be a settled matter, and only a question of time." The country was working on the creation of biological weapons with US patrons, and "the issue of Ukraine's acquisition of nuclear weapons was also thrown into the public sphere. For all these years, the Kiev regime has been carrying out an outright genocide against the inhabitants of the Donbass region. There is no end to evidence on this matter," he said.
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At the same time, the presidential aide said that evidence has been presented by Moscow that Kiev had been preparing to launch an offensive in the Donbass in the near future, forcing Russia to act when it did or risk a new massacre.
Medinsky stressed that Moscow's position on the status of the Donbass (as independent republics) and Crimea (as part of Russia) remains unchanged. His comments followed remarks by Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov earlier on Wednesday that Crimea's status was not up for negotiation.
Medinsky and the Russian delegation met with their Ukrainian counterparts in Istanbul, Turkey on Tuesday for another round of negotiations aimed at ending the month-old Russian military operation in Ukraine.
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Speaking to reporters after the talks, Medinsky said that along with the security guarantees, the two sides discussed Ukraine's possible membership in the European Union (to which he said Moscow does not object in principle), and the idea of having guarantor-states that would ensure Kiev's security, among other issues.
Russian deputy defence minister, Alexander Fomin, who was present with Medinsky at the talks, said Russia would dramatically reduce its military operations in the Kiev and Chernigov regions in a bid to "increase mutual trust" and create preconditions for further negotiations.
Russia began a large-scale military operation in Ukraine on 24 February after weeks of escalating mortar and artillery fire and sabotage and sniper attacks against the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics, whose sovereignty Moscow recognised on 21 February. The security crisis followed nearly eight years of civil war in eastern Ukraine between Kiev forces and the Donbass breakaways, which proclaimed themselves separate states in the aftermath of a western-backed coup d'etat in Kiev in February 2014.
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