Russia ready to continue high-level negotiations with Ukraine

Moscow/Kyiv: Following a new round of negotiations between Moscow and Kiev amid the ongoing war between the two sides, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that his country is prepared to continue high-level trilateral negotiations with Ukraine mediated by Turkey.

“If such initiatives appear, we would only be happy to continue communicating in this format,” Xinhua news agency quoted Lavrov as saying at a press conference following his talks with Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Moscow.

He explained that Russia would only be interested in talks with Ukraine if these would lead to concrete results and solve existing problems.

According to Cavusoglu, Turkey is ready to host a potential meeting between the presidents of Russia and Ukraine.

Lavrov met his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba in Turkey’s southern province of Antalya last week on the sidelines of an international forum.

This was the first high-level meeting between Moscow and Kiev since Russia launched a “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24.

Earlier on Wednesday, Russian presidential aide Vladimir Medinsky said Russia and Ukraine have achieved some progress on a number of issues during the new round of talks.

“Some progress has been achieved on a number of positions, but not all. The positions of the parties are quite clear, we are moving slowly,” local media reported, citing Medinsky, who is also the head of Moscow’s delegation.

“The preservation and development of Ukraine’s neutral status, Ukraine’s demilitarisation along with a whole range of issues related to the size of the Ukrainian army are being discussed,” Medinsky said, adding that the Ukrainian side had proposed a Swedish or Austrian example of a neutral demilitarised state.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict continues on Thursday as relevant parties are working to broker a peaceful solution.

For South Africa’s Deputy President David Mabuza, diplomacy remains “the key tool” to end the Ukraine-Russia conflict and no amount of condemnation and side taking will resolve this problem.

South Africa continues to call for the parties to work together towards building trust and confidence by “intensifying existing peace mechanisms and dialogue” in order to achieve long-lasting solutions to the conflict, he said.

In another development, NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday in Brussels that the organization is working on resetting its deterrence and defense in the context of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

“We face a new reality for our security. So we must reset our collective defence and deterrence for the longer term,” said Stoltenberg following the extraordinary meeting of NATO ministers of defence, of which Defence Ministers from Ukraine, Georgia, Finland and Sweden also participated.

The NATO’s military commanders have been tasked with developing options on land, in air, at sea, in the cyber space, and in space, according to Stoltenberg.

The process for the reset started with a political decision, which is now followed by a consultation of the military commanders, who should issue their advice within weeks, he said, adding that leaders of NATO member states will make a decision by June.



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