Outcome of Istanbul talks: Ukrainian proposals, Russian de-escalation steps
he Russian-Ukrainian talks that took place in Istanbul on Tuesday were constructive, the head of the Russian delegation, Presidential Aide Vladimir Medinsky, told reporters.
He said Moscow made two de-escalatory steps. One was offering to hold a meeting between presidents Vladimir Putin and Vladimir Zelensky simultaneously with the initialing of a peace treaty by their Foreign Ministries, or earlier than planned before. In the other step, Russian troops would drastically reduce their activities toward Kiev and Chernigov.
The talks were supposed to last two days – March 29 and 30 – but sources in the Russian delegation and the Turkish Foreign Ministry said the round was over and the meeting on Wednesday was off.
TASS has put together the highlights that’s been reported about the outcome of the latest round of talks.
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US intel assess ‘major’ strategy shift by Russia as it moves some forces away from Kyiv
(CNN) Russia is beginning to withdraw some forces from the area around the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv in what the US assesses as a “major” strategy shift by Moscow, two senior US officials tell CNN.
The Russian forces now pulling back in some areas of the north will focus on gains in the south and east. The US is already observing these movements underway, including Russian Battalion Tactical Groups leaving the surrounding areas around Kyiv.
The Russian Ministry of Defense said Tuesday that it has decided to “drastically reduce hostilities” in the Kyiv and Chernigov directions, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin said according to state media RIA.
The US assesses Russia will cover their retreat with air and artillery bombardment of the capital, one of the officials said. US officials caution that Russia could always reverse again if the battle conditions allow.
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Biden Casts Doubt On Russia-Ukraine Optimism
President Joe Biden and several U.S. officials threw cold water Tuesday on hopes that Russia and Ukraine made significant progress towards a peace agreement during Tuesday negotiations in Istanbul.
Biden told reporters Tuesday afternoon he won’t “read anything into” Russia’s suggestions of de-escalation in Ukraine until he sees evidence Russia will “follow through on what they are suggesting.”
The U.S. has seen no indication negotiations between Russia and Ukraine are “moving forward in an effective way” and there are no “signs of real seriousness” from Russia that it’s pursuing peace in Ukraine, Secretary of State Blinken said during a press conference in Morocco.
Continue reading at www.forbes.com
Putin-Zelensky Meeting Only Possible After Treaty Ready
Vladimir Medisky explained that a treaty must be prepared, approved by the negotiators, and then endorsed by the foreign ministers.
On March 29, representatives from Russia and Ukraine met at Istanbul’s Dolmabahce Palace to try to reach a peace agreement. Initially this meeting was scheduled to last two days and the delegations were expected to discuss a ceasefire. Below are the events as they happen.
The Russian delegation to the talks with Ukraine has returned to Moscow. The special flight landed at about 22:10 in the Vnukovo airport.
On Tuesday, another round of in-person negotiations between Moscow and Kiev took place in Istanbul. After the meeting, head of the Russian delegation Vladimir Medinsky announced that Russia received written proposals on a treaty from Ukraine. He added that, after these proposals are reviewed, Moscow will put forth its own proposals. The official noted that Moscow is making “two steps towards” Kiev and offers to hold a meeting between the presidents of Russia and Ukraine earlier than planned before – simultaneously with initialing of the peace treaty at the level of foreign ministers. Russian armed forces will reduce their military activity on Kiev and Chernigov directions.
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Abramovich spotted in Istanbul peace talks
Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich has appeared at peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine in Turkey.
He was seen talking to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is mediating in the talks in Istanbul.
Reports surfaced hours earlier that Mr Abramovich and two Ukrainian negotiators had shown poisoning symptoms after talks in early March.
Mr Abramovich is known to have spent weeks in a mediation role, flying between Moscow and Kyiv.
The Chelsea football club owner was said to have suffered sore eyes and peeling skin, but had now recovered, reports say.
Continue reading at www.bbc.com