Russia and Ukraine are close to agreeing on four of the six points of the negotiation process. to reporters on this reported Erdogan after returning from Brussels, where he attended the extraordinary NATO summit.
“I think there is a consensus on four points in the negotiations,” he said. As the Chairman has made clear, this concerns the following:
▪️ Russia’s demand for Ukraine not to join NATO.
“The first point concerns Ukraine’s accession to NATO. Initially, Ukraine insisted on joining the Alliance, but later [президент Украины Владимир] Zelensky began to explain the possibility of rejection,” said Zelensky.
▪️ Preservation of the Russian language in Ukraine.
“Zelensky also agreed with it. Russian is already spoken almost throughout Ukraine. “There is no problem with this,” Erdogan said.
▪️ Disarmament of Ukraine.
“Of course Ukraine is a state, so there is no question of accepting disarmament from A to Z. But there are no unclear aspects in this regard either. In other words, the Ukrainian side expressed that it can make some concessions on this issue as well.”
▪️ Collective security guarantees.
“The fourth item of the negotiations is about collective security. Ukraine has also displayed a positive approach in this regard.”
Negotiations were halted at two more points regarding Crimea and Donbass. According to Erdogan, there is no consensus here. The Turkish President recalled that Zelensky had proposed holding a referendum with Russia “on certain forms of compromise”. Moscow wants Ukraine to independently recognize Crimea as Russian, DPR and LPR.
Erdogan noted that Ankara has made great efforts to stop the war in Ukraine from the very beginning. According to him, he plans to maintain contacts with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Zelensky. Erdogan stated that he sees Turkey’s aim as “to bring the two leaders together”.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba denied Erdogan’s statement to the Ukrainian media. “There is no consensus with Russia on the four points stated by the President of Turkey. In particular, the only state language in Ukraine is Ukrainian and will remain so.”
Kuleba also believes that it is wrong to divide the negotiations into points, as delegation subgroups discuss many different issues at the same time.
The head of the Russian delegation at the talks, vice-presidential Vladimir Medinsky, also said on March 25 that the Russian and Ukrainian delegations’ stances on minor issues converged, but “marked the time” on the main parties.
Medinsky explained that Russia is insisting on a comprehensive agreement that provides “a set of positions vital to our country” in addition to Ukraine’s neutral status and security guarantees. [России] – Demilitarization, de-Nazis, definition and recognition of the Crimea and Donbass, as well as a number of other positions of agreement.” Without taking these positions into account, Medinsky considers it unlikely that a deal will be concluded.
Earlier, Medinsky said that Ukraine offered him an “Austrian” or “Swedish” version of a neutral demilitarized state. In this case, he will keep his own army.
“This is an option that is really being discussed right now and can be seen as a compromise,” the Kremlin said.
In addition, Medinsky reported that the representatives of Kyiv and Moscow are getting as close as possible on the neutral status of Ukraine and its non-participation in NATO. According to him, the nuances of security guarantees for Ukraine “in addition to those available in case of its refusal to join the NATO bloc” remain. As for Ukraine’s disarmament, Medinsky said Moscow and Kiev were “somewhere in the middle”.
The truth is I am not authorized and will not disclose any details of the negotiations, neither the specific figures nor the arguments of the negotiating parties, but we are halfway through on this part,” he said.