Russia ready to continue high-level negotiations with Ukraine

Following a new round of negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, said on Wednesday that Moscow was 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,” Lavrov said at a press conference following his talks with Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, in Moscow.

He explained that Moscow 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 with 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 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 continued on Thursday as relevant parties were working to broker a peaceful solution. For South Africa’s Deputy President, David Mabuza, diplomacy remained”the key tool” to end the Ukraine-Russia conflict and no amount of condemnation and side-taking would 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.

Qin Gang, the Chinese ambassador to the United States, said in an opinion piece published Tuesday in The Washington Post that China did not know in advance about Russia’s plan for a military operation against Ukraine, nor did Beijing support it. -Xinhua

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