Russia promises to reduce its offensive in kyiv after “meaningful” negotiations with Ukraine | kyiv is ready to formally give up seeking NATO membership

Russia pledged on Tuesday to reduce military activity around kyiv after the “significant” talks with Ukraine in Istanbul, although the United States and other Western powers questioned Moscow’s “seriousness” in those negotiations. According to the Ukrainian delegation, kyiv is ready to formally give up seeking NATO membershipif in exchange it receives firm guarantees from a group of ten countries, including the five members of the United Nations Security Council, of protection against all military aggression.

The fighting on Ukrainian soil has already forced more than ten million people to flee their homes and, according to President Volodimir Zelensky, left at least 20,000 dead.. At least nine people were killed and 28 wounded on Tuesday in a Russian attack that partially destroyed the regional government headquarters in Mikolaiv.a city near Odessa, according to a balance of the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict, minute by minute

hope of de-escalation

The head of the Russian delegation, Vladimir Medinskiassured that negotiations were “meaningful” even though clarified that the Russian decision does not mean a ceasefire. “It is not a ceasefire, but rather our intention to gradually achieve a de-escalation of the conflict, at least in these areas,” he explained in statements to the Russian news network RT.

About the terms of the negotiation, Medinski pointed out that kyiv gives up trying to recover Crimea and the separatist region of Donbass by military means., version that until now was not confirmed by Ukrainian sources. For his part, the Ukrainian negotiator David Arajami presented a detailed set of proposals with a view to signing a peace agreement under which your country will renounce joining NATO and will remain neutral as Moscow demands.

Arajamia reiterated that Ukraine wants several countries, including Russia itself, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, Turkey and Poland, to be guarantors of the final peace agreement, which will force them to provide military aid to Ukraine in the event of a foreign attack, after a maximum of three days of consultations.

The long-awaited negotiations between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations began early Tuesday in Istanbul, with a request from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to “end the tragedy”. Although a two-day round of negotiations had been announced, the progress made this Tuesday made it possible to conclude the talks on the first day, so there will be no meeting on wednesday.

Turkey, which shares the Black Sea coast with the two belligerent countries, has been making efforts since the beginning of the crisis to maintain fluid ties with the two parties and has made efforts to mediate in the conflict.

western skepticism

The announcements of the negotiation, especially those of the Russian side, were received with skepticism and suspicion by the Western powers, which after the invasion imposed an arsenal of economic sanctions on Moscow. In a telephone conversation, the presidents and heads of government of the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Germany and Italy urged their allies not to lower their guard.

Boris Johnson, Joe Biden, Emmanuel Macron, Olaf Scholz and Mario Draghi “affirmed their determination to continue to raise the costs to Russia for their brutal attacks in well as continuing to provide Ukraine with security assistance to defend itself,” said a joint statement from those countries. “We will see if the Russians comply,” Biden told reporters.

The Pentagon indicated that some Russian contingents “appear to be moving away from kyiv”, without that being able to be called “a retreat or a withdrawal”.. “I haven’t seen anything that suggests that progress is being made effectively, because we haven’t seen any signs of real seriousness” from Russia, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a news conference in Morocco.

Military de-escalation in kyiv

Apart from the announcement of a road map towards a possible agreement, the most concrete result on the battlefield was the Russian delegation’s announcement that its troops will reduce their military pressure on kyiv and other cities in Ukraine. Just after the talks, held in an annex to the historic Dolmabahçé palace on the Bosphorus, Moscow announced that it would drastically ease its harassment of the Ukrainian capital and the besieged northern city of Chernigov.

However, the road may still be long, because the ten countries mentioned by the Ukrainian Arajamia have yet to formally accept the role of guarantors and kyiv must submit the signed agreements to a popular referendum, so that they can become part of the Constitution. Ukraine’s chief negotiator insisted that such a consultation could only take place after the complete withdrawal of Russian troops, since an agreement signed under pressure is invalid under international law.

Nine killed in Mikolaiv attack

In Ukraine, fighting continues in many regions. The government announced that nine people were killed by a Russian shelling of a regional government building in Mikolaiv, a southern port city. “According to the investigation, the Russian armed forces launched a missile attack” against this building and “currently there are nine dead and 28 wounded,” announced the press service of Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova.

No military objective was attacked, “the inhabitants of Mikolaiv did not represent any threat to Russia. And yet, like all Ukrainians, they became a target of Russian troops,” President Volodimir Zelenski repudiated during a speech before the Danish Parliament . The Ukrainian Air Force, meanwhile, said that in the last 24 hours it shot down 17 “enemy” air targets, including eight planes and three helicopters.

Putin and the humanitarian operation in Mariupol

Ukrainian forces strike back in the north and struggle to maintain control of the port city of Mariupol in the south. Russian forces surrounded that city and shelled it constantly and indiscriminately, stranding some 160,000 people with scant food, water and medicine.

At least 5,000 people have so far died in Mariupol, according to a senior Ukrainian official who estimated the real number of victims could be closer to 10,000. President Volodimir Zelensky said the Russian siege constituted a “crime against humanity, which is happening live before the eyes of the world.”

Your Russian peer, Vladimir Putin, subordinated the “solution” of the humanitarian situation in Mariupol to the disarmament of Ukrainian “nationalist” groups, during a telephone conversation with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, reported the Kremlin. France, which last week announced its intention to organize a humanitarian operation with Turkey and Greece to evacuate civilians, estimated on Tuesday that the conditions to carry it out “are not met at the moment.”

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