Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said today that Kyiv had presented Moscow with a draft peace agreement containing "unacceptable" elements, but that Russia would nevertheless continue the talks and try to secure its own demands.
The Kremlin has said that peace talks between Moscow and Kyiv are not progressing as fast as it would like, and has accused the West of trying to derail the talks by focusing on war crimes allegations, which Moscow denies.
Lavrov said today that Ukraine presented a draft peace agreement to Russia yesterday, Wednesday, but that it did not contain proposals that the two sides had previously agreed on.
"This inability to once again reach an agreement through negotiations underscores Kyiv's real intentions, its position to extend and even undermine the talks are far removed from the understanding that has been reached," said Lavrov, who added that the proposals of Kyiv are "unacceptable".
He said that in the text of the proposals made during the March 29 talks in Istanbul, the Ukrainian delegation had excluded the Crimean peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, from the guarantees of security and territorial integrity requested by Kyiv - in the new document presented yesterday, this point is missing.
According to Lavrov, Kyiv also demanded that the presidents of Russia and Ukraine, Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky, negotiate directly over Crimea and Ukrainian Donbas, the region of eastern Ukraine under attack.
Finally, according to the Russian minister, Kyiv withdrew from a condition that Moscow could oppose any future military exercises involving foreign forces on Ukrainian territory.
"We see with this that the Kyiv regime is controlled by Washington and its allies, who are pushing President Zelensky to continue fighting," Lavrov said.
Russia's foreign minister said that, nevertheless, Russia now wants to continue the talks and secure its own demands.
"Despite the challenges, the Russian delegation will continue with the negotiation process, pushing for our draft agreement that clearly and fully describes our initial and basic positions and requirements," he said.
In a written statement to Reuters, Ukrainian negotiator Mikhail Pontoliak dismissed the Russian foreign minister's comments, saying Lavrov was not directly involved in the talks and that his statements were "purely propagandistic".
Pontoliak said Moscow wanted to divert attention from the events in the city of Bucha, where Ukraine accused Russian troops of killing civilians, adding: "This is how we should look at any such statements," he said.
Source: ΑΠΕ - ΜΠΕ, Reuters, AFP