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06 October, 2022
 
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Russia to reduce military activity in Kyiv and Chernihiv, Ukraine to adopt neutral status

Details on the proposals at the peacetalks in Istanbul

Source: Reuters

Russia promised at peace talks on Tuesday to scale down its military operations around Kyiv and northern Ukraine, while Ukraine proposed adopting a neutral status but with international guarantees that it would be protected from attack.

The talks in a palace in Istanbul came as Russia's invasion has been halted on most fronts by strong resistance, with Ukrainians recapturing territory in counter-attacks, even as civilians are trapped in besieged cities.

Top Russian negotiator Vladimir Medinsky said he would examine the Ukrainian proposals and report on them to President Vladimir Putin.

"In order to increase mutual trust and create the necessary conditions for further negotiations and achieving the ultimate goal of agreeing and signing (an) agreement, a decision was made to radically, by a large margin, reduce military activity in the Kyiv and Chernihiv directions," Russian Deputy Defence Minister Alexander Fomin told reporters.

Russia's General Staff would reveal more detail about those decisions after the Russian delegation returned to Moscow, Fomin added.

The talks held in Istanbul on Tuesday were the first face-to-face meeting between the sides since March 10.

Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 and has failed to capture any major Ukrainian cities after meeting fierce resistance.

Ukraine's proposals at the talks were the most detailed that either side has aired publicly.

Ukrainian negotiators said that under their proposals, Ukraine would agree not to join alliances or host bases of foreign troops, but would have its security guaranteed in terms similar to "Article 5", the collective defense clause of NATO.

They identified Israel and NATO members Canada, Poland and Turkey as countries that could help provide such guarantees. Russia, the United States, Britain, Germany and Italy could also provide guarantees.

The proposals would include a 15-year consultation period on the status of Russian-annexed Crimea, and could come into force only in the event of a complete ceasefire, the negotiators said.

The fate of the southeastern Donbas region, which Russia demands Ukraine cede to separatists, would be set aside to be discussed by the Ukrainian and Russian leaders, they added. Any peace deal would require a referendum in Ukraine.

Top Russian negotiator Vladimir Medinsky said he would examine the Ukrainian proposals and report on them to President Vladimir Putin. The Ukrainian negotiators called for a meeting between Putin and President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

"If we manage to consolidate these key provisions ... then Ukraine will be in a position to actually fix its current status as a non-bloc and non-nuclear state in the form of permanent neutrality," Ukrainian negotiator Oleksander Chaly said.

"We will not host foreign military bases on our territory, as well as deploy military contingents on our territory, and we will not enter into military-political alliances," he said. Military exercises would take place with the consent of the guarantor countries. 

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Cyprus  |  Ukraine  |  Russia  |  Turkey

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