Not in the least compromise – Gazeta Kommersant № 56 (7257) from 01.04.2022

Resumption of talks between the delegations of Russia and Ukraine is possible on Friday. Moscow did not confirm this on Thursday, suggesting not to run ahead. Meanwhile, two days after the talks in Istanbul, both sides have been clarifying their positions to their own populations and political elites. As it turned out, not everyone in Kiev is ready to accept the compromises proposed by the Ukrainian negotiators. In Moscow, possible compromises on the part of Russia are not considered at all, speaking only of the readiness of the Ukrainian side to make concessions. But these concessions do not suit everyone.

Negotiations between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations will resume online on April 1. This was announced on Thursday by the representative of the Kiev delegation, the head of the parliamentary faction of the ruling party of Ukraine “Servant of the People” David Arahamiya. According to him, the parties will begin discussing the draft peace treaty submitted to Ukraine. However, Russian President Dmitry Peskov’s spokesman did not unequivocally confirm the date of the new round of talks. “If that happens, we will inform you,” he told reporters.

It will be recalled that a face-to-face meeting of the two delegations took place on March 29 in Istanbul. Following the talks, it was stated that Russia is reducing military activity in Kiev and Chernihiv and admits that the meeting of Russian and Ukrainian Presidents Vladimir Putin and Vladimir Zelensky may take place simultaneously with the initialling of the agreement at the level of foreign ministers. The Ukrainian side’s vision of the future agreement was recorded in writing for the first time. Ukraine is ready to renounce NATO membership and deploy foreign military bases and contingents, reaffirms its nuclear-free and non-aligned status, and commits itself to conducting military exercises only with the consent of the guarantor countries. Ukraine sees the UN Security Council as permanent guarantors, as well as Germany, Israel, Italy, Canada, Poland and Turkey. According to Kyiv, security guarantees should not be extended to the territory of Crimea, DPR and LPR. Ukraine also offered to fix that for 15 years it will not try to resolve the issue of Crimea by military means. During this time, it is proposed to negotiate the status of the peninsula. Kyiv also assumes that Russia will not prevent Ukraine’s accession to the EU.

The published results of the talks provoked a contradictory reaction among political elites and the public. Accusations of surrender by the negotiators could be heard from both sides.

“Ukraine is incapable of negotiating and not independent. Therefore, everything that is happening at the negotiating platforms should be put on a separate plan and guided by what is happening in fact, “- commented on the results of the talks, the head of the Donetsk People’s Republic Denis Pushilin. A similar statement was made by the chairman of the Crimean parliament Vladimir Konstantinov. In Ukraine, in turn, there was talk of “treason.” “The Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Ukrainian political nation will not allow anyone to cede a single meter of Ukrainian territory, especially Crimea and Donbass,” said Refat Chubarov, head of the Crimean Tatar People’s Majlis, which is banned in Russia. Former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko demanded to hold a closed session of parliament to acquaint deputies with the position of Ukraine in talks with Russia.

As a result, negotiators and senior officials on both sides had to explain. The head of the Russian delegation Vladimir Medinsky told what he sees as a positive outcome of the talks. According to him, “for the first time in all previous years, the Kiev authorities have declared their readiness to negotiate” and “fulfill the fundamental requirements that Russia has insisted on all these years” (non-aligned and non-nuclear status). That is, according to him, Moscow has achieved much of what it started a “special military operation” in Ukraine. At the same time, Mr. Medinsky stressed that Russia’s “principled position” on Crimea and Donbass remains unchanged and negotiations are continuing. At the same time, Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Russian president, said that the Kremlin could not yet state anything promising – the delegations had a long way to go. At the same time, he tried to cool the “hot heads”: “We do not have and should not have any Stalingrads in the calendar,” and we need to trust the negotiators.

“In the current situation of our state, there should be no such discussions to which society and our politicians are accustomed in peacetime,” – said, in turn, to those dissatisfied with the Ukrainian side, Vladimir Zelensky.

At the same time, he added: “We do not believe in any beautiful words. And we will not give anything away. ” In confirmation of these words, the post-envoy of Ukraine to the UN Sergei Kislitsa said at a meeting of the Security Council that the signing of an agreement with Russia will be possible only if all Russian troops are withdrawn to positions they held on February 23, 2022 – before hostilities.

At the same time, the head of the office of the President of Ukraine Alexei Arestovich in his video address on Thursday explained the need to negotiate: “Great war, military aggression and peace agreement – these are always compromises between the parties. Because both sides are losing. And if you think we are not carrying, then you are very wrong. They have virtually destroyed our military industry, in many ways. And in many respects finish civil. “

Meanwhile, Moscow and Kyiv, following the talks in Istanbul, are practically sticking to theirs. At the same time, both sides clearly have differences on the issue of Crimea. Alexei Arestovich concluded that Russia is ready to jointly solve the problem of Crimea within 15 years. And according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Kiev now understands that “the issues of Crimea and Donbass have been finally resolved.”

Probably, Zelensky’s administration is really trying to find a compromise on Crimea, postponing this issue to the future so as not to recognize the region as Russian, which it cannot do. But Moscow does not want to agree with such a situation.

Russia is categorically against any discussion about the status of Crimea and Donbass. Moreover, obviously, no one is going to give Kiev control over the areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions occupied after the start of Russia’s “special military operation.” The offensive in Donbass is intensifying in different directions, said Denis Pushilin. And maybe it’s more. “Even now the question can only be whether Kherson, Zaporizhia and Kharkiv will ever be Ukrainian. It is possible that by the next round of talks the question of whether Chernihiv, Mykolaiv and Odessa will ever be Ukrainian will become relevant, ”Vladimir Konstantinov wrote in his Telegram channel. And the permanent representative of Crimea to the President of the Russian Federation Georgy Muradov told TASS that “residents of the south of Ukraine are joining the ruble zone.”

However, the main thing that unites both sides is the readiness to continue the dialogue. At the same time, Kyiv continues to ask the West for military assistance and tougher sanctions against Russia, and Moscow is in no hurry to stop the military operation.

According to Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Vladimir Putin believes that the conditions for his meeting with Vladimir Zelensky are not ripe, just as the conditions for a complete ceasefire in Ukraine are not ripe. At the same time, the mediators continue to insist on a meeting of the presidents. “I hope we can agree on a date for the meeting between Putin and Zelensky, we are ready to organize it,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday. And Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Ankara is working on organizing a new meeting of Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers, which may take place in the next two weeks.

Marianna Belenka


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