Ukraine’s top negotiator in peace talks with Russia on Saturday said Moscow had agreed “verbally” to key Ukraine proposals, raising hopes that the negotiations would end. cessation of hostilities is underway.
Negotiator David Arakhamia told Ukrainian TV channels that any meeting between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin “with a high probability” would take place in Turkey.
“The Russian Federation has given an official answer to all positions, that is, it accepts the (Ukraine) position, except for Crimea (which Russia annexed in 2014),” Arakhamia said.
He said that while “there was no official confirmation in writing”, the Russian side said so “verbally”.
The comments came as Ukraine said it had regained control of the entire Kyiv region.
Arakhamia said Moscow had agreed during the negotiations that a referendum on Ukraine’s neutrality status “would be the only way out of this situation.”
Asked what would happen if Ukrainians voted against neutrality for the country, Arakhamia said that “we will probably go back to a state of war, or go back to new negotiations. “
The Kremlin insists that Ukraine applies neutrality.
Arakhamia said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan “called both us and Vladimir Putin” on Friday, saying he would chair the meeting.
“Neither the date nor the location is known, but we believe the most likely location will be Ankara or Istanbul,” he said.
Turkey, which has good relations with both Russia and Ukraine, has sought to mediate the conflict.
Since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Zelensky has repeatedly called for direct talks with the head of the Kremlin.
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