Peace negotiations advanced enough to allow direct meeting between Putin and Zelenskyy: Interfax
The venue for a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy would most likely be Turkey, negotiator tells Interfax
Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamia said peace talks with Russia are at a stage that could lead to direct contact between Zelenskyy and Putin.
The latest talks in Turkey “confirmed our thesis that drafts of the documents are prepared enough to conduct direct consultations between the two leaders,” Arakhamia said on Ukrainian television.
“Our task is to prepare a final stage not of the draft itself, but of those issues that we touched upon, and to prepare a future meeting of the presidents,” he said.
Both sides have described the negotiations in recent days as difficult. The talks are a combination of face-to-face sessions in Turkey and virtual meetings.
Arakhamia said Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan had called Putin and Zelenskyy on Friday “and seemed to confirm from his side that they are ready to arrange a meeting in the near future.”
He added: “Neither the date or place are known but we think it would most likely be in Istanbul or Ankara.”
Kremlin says peace talks should continue while lashing “hostile” Ukraine
Russia’s talks with a “hostile” Ukraine have not been easy, but the main thing is that they are continuing, RIA news agency quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying on Saturday.
“Ukraine is a very difficult country, very difficult for us. In its current state it is hostile towards us,” the agency cited him as telling Belarus television.
Russia and Ukraine have held several rounds of negotiations, both in Turkey and by video conference.
“The main thing is that the talks continue, either in Istanbul or somewhere else,” said Peskov, adding that the negotiations were “not easy.”
Russia would like to continue talks in neighboring Belarus but Kyiv opposed the idea, he said.
Peskov said Moscow had launched the invasion to “save” two eastern regions seized by Russian-backed separatists in 2014 and said he trusted that the Russian language would be restored to its rightful place in the country.
Putin has said Russia’s “special operation” in Ukraine was needed “to protect people who have been subjected to bullying and genocide.” By this meant those whose first or only language is Russian. Ukraine dismisses as invented the accusations of genocide.
— Additional reporting from Bloomberg