Russia- Ukraine talks to resume on April 1 as signs of optimism emerge
- Diplomatic progress was made in the previous round of negotiations
- Ukrainian officials also hinted at a Putin- Zelensky meet
- The diplomats met in-person in Istanbul
Diplomatic negotiations between Ukraine and Russia will be restarting on April 1, 2022, according to David Arakhamia, the head of the Ukrainian delegation said on Wednesday. Previous negotiations showed the first signs of optimism in nearly a month.
The top Ukrainian diplomat at the meetings also indicated that a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky may be coming up soon.
With no official announcements or scheduling done, Arakhamia said the Ukrainian delegation called for the Presidential meeting, according to his social media post. He also urged that the meeting, if scheduled, should not be conducted in any Russian or Belarussian territories.
The delegations met in-person on Tuesday in Istanbul, after two weeks of meeting by video, and the faint outlines of a possible peace agreement seemed to emerge.
The previous round of diplomatic talks between the countries in Turkey, which lasted for nearly three hours, showed signs of compromise from both sides. Ukrainian officials signaled that Kyiv would be territorial claims and recuse itself from any possible NATO membership, a key demand from the Russians.
However, Ukraine demanded "security guarantees" from Moscow before putting the terms forward. In response, Kremlin said that it would "drastically" scale down attacks on the Ukrainian capital Kyiv in order to "increase mutual trust".
Even though Russian troops did show movement away from Kyiv after the announcement, multiple countries -- including the United States and Ukraine -- have acknowledged the news with a pinch of salt. Pentagon officials said they do not view this as a withdrawal, but as an attempt by Russia to resupply, refit and then reposition the troops.
Kirby also said that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have continued to try to speak with their Russian counterparts but they have “not answered and they have not replied with a willingness to do so", according to reports from Associated Press.