Russian minister signals agreement with Ukraine on some key issues may be close: 10 updates

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov today said a “business-like spirit” is emerging at talks with Ukraine that are now focused on a neutral status for the war-torn country. Russia said a Ukrainian proposal to become a neutral country but retain its own armed forces could be viewed as a compromise. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the idea of Swedish or Austrian-style neutrality is under discussion in the talks now underway between Russia and Ukraine to try to end the war that’s now in its 21st day.

Here are 10 updates: 

The latest round of Russia-Ukraine talks, which started on Monday, and are set to continue today.

“A neutral status is being seriously discussed in connection with security guarantees,” Lavrov said on Russian channel RBK TV. “There are concrete formulations that in my view are close to being agreed.”

Only a “Ukrainian” model with enforceable security guarantees is acceptable to Kyiv, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhaylo Podolyak said by text message. “This means that the signatories do not stand aside in case of attack against Ukraine as they do now.”

The Russian foreign minister however didn’t elaborate, but said “the business-like spirit” starting to surface in the talks “gives hope that we can agree on this issue.” 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Tuesday that the country realizes that it can’t join NATO.

Ukraine’s bid to join the Western military alliance has been a sore point for Moscow. 

Ukraine however has said that ‘security guarantees’ must be focus of talks with Russia.

Oil prices fell today after the Kremlin hinted at progress in peace negotiations. Futures in London fell as much as 1.7% to near $98 a barrel, after earlier rallying close to $104.  Eurozone equity markets rallied by more than three percent on Wednesday, extending early gains on Ukraine peace hopes, traders said.


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