Istanbul Talks: Possibility of Putin-Zelenskyy meet discussed, talks ‘positive’

Istanbul [Turkey]:  After the first day of a delegation-level meeting between Russia-Ukraine in Istanbul, the Russian delegation announced steps for a “drastic reduction in military activity in the Kyiv and Chernihiv directions” and the possibility of meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

This comes as part of two steps that the Russian delegation announced to de-escalate the conflict in Ukraine reported CNN citing news agency RIA-Novosti.
The head of the Russian delegation, presidential aide Vladimir Medinsky, called the negotiations “constructive”.

Moreover, Russia is beginning to withdraw some forces, including Russian Battalion Tactical Groups (BTGs) leaving the surrounding areas around the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said that enough progress was made during the talks in Istanbul to allow Putin and Zelensky to meet. “We have documents prepared now which allow the presidents to meet on a bilateral basis,” he said.

“The Russian delegation is constructive and aware. This doesn’t mean that negotiations are easy. They are very difficult. But the Russian side is paying attention to the Russian proposals, to the Ukrainian proposals,” he added.

Amid the heavy bombardments and shelling ongoing in Ukraine, the latest round of peace talks between the Ukrainian and Russian delegations kicked off at the Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul on Tuesday.

In a phone call on Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed to hold the next round of negotiations in Istanbul. Erdogan reiterated that Turkey would continue to contribute in every possible way during this process. Notably, Ukrainian and Russian delegations have held three rounds of in-person negotiations so far.

On February 24, Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine after the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk appealed for help in defending themselves against Ukrainian provocations. In response to Russia’s operation, Western countries have rolled out a comprehensive sanctions campaign against Moscow. (ANI)

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