Ukraine's 'disruptive' new proposal flouts terms reached at Istanbul meeting: Russia
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says latest moves show Ukraine is purposefully delaying peace process
Russia’s foreign minister on Thursday accused Ukraine of presenting a “disruptive” new peace proposal, flouting terms reached at a meeting in Istanbul last week.
The new proposal was presented yesterday to the negotiating group, Sergey Lavrov said in a video statement posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry website.
"Yesterday the Ukrainian side presented to the negotiating group its draft deal, which is an obvious disruption of the most important principles fixed at the March 29 meeting in Istanbul, fixed in a document, signed by (David) Arakhamia, the head of the Ukrainian delegation," Lavrov said.
He added that in the Istanbul document, the Ukrainian side clearly accepted that proposed future security guarantees would not cover Crimea or Sevastopol. Those two territories were taken under Russian control back in 2014, in a move never recognized by the international community.
"In the document yesterday, this clear statement (from March 29) is absent, and instead ambiguous wording is suggested about certain ‘effective control’ from the state as of Feb. 23," the day before Russia launched the war, he said.
Moreover, Ukraine also suggested discussing the issues of Crimea and Donbas at a presidential meeting, he continued.
On the eve of the war, Russia recognized two breakaway enclaves in the eastern Ukrainian Donbas region as “independent.” Since 2014, the region has been wracked by conflict with pro-Russian separatists.
"We all remember how Ukrainian President (Volodymyr) Zelenskyy claimed many times that such a thing (discussion) is only possible after the end of hostilities,” said Lavrov.
"It is highly likely that in the next stage, the Ukrainian side will demand a withdrawal of troops and will continue piling up more new conditions. This plan is clear and it is unacceptable," he stressed.
‘Ukraine’s real plan is to delay and disrupt talks’
Lavrov said that after the meeting in Istanbul, in response to "budding realism" in Ukraine's position, Russia carried out de-escalation in the regions of the capital Kyiv and Chernihiv as a sign of the good will to help encourage the reaching of agreements.
Western governments have disputed Russia claims of de-escalation, saying that instead the troops were merely redeployed elsewhere.
Referring to scenes of apparent civilian massacres in the city Bucha, near Kyiv, which have drawn widespread outrage, Lavrov continued: "In response we got a provocation in Bucha, which was immediately used by the West to announce a new package of sanctions and atrocities against the Russian prisoners of war from the side of the Ukrainian neo-Nazis."
Russia has claimed the footage from Bucha was staged “fake news.”
Another change in the draft peace deal concerns Ukraine's neutral, non-nuclear status, Lavrov said, along with the necessity to agree to guarantor countries holding military exercises with the participation of foreign troops.
"In the draft agreement that came yesterday, this unambiguous term is replaced, now it mentions the possibility of holding such exercises if the majority of the guarantor countries authorize it, without any mention of Russia," he stressed.
Such moves show Kyiv's real plan to delay and disrupt negotiations through departing from agreements already reached, Lavrov said.
"We see in this the revelation of the fact that the Kyiv regime is controlled by Washington and its allies, who push President Zelenskyy to continue hostilities," the top diplomat said.
Despite all provocations, Russia will continue the peace talks, promoting its draft containing the clear, original, and key demands in full, he said.