Yesterday, the Ukrainian side presented its draft agreement to the negotiating group. It shows a departure from the most important provisions included in the document signed by head of the Ukrainian delegation David Arakhamia at the meeting in Istanbul on March 29 of this year.
In that document, the Ukrainians clearly said that future security guarantees for Ukraine would not apply to Crimea or Sevastopol. This clear statement, however, is absent from yesterday’s draft. Instead, it includes some vague phrasing about “effective control” as of February 23 of this year.
In addition, it floats an idea that the problems of Crimea and Donbass should be discussed at a meeting between the presidents of Russia and Ukraine. Moreover, President Vladimir Zelensky has repeatedly stated that such a meeting is possible only after the cessation of hostilities. For sure, at the next round, the Ukrainian side will ask for the withdrawal of troops and will add more preconditions. This intention is clear; this is unacceptable.
I would like to remind the other side that after Istanbul, in response to a glint of realism in the Ukrainian approach, the Russian armed forces de-escalated operations on the Kiev-Chernigov track as a gesture of goodwill and to expedite the progress towards an agreement. What we got in response was a provocation in Bucha, with the West immediately taking advantage of it to announce a new portion of sanctions, as well as Ukrainian neo-Nazis committing atrocities against Russian prisoners of war.
Another major point is that the document signed by David Arakhamia clearly stated that in the context of Ukraine’s non-nuclear and neutral status outside any blocs, any military exercises involving foreign personnel could only be held with the consent of all guarantor states, including Russia. However, the draft agreement we received yesterday also includes a different line, replacing that unambiguous provision. It provides for the possibility of conducting exercises with the consent of the majority of guarantor states without any mention of Russia. This kind of difficult negotiating approach has become all too frequent. It shows Kiev’s true intentions and its policy of dragging out negotiations or even disrupting them by deviating from the understandings reached. We view this as a manifestation of the Kiev regime being controlled by Washington and its allies, who are pushing President Vladimir Zelensky to continue hostilities.
Despite all the provocations, the Russian delegation will continue the negotiation process, promoting our draft agreement, which spells out all the key positions and demands very clearly and in full.