Russia to ‘radically’ reduce military activity around Kyiv

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Russia will “radically” reduce its military activity in northern Ukraine, including near the capital Kyiv, after “meaningful” talks in Istanbul, Moscow’s negotiators said Tuesday.

“Given that the talks on the preparation of an agreement on the neutrality and non-nuclear status of Ukraine have moved into a practical field… a decision has been made to radically… reduce the military activity in the areas of Kyiv and Chernigiv,” said Russia’s deputy defence minister Alexander Fomin.

Chief negotiator Vladimir Medinsky said there had been a “meaningful discussion” at the talks and that Ukrainian proposals would be put to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He also said that Putin could meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“After today’s meaningful discussion we have agreed on and propose a solution, according to which the meeting of the heads of state is possible simultaneously with the foreign ministers initialling the treaty,” Medinsky added.

“On the condition of quick work on the agreement and finding the required compromise, the possibility to make peace will become much closer,” he said.

Medinsky said the Ukrainian side had presented written proposals, which he said called for Ukraine to become a “permanently neutral state under international security guarantees” aimed at giving it non-nuclear status.

He said that under Kyiv’s proposals, these guarantees would not cover Russia-annexed Crimea or the separatist regions of Lugansk and Donetsk, which he said meant Kyiv would give up attempts to return these regions militarily.—AP

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