Russian-Ukrainian talks in Istanbul focusing on security guarantees

AP , Tuesday 29 Mar 2022

An adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the talks under way with Russia in Istanbul are focusing on security guarantees for Ukraine and hopes of a cease-fire.

In this photo provided by Turkish Presidency, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, center, gives a speech to welcome the Russian, left, and Ukrainian delegations ahead of their talks, in Istanbul, Turkey, Tuesday, March 29, 2022. AP

Mykhailo Podolyak told Ukrainian media on Tuesday that there are ``intensive consultations going on regarding several important issues, the key among those is an agreement on international security guarantees for Ukraine.`` He said that ``only with this agreement can we end the war in a way that Ukraine needs.''

He adds that ``the second block of issues is a cease-fire so that we could resolve all the humanitarian problems which have piled up and which require urgent resolutions.''

Podolyak added the two sides were also discussing breaches of the rules of war.

In a speech he delivered at the start Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a cease-fire and said progress in the talks could pave the way for a meeting between the two countries' leaders.

``We believe that there will be no losers in a just peace. Prolonging the conflict is not in anyone's interest,'' Erdogan said. ``As members of the delegations you have taken on a historic responsibility. The whole world is awaiting the good news that will come from you.''

The delegations are scheduled to hold two days of talks in a government building adjacent to the 19th-century Ottoman palace, Dolmabahce, on the shores of the Bosporus.

Earlier talks between the sides, held in person in Belarus or by video, failed to make progress on ending the monthlong war that has killed thousands and driven more than 10 million Ukrainians from their homes including almost 4 million from their country.

Ahead of the talks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said his country is prepared to declare its neutrality, as Moscow has demanded, and is open to compromise on the fate of the Donbas, the contested region in the country's east.

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