Russia accuses Ukraine of derailing talks

AP , AFP , Thursday 7 Apr 2022

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, accused Ukraine on Thursday, of derailing talks with Moscow by 'changing its negotiating stance,' saying that Kyiv had walked back its proposal that international guarantees of its security don't apply to Crimea.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a press conference following talks of representatives of the Arab League states with the Russian Foreign Minister in Moscow on April 4, 2022. AFP

Russian annexed the Black Sea peninsula in 2014 and wants Ukraine to acknowledge Moscow's sovereignty over it.

Lavrov also accused Ukraine of modifying a provision in a draft deal it had submitted earlier that said that military drills on Ukrainian territory could be organized with the consent of all guarantor countries, including Russia.

"Yesterday, the Ukrainian side presented its draft agreement... It shows a departure from the most important provisions spelled out at the meeting in Istanbul on March 29," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. "We see this as a manifestation of the fact that the Kyiv regime is controlled by Washington and its allies, who are pushing President Volodymyr Zelensky to continue hostilities."

Lavrov added that Russia intends to continue the talks despite the Ukrainian "provocations.''

He also said that Ukrainians wanted the leaders of Russia and Ukraine to discuss Crimea and separatist-held territory in eastern Ukraine face-to-face.

"At the next stage, the Ukrainian side will certainly ask for the withdrawal of troops and will put forward new preconditions," Lavrov predicted.

Adding that "This is unacceptable."

He accused Ukrainian authorities of seeking to scupper talks and not wanting to end more than a month of fighting.

Meanwhile, Ukraine on Thursday urged Russia to show it was ready for dialogue by lowering "hostility" after Moscow accused Ukrainian negotiators of changing their demands since face-to-face talks in March.

"If Moscow wants to demonstrate its readiness for dialogue, it should lower the degree of hostility," Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhaylo Podolyak said on Twitter.

**This story was edited by Ahram Online

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