Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Wednesday that Russia sees “progress” in negotiations with Ukraine.
“Some progress has been made in the ongoing negotiations,” she said at a press conference and reiterated that Russia’s military operations in Ukraine are not aimed at overthrowing the current government nor at destroying the state.
The Russian TASS news agency quoted Zakharova as saying that the operations “are aimed at protecting the Donetsk and Luhansk republics, the disarmament of Ukraine, the de-Nazification and the elimination of the military threat from the territory of Ukraine due to the activities of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries there and attempts to pump weapons into the country.” ‘, she said.
Ukraine also announced that it does not rule out discussing the country’s possible neutrality in negotiations with Russia, and Ihor Shuvukva, foreign policy adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said in statements to the German “ARD” media network when asked if Ukraine could be ready during the negotiations. To accept a neutral situation: “Such issues can be discussed in negotiations, this is undoubtedly possible,” Shuvukva called a meeting at the level of heads of state.
Shuvukva stressed that serious negotiations will only be possible if Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Zelensky, declaring Zelensky’s willingness to do so, noting in return that the Russian side, unfortunately, is not ready to do so.
Shuvukva called on international partners to help hold such a meeting, noting in return that such negotiations or a possible agreement can only be held after hostilities have stopped and there has been a ceasefire.
Shuvukva stated that after that, “what would it look like with a possible neutrality of Ukraine” could be discussed, adding: “Therefore we need strict guarantees so that such a situation does not happen again… We are not the aggressors and we will never be the attackers.”
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, plan to meet on Thursday in the Turkish city of Antalya.
It is reported that since 2019 the goal of joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has been specified in the Ukrainian constitution. Russia is demanding that Ukraine abandon it and declare itself neutral.
Shuvukva called on Germany, “as the economic engine of the European Union”, to impose more sanctions on Russia, explaining that his country calls for an embargo on imports of Russian gas and oil, the confiscation of Russian-owned goods, and the expansion of the sanctions of the Association for Worldwide Interbank Financial Communication “SWIFT” to include all Russian banks.
“If we cannot stop the Russian aggressors here, Russia will not stop at the Ukrainian border, but will move to other countries, to the Baltic republics, and perhaps Poland. It can go further,” Shuvukva added.