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Path set out for meeting of presidents

(China Daily/ANN) -- Moscow has proposed a meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian presidents for the first time during the conflict.
The overture, which comes with conditions, was revealed as Russia claims it is reducing its military activities near Kyiv and other cities to “increase mutual trust” with Ukraine.

File photos of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.     --Photo Xinhua

Russian presidential aide Vladimir Medinsky said after talks on Tuesday in Istanbul that Russia suggested a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky be organised concurrently with the initialing of a bilateral treaty by the two foreign ministers.
It is the first time that a senior Russian official proposed a meeting between the two presidents. Zelensky has repeatedly asked for a meeting with Putin even before the launch of Russia’s special military operation.
“During this initialing and consideration of the treaty’s details, it will be possible to discuss various political nuances and details,” Medinsky said.
“So, if the work on the treaty and a required compromise proceeds swiftly, the possibility of peace will be much closer.”
Medinsky said it is envisaged that a treaty be drafted and, if approved by the negotiators, it would be signed by the foreign ministers at a meeting. Once this stage is cleared, the document would be signed by the heads of state. “It is not a simple matter, the more so as it could be a multilateral meeting involving guarantor nations of peace and security in Ukraine.”
The talks for Russian and Ukrainian delegations in Istanbul were scheduled for two days, but after Tuesday’s meeting, sources in the Russian delegation and the Turkish Foreign Ministry said the round was over and the meeting planned for Wednesday was called off.
Proposals studied
Russian state news agency TASS said the Russian delegation had received a “clear-phrased position”, and Medinsky said Kyiv’s proposals will be studied in the near future and reported to Putin.
In addition, Russia is making two de-escalation steps, in both the political and military spheres, Medinsky said.
China has noticed the positive signal sent by both Russia and Ukraine in their fifth round of talks, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Wednesday, adding that China always holds that dialogue is the only right way to solve the crisis. China calls for Russia and Ukraine to keep the overall direction of the dialogue and negotiations, to meet each other halfway, and to reach a consensus on the solution of a political settlement, so as to avoid an escalation in the situation and resume peace at an early date, Wang said.
Wang urged the international community to say more and do more things that are conducive to the dialogue and negotiation as well as support Russia and Ukraine in continuing talks to yield results and achieve peace.
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin announced the decision to decrease the military activities in the areas around Kyiv and Chernihiv in an effort to “increase mutual trust for future negotiations” to lead to a peace deal with Ukraine. Some Russian units have returned to Belarus after suffering heavy battlefield losses in Ukraine, according to the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence in an intelligence update on Wednesday.
Vadym Denysenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister, confirmed on Wednesday that the Russian units and their equipment were moving from Kyiv’s outskirts to Belarus.
“Still, there was an air of alarm throughout the country during the night,” he said. Denysenko described the situation in the besieged cities of Chernihiv and Mariupol as difficult. Around the capital, there were reports of fighting near the western suburb of Irpin overnight, he said.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday that United States President Joe Biden’s insults against Putin have hurt relations between the two countries, but dialogue between Moscow and Washington is necessary regardless.

(Latest Update April 1, 2022)

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