Russia: Demilitarization talks with Kiev "halfway" there
Head of the Russian delegation Vladimir Medinsky says Moscow and Kiev are ‘halfway there’ in talks on Ukraine’s demilitarization
Progress has been achieved by Moscow and Kiev in the ongoing negotiations, and the two countries are getting their stances on Ukraine’s potential status “as close as possible,” Vladimir Medinsky, the head of the Russian delegation, said Friday.
“The topic of neutral status and non-accession of Ukraine to NATO is one of the key issues of the negotiations. This is the issue on which the parties have brought their positions as close as possible,” Medinsky stated, adding, “Then details begin relating to what security guarantees Ukraine receives in addition to the already existing in case of its refusal to join the NATO bloc.”
Other issues remain debatable, however, such as the Russian demands to “demilitarize” and “denazify” Ukraine. The delegations are "halfway" into agreeing on the matter, while the situation remains “rather strange,” with Kiev still denying that neo-Nazis exist in the country.
"Ukrainian colleagues believe that there are no Nazi formations in Ukraine,” the official explained.
On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a special military operation to demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine, responding to calls from the people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk for help in countering the aggression of Ukrainian forces, which has been ongoing since 2014.
The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that the special operation is targeting Ukrainian military infrastructure only and the civilian population is not in danger.
A couple of days before launching the operation, Putin had recognized the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics after weeks of escalating shelling, mortar, sniper, and sabotage attacks by Ukrainian armed forces and ultra-nationalist and neo-Nazi groups in the Donbass region.
Russia had for months been warning of the threat posed against it by NATO's attempts to expand eastward, which happened simultaneously with an increase in NATO military activity along Russia's borders, and batches of lethal weapons being sent to Ukraine, prompting Russia to request security guarantees from the West. Washington failed to provide the guarantees.