Talks in Istanbul: Is Russia controlling or is it ‘distracting’?

The 19th-century Dolmabahe Palace in Istanbul today and tomorrow is the setting for new negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, led by Turkish President Erdogan. Now that the peace talks in Belarus and Antalya have failed, it is time to put an end to “this tragedy” with firm plans, Erdogan said at the start of diplomatic talks. “Allowing the conflict to continue is not good for anyone.”

As for Ukraine, the highest goal that can be achieved today is to achieve a ceasefire, Ukraine’s foreign minister said last night. However, an improvement was not expected by the Ukrainians.

‘Milestone end’?

No statement has been issued on the Russian side regarding a possible ceasefire. However, the Russian state news agency DOS reported that the Russians believe the delegations are making progress today. Someone involved in the diplomatic talks told the news agency that the negotiators believed in a “milestone decision”. But according to a senior US State Department official, President Putin does not want to compromise.

The question is what the Russian delegation considers a milestone. According to the British newspaper Financial Times, Presented with a draft document by the four parties involved in the negotiations, the Kremlin dropped some of its original negotiating terms. For example, the Russians will no longer demand that Ukraine be “denationalized”, although Russia’s understanding of this seems to be the deciding factor.

In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the transfer of power in Kiev appeared to be within the bounds of a “denunciation” from a Russian perspective, but Kremlin spokesmen have also said that Russia does not want to overthrow the Zelensky government.

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