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Russia-Ukraine talks, 3rd round: expectations fail, continuation due soon

The third round of Russian-Ukrainian talks, held in Belarus on Monday evening, failed to yield the expected results, as both Moscow and Kiev delegates acknowledged.

Russia's chief negotiator, presidential aide Vladimir Medinsky, said that the expectations pinned on the talks failed to come true, while Ukrainian presidential office adviser Mikhail Podolyak acknowledged that there were no results for the time being that might considerably improve the situation.

Both sides agreed to go ahead with negotiations and noted positive shifts on the issue of humanitarian corridors that remained inoperational on Monday. TASS has put together all that is known about the results of the three hours of talks at the moment.

Humanitarian corridors

Russia hopes that the humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians from the areas of hostilities, which were discussed last Friday, will start working as they should on Tuesday, Medinsky told the media. He said the Russian delegation put this question in a "point-blank" way to receive firm promises from Kiev's delegates.

The Russian presidential aide blames the problems with the opening of humanitarian corridors on the Ukrainian military commanders locally, who disobey orders from their superiors and the authorities.

Podolyak said in a video uploaded to Twitter that the two sides had agreed to some changes to the logistics, which, he said, would make assistance to civilians more effective, but did not disclose the details.

On Monday morning, the Russian military opened corridors for civilians out of Kiev, Kharkov, Sumy and Mariupol, but the evacuation of civilians was upset. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk dismissed Moscow's option as "unacceptable."

Political settlement

Moscow's delegates had brought to Belovezhskaya Pushcha "concrete" treaties, drafts and proposals" in the hope of signing "at least a protocol" regarding the items that had been agreed in principle, Medinsky said. However, the Ukrainian delegation took these drafts "to study at home."

Podolyak said that consultations on the basic political settlement package in combination with ceasefire and security guarantees will be proposed, but no tangible results had been achieved yet.

Russia's proposals, as the chairman of the State Duma's committee Leonid Slutsky said, included "political aspects, denazification, the Russian language and, naturally, everything related with the neutral status and demilitarization." He stressed that Moscow's stance on these issues was "not some basis for further consultations, but an unshakable foundation."

Earlier, the chief of the parliamentary faction of Ukraine's ruling faction, David Akhramiya, one of the participants in the negotiations, said the Moscow and Kiev were able to achieve a compromise practically on all issues except for the status of Crimea and the Donbass republics. He argued that their recognition would be "unacceptable to Ukrainian society."

In the meantime, Moscow has repeatedly said that the recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics and Russia's sovereignty over Crimea and Sevastopol was its firm stance. The same applies to the demand for a special clause in the constitution ruling out Ukraine's accession to any bloc, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Reuters on Monday.

Fourth round due soon

The Russian-Ukrainian negotiations will be continued and Moscow hopes that "more tangible steps forward will be made," Medinsky said.

Neither side has mentioned any specific dates or venues, but Slutsky remarked that the next round would be held in Belarus in the near future.

Slutsky warned that the negotiating process would be no easy and take time. "Let us not succumb to the illusion that a final result is just one or two steps away from us. There is laborious, systematic work ahead.".

[Source: Tass, Belovezhskaya Pushcha, 07Mar22]

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