Russia does not refuse to hold talks with Ukraine – Putin

RT-MOSCOW does not refuse to hold talks with Kiev and it hopes it will be possible to achieve agreements on the diplomatic track, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with visiting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in Moscow on Tuesday.

“Although the military operation is in progress, we still hope that we will be able to achieve agreements on the diplomatic track. We are holding negotiations. We do not reject them,” Putin said.

According to him, negotiators of Moscow and Kiev “managed to achieve a major breakthrough” at talks in Istanbul. At that point, Kiev’s negotiators did not link “Ukraine’s international security demands with such a notion as Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders, setting aside Crimea, Sevastopol and the recognized by Russia republics of Donbass, with certain reservations”. “But unfortunately, after these agreements were achieved and after, in my view, our clearly demonstrated intentions to create favourable conditions to continue talks we faced a provocation in the city of Bucha, and the Russian army has no relation to this,” Putin said.

The Russian leader assured that Moscow knows “who did this, who prepared this provocation, with what means, and what people worked on this,” “And the position of our negotiators from Ukraine on the further settlement drastically changed after that,” the president said.

He pointed out that after the developments in Bucha, Ukrainian negotiators “backtracked on their former intentions to set aside the territories of Crimea, Sevastopol and the republics of Donbass in the issues of security guarantees”.

“They simply gave up on this. And in their draft agreement to this respect, submitted to us, they simply pointed in two articles that these issues must be solved at a meeting of the heads of state. But it is clear to us that these issues will never be solved if we refer them to the level of the heads of state, without settling them before at least within the framework of a draft agreement,” Putin stated. “And in this case, we simply cannot sign the security guarantees without resolving the territorial issues in relation to Crimea, Sevastopol and the republics of Donbass,” he added.

Nevertheless, negotiations continue. “They currently proceed in the online format. I hope that this will lead us to some positive result,” Putin summed up