Crimes against Ukrainian civilians hamper Russia-Ukraine peace talks

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For 10 days now, there has been no encouraging news of a possible peace deal being watched in the last round of face-to-face talks between Russia and Ukraine in Istanbul. The horrors found in Bucha and other cities east of Kiev, where hundreds of crimes against civilians have been committed by Russian troops, have extinguished the fire of dialogue, and the words directed at each side are becoming louder and louder.

Russia accuses Ukraine of “provoking” the disruption of the dialogue. Ukraine calls on Russia to reduce “hostility”. And one of the most active mediators in the conflict, Turkey, acknowledges that the atrocities committed against the Ukrainian civilian population are a burden aimed at a ceasefire.

In late March, Turkey announced it would arrange a meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart Dmitry Kul. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoღlu said the summit could take place in “a week or two”. Nothing is heard at this summit at this time.

According to the Financial Times, Ibrahim Kalin, a senior adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, acknowledged that events in cities like Bucha would affect Ukraine’s willingness to continue negotiations.

“The events on the ground, the pictures from Bucha and elsewhere, of course, make it difficult to continue the talks as before,” Kalin told the newspaper. “Ukrainians are destroyed, like all of us (…) These are really horrible, completely unacceptable and inhumane acts, and those who committed them must be punished,” the Turkish official said.

In an interview with the FT, Kalin acknowledged that reports of a massacre of civilians had jeopardized talks, “especially on the Ukrainian side,” and indicated that they might have “suspended for several days” before talks could begin. To be continued.

Russia accuses Ukraine of wanting to “stop” the talks

As international condemnation continues and new sanctions are being imposed on Russia in the wake of the notorious massacre in Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused Ukraine of “suspending talks.”

On Tuesday, Lavrov accused the West of using the “provocations” of the Bucha massacre, which the Kremlin considers a “fit” for a torpedo in peace talks.

This Thursday, the Russian Foreign Minister made a strong accusation against Ukraine. Lavrov, who was optimistic after the March 29 meeting in Istanbul, accused Kiev of changing parts that had already been agreed in a text presented to them on Wednesday as the basis for a peace agreement.

The impossibility of reaching agreements once again characterizes Kiev and its policy of delaying and terminating the negotiations, rejecting the agreements already reached.

Sergei Lavrov
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia

“The inability to reach an agreement once again characterizes Kiev and its policy of delaying and suspending negotiations by rejecting the agreements already reached,” Lavrov told a news conference at the EFE.

According to the Russian Foreign Minister, Kiev has changed its position on several issues. “Ukrainians have made it clear that Ukraine’s future security guarantees do not apply to Crimea and Sevastopol. “This is not a clear statement in yesterday’s draft,” he added.

Instead, “the idea is that Crimea and Donbas will be discussed at a meeting of the presidents of Russia and Ukraine,” which is ahead of the agreement reached in Istanbul, according to the Ukrainian delegation itself.

The Russian president claims that they also agreed that any military exercises with the participation of “foreign contingents” can be conducted only with the agreement of “all guarantor countries, including Russia.” According to Lavrov, now Ukraine demands that Russia’s consent is not required for the maneuvers.

Lavrov called the changes a “provocation” and said in response and “a continuation of the negotiation process” that Russia would present its own project: “which clearly and fully reflects our initial key positions and our demands.”

For his part, a spokesman for the Turkish president told the FT that Russia was just as concerned about sanctions as the evolution of military operations, and that this could be a key point in the negotiations. “They suffered a lot of losses there [en Ucrania]”But the economic losses are beginning to affect the general economic and political situation,” he said. “There should be a two-pronged and gradual gesture to manage the sanctions package. “From Russia’s point of view, this is the only way for them to make concessions,” Kalin said.

Ukraine calls on Russia to ease it

Zelensky’s adviser Mikhail Podoliak responded to the Russian accusations, saying they were “pure propaganda.” A member of the Ukrainian negotiating team told Reuters that Lavrov was not directly involved in the talks, that his statements were a “pure propaganda exercise” and that they intended to “divert attention. What happened in Bucha”.

During the talks, Podoliak tweeted: “Russian propagandists are no less responsible for the atrocities committed in Ukraine than the military. They have been hating the media in Ukraine for years. Now the Russian audience wants blood and does not accept excuses. “If Moscow wants to show its readiness for dialogue, it must reduce the degree of hostility in the media.”

Podoliak refers not only to the Kremlin’s massacre of Bucha’s massacre in its official media (“It was a conspiracy”, “it was the Ukrainians”), but also to an article recently published in the Russian state media, RIA Novosti. Which accused the “majority of the Ukrainian population” of being “accomplices of Nazism” and saw the solution as “educating” the public and erasing Ukrainian identity.

Dialogue to avoid the “other bucha”

Lavrov was also responded to by his Ukrainian counterpart Dimitro Kuleb. At a news conference after meeting with NATO officials in Brussels, Kulle chose dialogue to “prevent another Bucha”.

How is it possible to talk to Russia after everything that is happening? I do not understand them, but I also understand that in order to avoid another “bucha” we need to talk and see how we can end this war.

Dimitro Kuleba
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine

“You are asking the right question,” he told one of the journalists. “How is it possible to talk to Russia after everything that is happening? I have only one question for the Russians: who are they? Where did they come from? Is it not compassion, sympathy for children or women who have been raped and murdered, or for civilians, the elderly, or even pets? “I do not understand who they are (…) but I also understand that in order to prevent another ‘bucha’ we need to talk and see how we can end this war.”

Regarding Lavrov, he assured that “he has no personal feelings for him” and was ready to meet with him. However, he accused him of “complicity in crimes” for the statements he makes about places like Bucha or Mariupol.


Source: El Diario

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