Turkey, alongside Israel, is mediating talks between Moscow and Kyiv from which some hopeful signs are emerging. Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey’s Foreign Minister, quoted in the Financial Times, admitted: “It’s not that easy to negotiate while the war is ongoing, or to agree when civilians are dying. But I want to say that there is momentum.” He added: “The parties are close to agreement on fundamental issues.”
Neutrality, security guarantees and the “denazification” of street names are reportedly major concerns of Putin.
One area where the two sides are converging is Ukraine’s relationship with NATO.
Volodymyr Zelensky said yesterday, on Sunday, he has been told Ukraine will not join the Western alliance.
But he added he was told to keep up the impression membership was a possibility, despite warnings from Russia.
The Ukrainian leader, quoted in CNN, said: “I requested them personally to say directly that we are going to accept you into NATO in a year or two or five, just say it directly and clearly, or just say no.
“The response was very clear, you’re not going to be a NATO member, but publicly, the doors will remain open.”
It is also suggested Moscow and Kyiv are coming closer to agreeing on “demilitarising” Ukraine in exchange for security guarantees.
The FT reports negotiators are working towards shaking on plans around what Russia has called “de-Nazification” and on the lifting of restrictions on the use of Russian in Ukraine.
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Many in the West have, however, demanded Kyiv concede not an inch of ground to Putin because of the actions surrounding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, has also dampened hopes of a peace deal, accusing Ukraine of not going far enough.
FT Moscow Bureau Chief Max Seddon quoted the spokesman in a post on Twitter as saying: “The degree of progress falls short of what we would like and how the dynamic of developments demands of the Ukrainian side.”
He added direct talks between Mr Zelensky and Putin will only take place if Kyiv “does its homework by holding negotiations and agreeing their results”.
He said: “For now, there is no substantial movement. They won’t have any agreements to commit to.”