When the peace talks were getting good and concrete, Bucha came suddenly… — RT DE

7 Apr 2022 1:47 p.m

Russia accuses the West of working against progress in the peace talks with Ukraine. Foreign Minister Lavrov said that the “provocation” in Bucha occurred just as the Kiev delegation in Istanbul was first drafting possible peace terms.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday he believes the West is using the “hysteria” surrounding the alleged mass killings in the Ukrainian city of Bucha to derail peace talks between Moscow and Kyiv. The alleged events in the city, which he described as a “provocation,” were staged as peace talks in Istanbul made progress, he added.

“We tend to believe that the reason for this behavior is a desire to construct a reason to disrupt the ongoing negotiations at the very moment when, as they say, the light, when not very bright either, but still, you can see it at the end of the tunnel.”

“On March 29, during the negotiations between our delegations, the Ukrainian side presented for the first time a written version of what the status of Ukraine and its security guarantees might look like,” added the foreign minister.

According to Lavrov, in the course of negotiations with Russia, Kyiv “for the first time put down on paper its willingness” to declare itself neutral, non-aligned and non-nuclear. In addition, he stressed, the Ukrainians have formally promised not to station weapons systems of foreign states on their territory or to conduct exercises there with the participation of foreign military without the consent of all guarantor states of the future treaty, including Russia.

The security guarantees of the agreement, Lavrov argued, would have completely ruled out NATO’s eastward expansion and guaranteed “indivisible security on the European continent”. In addition, the minister added, the Ukrainian side themselves stated in the draft that Crimea and Donbass would be excluded from the provisions, a move Lavrov called “progress”.

“Once again, we would like to urge those who direct the actions of Kyiv, and we know who they are, to remain aware of their responsibility for security in Europe. Russia is ready for this conversation, but for us to really move forward and not making the appearance of progress, we insist on sending a clear signal to Kyiv not to engage in acts of sabotage, otherwise we risk repeating the fate of the Minsk agreements, and we will never agree to it,” the minister said.

After Russian troops withdrew from Bucha, hundreds of murdered civilians were discovered in the city north of Kyiv. Ukraine blames the massacre on Russian troops who occupied the area until recently, but Moscow denies it. While Western politicians sided with Ukraine on the matter, China reminded that an investigation was necessary.

Ukraine signaled that it remains interested in a diplomatic settlement of differences with Russia. According to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, a peace agreement between Kyiv and Moscow is possible. “Yes, because Ukraine must find peace. We are in 21st-century Europe. We will continue our diplomatic and military efforts,” he said on a visit to Bucha on Monday.

On March 29, another round of negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv took place in Istanbul. Earlier, representatives of both countries held three meetings in Belarus. Negotiations began on February 28 in a small town in the Gomel region of Belarus. They then continued in Białowieża Pušča on March 3 and 7. The talks were later continued via video link.

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