Kyiv: What's the solution? Russia promises to reduce its presence near the capital

Russia said Tuesday that it would significantly reduce military operations in Ukraine's capital and northern cities, as the outline of a possible agreement to end the war became clear at the most recent round of negotiations.

Kyiv: What's the solution? Russia promises to reduce its presence near the capital

At the conference in Istanbul, the Ukrainian delegation laid out a framework that would allow Ukraine to declare itself neutral, and ensure its security through the support of a variety of nations.

Moscow's public response was positive and negotiations will resume on Wednesday. This is five weeks after the bloody war of Attrition that has left thousands dead and nearly 4 million Ukrainians fleeing Ukraine.

Alexander Fomin, Russian Deputy Defense Minister, stated that Moscow had decided to "fundamentally... reduce military activity in the direction Kyiv/Chernihiv", to "increase mutual distrust and create conditions to further negotiations."

He didn't immediately explain what this would mean in concrete terms.

The U.S. and other countries were skeptical about the announcement.

Although Moscow called it a gesture of goodwill, the Russian ground troops suffered heavy losses and became bogged down in their attempt to seize Kyiv. The Kremlin appeared to have lowered its war goals last week and Tuesday. It stated that its "main goal" is now to take control of eastern Ukraine's Donbas region, which is mostly Russian-speaking.

When asked by Joe Biden whether the Russian announcement meant that there was progress in the negotiations or that Moscow wanted to purchase time for its assault, he replied: "We'll be seeing. I won't take anything in until I see their actions.

Antony Blinken, Secretary of State of the United States, suggested that Russian indications of a pullback might be an attempt by Moscow "deceive people" and divert attention.

Officials from the West claim that Moscow is bolstering its troops in Donbas to try and encircle Ukraine’s forces. Russia's brutal siege of the south continues with civilians still trapped in the rubble of Mariupol, and other bombed cities.


 

Blinken stated in Morocco that "there is what Russia says and what Russia does." "And Russia is continuing to brutalize Ukraine."

Emergency authorities reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin's forces struck a hole in a nine-story building of the government administration in Mykolaiv. This strike claimed at least 12 lives. Further bodies were found in the rubble.

"It's terrible. Vitaliy Kim, regional governor, stated that they waited for people "to go to work" before striking down the building. "I overslept. I'm lucky."

According to the Ukrainian military, it had noticed some Russian troops leaving Kyiv and Chernihiv. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesperson, said that the U.S. had not seen any evidence to support a significant withdrawal from the capital.

Rob Lee, a U.S.-based military expert, tweeted about the Russian announcement: "This seems more like an acknowledgement of the situation around Kyiv, where Russia's advance had been stalled for several weeks and Ukrainian forces has had recent successes. Russia doesn't possess the forces necessary to surround the city.

This was the first meeting between negotiators from Russia, Ukraine and Istanbul in over two weeks. In person, talks in Belarus were previously held or via video.

The Kremlin demanded, among other things throughout the process that Ukraine give up any hopes of joining NATO.

The delegation from Ukraine offered a detailed framework to a peace agreement under which neutral Ukraine's security would been guaranteed by a group third countries including the U.S. and Britain. This arrangement is similar to NATO's "an assault on one is an attack upon all" principle.

Ukraine indicated that it was willing to have talks for a period of 15 years regarding the future of the Crimean Peninsula. It was seized by Russia in 2014.

Vladimir Medinskiy (head of the Russian delegation) stated on Russian TV that the Ukrainian proposal is a "step towards meeting us halfway, which is clearly a positive fact."

Although he acknowledged that parties remain far from an agreement, he said that they now know how to get there. We're not just passing time in negotiations.

Other developments

The Netherlands, Belgium and the Czech Republic expelled many Russian diplomats in what seemed to be a coordinated effort to combat Russian espionage.

To ensure safety of Ukraine's nuclear facilities, the head of U.N. Nuclear Watchdog Agency visited Ukraine. Russian forces have taken control over the Chernobyl nuclear plant, which was the site of the worst nuclear accident in history in 1986, as well as the Zaporizhzhia active Zaporizhia plant where a building was destroyed in fighting.

Russia has demolished more than 60 religious buildings in Ukraine in less than a month of war. The majority of the damage was concentrated in the east and near Kyiv, according to the military of Ukraine.

Roman Abramich, a longtime Putin ally, was present at the Istanbul talks. He has been sanctioned both by Britain and the European Union. Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, said that the Chelsea soccer team owner was acting as an unofficial mediator. Both countries have approved this. News reports suggest that he was poisoned in an earlier round of negotiations, adding to the mystery.

In the last few days, the Ukrainian forces mounted counterattacks and reclaimed territory on the outskirts Kyiv and in other areas.

For photos with Col. General Oleksandr Syrskyi and Ukrainian soldiers, they gathered in a trench. They claimed that Ukraine had retaken Irpin, an important suburb northwest of the capital that has been subject to heavy fighting.

Syrskyi, commander in charge of defense of Kyiv, stated that "We defend motherland because of our very high morale." "We want to win because we are determined."

After weeks of occupation, which left a landscape of Russian bodies and burned and twisted tanks, the Trostyanets area south of Sumy, in the northeast, also returned to Ukraine, Trostyanets was also taken back by Ukrainian forces.

Putin's ground forces have been thwarted not just by stronger-than-expected Ukrainian resistance, but by what Western officials say are Russian tactical missteps, poor morale, shortages of food, fuel and cold weather gear, and other problems.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reiterated what the military stated last week. He said Tuesday that Moscow's main objective is "liberating Donbas".

This is a potential exit strategy for Putin that could save his face, but it has also raised fears in Ukraine about the Kremlin's plans to divide the country and force it into surrendering a large portion of its territory.


 

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