Putin not willing to meet Zelensky, says Turkey

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Turkey, which is trying hard to bring Moscow and Kiev to the negotiating table in an effort to end the ongoing war, has said that Russian President Vladimir Putin is still not willing to meet his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky.

Speaking to local media outlets, Ibrahim Kalin, a government spokesman in Ankara, said that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has proposed a meeting between the leaders of the two warring nations in Turkey in an effort to end the ongoing war, reports Ukrayinska Pravda.

“Zelensky is ready to do this. Putin, by contrast, believes that the parties have not yet reached a common vision sufficient to conduct negotiations at the head-of-state level,” Kalin was quoted as saying.

According to the spokesman, in Erdogan’s proposed meeting, the main point of focus will be on a possible compromise between Ukraine and Russia, after which detailed negotiations on the agreement will continue.

Kalin said that Putin, during a conversation with Erdogan, put forward six main points, which were Ukraine’s neutrality and refusal to join NATO in future; ‘demilitarisation’ and mutual provision of security guarantees according to the Austrian security model; de-nazification; removal of “obstacles” to the widespread use of the Russian language; status recognition of the “Donetsk People’s Republic”, “Luhansk People’s Republic”; and recognition of Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

According to the spokesman, the Ukrainian delegation apparently discussed the first four points with the Russians, but is not prepared even to discuss the fifth and sixth, Ukrayinska Pravda reported.

Therefore, Turkey is hoping to organise the meeting between Putin and Zelensky after which further progress can be made in the negotiations.

Kalin further said that neither Ukraine nor the world community is likely to easily agree to the recognition of Russia’s occupation of Crimea and the Donbas region, which comprised Luhansk and Donetsk, as “this is a flagrant violation of international law”.

He added that Russia was trying to negotiate from a position of strength, but “it should not be forgotten that the continuation of the war will primarily hit the Russian army and economy”.

On March 10, under Turkey’s initiative, a tripartite meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Moscow, Kiev and Ankara took place in Antalya.

However, no progress was achieved on a truce.

Russian authorities on March 16 announced their readiness to continue negotiations with Ukraine in the tripartite format.

Earlier this month, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had assured that Russia was not against personal talks between Zelensky and Putin.

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