Ukraine Concedes on NATO, Donbas and Crimea; Russia in Driver's Seat After Talks

The Russia-Ukraine talks held in Turkey on Tuesday delivered promising results, with Ukraine saying it will abandon aspirations to join the Nato, while Russia said it would scale back military operations in Kyiv.

"Ukraine would accept neutral status if the security guarantees work," said David Arakhamia, a Ukrainian negotiator. Another Ukrainian negotiator, Oleksandr Chaly, said Kyiv will not join any military-political alliance.

Map of Nato countries
Map of Nato countries wikimedia commons

Moscow responded by saying that it will scale back attacks on Kyiv in order to create situations conducive for further talks.

"As a way to enhance mutual belief and create the required situations for additional negotiations and attaining the final word purpose of agreeing and signing (an) settlement, a call was made to radically, by a big margin, scale back navy exercise within the Kyiv and Chernihiv instructions," Russian Deputy Defence Minister Alexander Fomin said, according to Reuters.

Ukrainian negotiators told the Russians that their country would agree to not be a part of alliances or host bases of international troops. However, Ukraine insisted that it needs very strong security guarantees from the West. The security guarantees Ukraine seeks are on par with the Article 5 under Nato, which warrants fellow members to come to the rescue of a Nato nation under attack.

"We are not going to host international navy bases on our territory, in addition to deploy navy contingents on our territory, and we are not going to enter into military-political alliances," Oleksander Chaly said.

Russian Tanks
Russian tanks brandishing Soviet flag as they move through war-torn Ukraine Twitter

The ball is now in Russia's court as the delegation will take the Ukrainian proposals to Vladimir Putin.

In another remarkable move Ukraine said it will 'sidestep' the question of Crimea and the breakaway regions in eastern Donbas. In order to facilitate the security guarantee negotiation quickly, Kyiv is willing to "temporarily exclude" these areas, the officials said.

Map of Ukraine
Map of Ukraine Reuters

Ukraine also said it was okay with setting up a mechanism to 'resolve' the Crimea question through talks over 15 years.

However, Ukraine said a negotiated settlement should allow it to retain the rights to join the European Union.