MOSCOW, March 5. /TASS/. Moscow hopes that the negotiations with Kiev will result in the restoration of peace in Donbass and the return of all peoples in Ukraine to peace and justice, Alexey Polishchuk, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s second department of the CIS countries, said in an interview with TASS.
"We expect that negotiations will be held in a constructive way and will lead to the restoration of peace in Donbass and the return of all peoples of Ukraine to a peaceful and just life as soon as possible," he said.
According to the diplomat, Moscow hopes that "a third round will be held in the near future."
"It is impossible to say how many more rounds there will be. We are not losing optimism," he said.
Polishchuk recalled that Russia demanded at the talks that Ukraine be demilitarized and de-Nazified, the people of Donbass be protected and any military threat to Russia emanating from Ukrainian territory be eliminated.
"The talks have not been easy. Nevertheless, the main thing so far is that the delegations have agreed on establishing humanitarian corridors for the exit of civilians and on a possible cessation of hostilities in the area of humanitarian corridors for the period of civilians’ passage," he said, summing up the first two rounds of talks.
On February 28, the first round of Russian-Ukrainian talks took place in the Gomel region. It lasted five hours. The Russian delegation was led by presidential aide Vladimir Medinsky, who said earlier that the Russian delegation was ready to speak with the Ukrainian side as long as it may take to reach agreements. The second round was held on March 3, also in Belarus. Medinsky described the agreements reached during this round as serious progress. In particular, Moscow and Kiev managed to reach an agreement on humanitarian corridors for civilians.
On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised address that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation in order to protect people "who have been suffering from abuse and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years." The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories. The goal is demilitarization and denazification of that country.
When clarifying the unfolding developments, the Russian Defense Ministry reassured that Russian troops are not targeting Ukrainian cities, but are limited to surgically striking and incapacitating Ukrainian military infrastructure. There are no threats whatsoever to the civilian population.