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Russia, Ukraine need neutral negotiating platform — Zaporozhye governor

"It could launch the beginning of more extensive talks. And something could grow from this as a result," Yevgeny Balitsky specified

MOSCOW, September 7. /TASS/. Russia and Ukraine need a neutral platform where the two countries can negotiate pragmatic solutions to mutual issues, including prisoner swaps, which would work even as the special military operation continues, Zaporozhye Region Acting Governor Yevgeny Balitsky told TASS.

"There should be a negotiating platform somewhere - at the level of foreign ministries, at the level of other mediating countries. People are needed who are, unfortunately, disengaged from the situation. They are able to tackle the issue in an objective and pragmatic way, however, there should be a table somewhere where authorized representatives would interact. This will allow [POW] swap issues to be resolved, or, for example, the issue of a moratorium on shelling nuclear power plants. This will benefit everyone, even in war time, no matter how cynical this sounds," Balitsky said.

"So, in any case there should be some kind of platform. It could launch the beginning of more extensive talks. And something could grow from this as a result. And, perhaps, we would be able to resolve the task set forth by the president peacefully," he said in reply to a question about the current possibility of talks between Russia and Ukraine happening.

The Russian government had already on a number of occasions voiced its readiness to negotiate with Ukraine to reach a settlement of the conflict. At the same time, however, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova pointed out that the main obstacle standing in the way of such talks was the prohibition on conducting negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, which was legally enshrined by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s decree of September 30, 2022, "as well as the initiatives of the Ukrainian head of state, which indicate official Kiev’s complete detachment from modern realities," including the demand to withdraw Russian troops from the new regions of the country.