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Face-to-face Russia-Ukraine talks important, no progress achieved yet — Kremlin spokesman

Earlier, it was reported that Russian and Ukrainian delegations had agreed to meet face to face on March 29-30
Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov Mikhail Metzel/TASS
Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov
© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

MOSCOW, March 28. /TASS/. Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has described as important the very instance of plans for face-to-face talks between Russian and Ukrainian delegations, but the Kremlin sees no progress for the time being.

"We cannot and will not speculate about progress for the time being, but the very decision to go ahead with face-to-face talks is important, of course," Peskov told the media about plans for a face-to-face meeting between Russian and Ukrainian delegates in Istanbul.

"For now, we prefer to follow a policy of not disclosing any details of the talks. We believe that otherwise we might harm the negotiating process," Peskov said.

About the date set for the Istanbul talks Peskov said that they were "unlikely" to begin today.

"The delegation is leaving for Turkey today. We expect that theoretically this may happen tomorrow," he added. In general, he said that "face-to-face meetings allow for conducting talks in a more focused, tighter and meaningful way."

"Regrettably, we cannot say there have been any significant achievements or breakthroughs so far," Peskov concluded.

He refrained from comments when asked about Russia’s expectations ahead of the Istanbul negotiations. Also, Peskov preferred to keep quiet when asked if certain countries, such as Poland, which had taken the liberty of using unfriendly rhetoric in relation to Moscow, might participate in hypothetical Russian-Ukrainian agreements in the capacity of guarantors.

"We prefer not to go into the details of the talks. We believe this would be not feasible and harmful for the negotiating process," he said.

Delegations’ talks

Earlier, the chief Russian delegate, presidential aide Vladimir Medinsky, said on his Telegram channel that Russian and Ukrainian delegations had agreed to meet face to face on March 29-30. Later, the office of the Turkish leader said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin had agreed the delegations would meet in Istanbul.

The first round of Russian-Ukrainian talks took place in the Gomel Region of Belarus on February 28. The first meeting lasted for five hours. Later the delegations met face-to-face twice and also held talks by video link.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 24 launched a special military operation in Ukraine following a request for assistance from the leaders of two Donbass republics. He has repeatedly stated that Moscow had no plans for an occupation of Ukraine, its sole purpose being the country’s demilitarization and denazification and struggle against nationalist armed militants directly responsible for genocide in Donbass.