NEW YORK, May 23. /TASS/. Achieving a neutral status for Ukraine and assigning to it the status of a bridge between Russia and Europe "could still be conceived as an ultimate objective in the current situation," the United States’ former Secretary of State (1973-1977) and presidential national security advisor (1969-1975) Henry Kissinger said at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Monday.
"The ideal outcome would be if Ukraine could become situated as a neutral kind of state, as a bridge between Russia and Europe," Kissinger told the Davos forum by video link.
Kissinger said that he had stressed that back eight years ago, when the idea of Ukraine’s admission to NATO was mentioned for the first time. He said that Ukraine’s neutral status the way it was seen then was no longer achievable, but Ukraine’s neutrality must still be regarded as "an ultimate objective in the current situation."
The daily Repubblica last week said that Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio handed to the UN and partners in the G7 his proposals for a peace settlement in Ukraine, envisaging a ceasefire, a neutral status and a treaty on "disputed territories" and a common multilateral agreement on security guarantees in Europe. An Italian diplomatic source told TASS that this proposal was in the first phase of the discussion and might be used as a basis for negotiations.
Russian-Ukrainian talks have been in progress since February 28. Several rounds were held in Belarus. More discussions by video link followed. Another round of face-to-face negotiations took place in Istanbul on March 29. On April 12, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the media that Kiev had backtracked on the terms negotiated in Turkey, thus stalling the whole process. Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov on April 20 said that Moscow had handed to Kiev a clearly-worded draft agreement and was waiting for a reply.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 24 launched a special military operation in Ukraine following a request for assistance from the leaders of the two Donbass republics. He said that Moscow had no plans for an occupation of Ukrainian territories, its sole aim being the country’s demilitarization and denazification. The United States and its allies responded by introducing large-scale sanctions against Russia and stepping up weapons supplies to Kiev.