Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on March 28 that a new round of negotiations between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations could take place on Tuesday, March 29.
“Today, indeed, delegations are leaving for Turkey. We expect that tomorrow this (negotiations. – Ed.) can theoretically happen. So far, we cannot and will not talk about progress [in the negotiations]. The very fact that it was decided to continue the face-to-face talks is, of course, important. But for now, we continue to adhere to the policy of not disclosing any details related to the negotiations. We believe that this can only harm the negotiation process,” he said.
According to the press secretary of the President of the Russian Federation, the exchange of prisoners between Russia and Ukraine is not the subject of negotiations between the delegations.
At the same time, there is no progress yet on the topic of the meeting between the presidents of the Russian Federation and Ukraine, Vladimir Putin and Vladimir Zelensky, Peskov said. Also, the conversation between the Russian leader and the head of France, Emmanuel Macron, is not yet planned.
“Today or tomorrow, there is no [conversation with Macron] on the schedule yet, but, on the other hand, events are developing rapidly now, and he can appear at any moment,” the Kremlin spokesman said.
The day before, Presidents of Russia and Turkey Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to hold the next meeting of the Russian and Ukrainian delegations in Istanbul. On the same day, the head of the Russian delegation, Vladimir Medinsky, announced that the fourth round of negotiations would be held in person on March 29-30.
As Dmitry Belik, a member of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs, told Izvestia on March 25, it is very difficult to make any predictions about the negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, since the other side of the negotiation process is outside the generally accepted political framework and international norms. The deputy pointed out that instead of concrete steps, Kyiv is “waiting for instructions from across the ocean.”
The parties have already held three face-to-face meetings in Belarus. Negotiations between Russia and Ukraine against the backdrop of a special operation of the Russian Federation to protect Donbass started on February 28 in the Gomel region. Then they continued on March 3 and 7 in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Following the results of the third stage of negotiations, Medinsky noted that it was not possible to sign any documents. However, during one of the meetings, the diplomats agreed on the organization of humanitarian corridors.
In mid-February, due to the aggravation of the situation in the Donbass as a result of shelling by the Ukrainian military, the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics announced the evacuation of the civilian population to the Russian Federation and asked for recognition of independence.
On February 21, Vladimir Putin signed a corresponding decree. On February 24, Russia launched a special operation to protect the civilian population of Donbass. As the press secretary of the head of state Dmitry Peskov clarified, the special operation has two goals – the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine. According to him, both of these aspects pose a threat to the Russian state and people.