Zelensky-Putin meeting ‘with high probability’ to be held in Turkey
Ukrainian and Russian leaders “with a high degree of probability” will meet in Turkey, the head of the Ukrainian delegation at the talks, David Arakhamia, said during a telethon on Kiev-based television on April 2.
Arakhamia told local television channels that Russia had “verbally” accepted most of Kiev’s proposals in peace talks, except on the issue of Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014.
Among the agreed-upon points was that a referendum on Ukraine’s neutral status “will be the only way out of this situation,” Arakhamia said.
However, Russia’s top negotiator in talks with Ukraine said on April 3 that it was too early to talk about a meeting between the two countries’ presidents.
Vladimir Medinsky, who led the Russian delegation during the talks in Istanbul, said “there is still a lot of work to do” to finalize a draft agreement before Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky could meet.
Medinsky reaffirmed that the parties reached a tentative agreement on the need for Ukraine to adopt a neutral status and refrain from holding foreign military bases in exchange for international security guarantees.
Asked about Arakhamia’s claim that Moscow’s negotiators had informally agreed to most proposals by Ukraine during the talks in Istanbul and the two presidents could discuss the draft deal, Medinsky said he doesn’t share Arakhamia’s optimism.
Erdoğan reiterated his offer to host a meeting between the two leaders in a phone call with his Russian counterpart on April 1.
Erdoğan’s office said the Turkish leader told Putin that the Istanbul talks had “raised hopes for peace.”
The president said Turkey wanted to cap off those efforts by bringing Putin and Zelensky together, according to the statement.