Ukraine Update, March 29

On Tuesday, three hours of talks between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators in Istanbul ended — more talks to follow.

According to Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister General Alexander Fomin:

“Due to the fact that the negotiations on elaborating a treaty on Ukraine’s neutrality and nuclear-free status, as well as on providing Ukraine with security guarantees are shifting to the practical field, and taking into account the principles discussed during today’s meeting, the Russian Defense Ministry has decided to decrease its military activity in the areas of Kiev and Chernigov drastically in order to increase mutual trust and create conditions required for further negotiations and for achieving the ultimate goal of reaching an agreement on and signing of the aforementioned treaty.”

“We assume that the relevant main decisions will be taken in Kiev and conditions for further normal work should be created.”

Fomin added that Russia’s Defense Ministry will provide more detailed information after talks conclude on Wednesday and its delegation returns to Moscow.

He stressed the need for Kiev to strictly comply with the letter and spirit of the Geneva Conventions — especially “with regard to the humane treatment of prisoners of war.”

Head of Russia’s delegation Vladimir Medinsky said two steps are being taken to deescalate the ongoing conflict — one military, the other political.

Key issues discussed included the following:

Ukraine to become a neutral state.

It won’t seek to possess nukes.

It seeks internationally guaranteed independence.

Kiev will abandon pursuit of annexing Donbass and Crimea by military means.

No foreign forces will be permitted in its territory. Nor will military drills be held.

Moscow does not oppose the idea of Ukraine becoming an EU member state.

Kiev requested that an agreement with Russia be signed by their heads of state.

Russia “received written proposals from Ukraine, confirming (its) readiness for a neutral, non-aligned and non-nuclear status, along with a refusal to produce and deploy all types of weapons of mass destruction, including chemical and bacteriological ones, and a ban on the presence of foreign military bases and foreign troops on the territory of the country.”

After Russian delegates return to Moscow and issues discussed are reviewed, the Kremlin will issue a formal response.

Medinsky explained a proposed format ahead as follows, saying:

“(F)irst, a treaty is prepared.”

“Then (it’s to be) approved by the negotiators, endorsed by the foreign ministers (of Russia and Ukraine).”

If the above is satisfactorily completed, a possible meeting between Vladimir Putin and Zelensky may follow. 

Medinsky also stressed the following:

Deescalation in Kiev and Chernigov does not include a ceasefire agreement.

Russia’s demilitarization and deNazification of Ukraine continues as planned.

Moscow will prepare and deliver counter-proposals to Kiev.

There’s no ambiguity about US control over the puppet Zelensky regime.

Nor that it reneged on what was agreed on during previous negotiations, notably on humanitarian corridors.

On all things related to US-dominated NATO and Kiev, nothing their regimes say or agree on can be accepted at face value.

Russia knows well that it was betrayed time and again before.

The chance of betrayal on what’s agreed on with Ukraine cannot be ignored.

Separately on Tuesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said the following:

“We’re monitoring statements by leaders of certain NATO countries on their intention to supply planes and air defense systems to Ukraine.”

“In case of their implementation, we’ll respond appropriately.”

Russia’s military will target them for elimination.

“We view the stance of the West, which supplies lethal weapons to Ukraine, as irresponsible.” 

“The uncontrollable arming of the population and mercenaries is exacerbating the situation and may eventually create a threat to Europeans themselves.”

“Over 500 mercenaries have left the country and about 600 others have been eliminated over the past two weeks.”

Addressing Russia’s military progress in Ukraine to date, Shoigu explained that “main targets of the first stage of this operation have been reached.”

“The combat potential of the Ukrainian Armed Forces has been significantly depleted.”

This “allows us to concentrate attention and our main efforts on the achievement of the primary objective, i.e. the liberation of Donbas.”

“The Ukrainian Armed Forces suffered considerable damage.”

Russian “air superiority has been achieved.” 

Ukraine’s “air force and air defense network have been practically destroyed.”

“As many as 123 out of 152 planes operated by the Ukrainian armed forces at the beginning of the operation have been destroyed, as well as 77 out of 149 helicopters, and 152 out of 180 long- and intermediate-range air defense missile systems.”

“The country’s navy is now gone.”

“All ground and air assault formations sustained considerable casualties.”

The special military operation in Ukraine will continue until Russia’s objectives are achieved — mainly the demilitarization and deNazification of the country.

Russian troops are actively helping Donetsk and Lugansk restore peace and pre-war normality.

“We are actively providing humanitarian assistance to the population of the LPR and the DPR, and obviously, of Ukraine,” said Shoigu. 

“As many as 684 humanitarian operations have been completed, and 6,079 tons of cargo have been supplied to 210 populated localities.”

Separately on Tuesday, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov slammed US/Western MSM fake news about “forcibly transporting” Mariupol residents to Russia, stressing:

These “reports are lies.” No one was involuntarily taken cross-border to Russia.

Russian forces have gone all-out to protect the safety and rights of noncombatants in Donbass and Ukraine.

Moscow also demanded that Kiev release “our citizens” — four Russian employees of a Rosatom subsidiary who’ve been forcibly detained in Ukraine for over a month.

As for talks in Istanbul, it remains to be seen whether Kiev sticks to what was agreed on.

Things may very well turn out the other way around ahead.

Read further at Stephen Lendman

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