Ukraine has demonstrated a willingness to meet basic Russian objectives according to Russia’s main negotiator.
He did say, though, that Moscow’s stance on the Donbass and occupied Crimea is unchanged according to Reuters. This is a big sticking issue for Ukraine, which insists on maintaining its territorial integrity at all costs.
Vladimir Medinsky said on Russian television that Ukraine has written a letter stating that it was willing to give up its objective of joining NATO, embrace “non-bloc” status, renounce nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, and agree not to host foreign troops or military bases on its soil.
According to Reuters, Medinsky also stated that Ukraine has committed not to conduct military drills with foreign militaries unless agreed upon with state guarantors such as Russia.
“Ukraine has declared its readiness to fulfill those fundamental requirements that Russia has been insisting on over the past years. If these obligations are met, then the threat of creating a NATO bridgehead on Ukrainian territory will be eliminated,” Medinsky said.
He added “This is the essence, meaning and importance of the document preliminarily agreed upon at a … high level by Ukraine. However, work continues, negotiations continue.”
Medinsky was speaking a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to reduce military operations near Kyiv and Chernihiv in northern Ukraine to build trust, a pledge that attracted skepticism from Kyiv and Western nations.
He indicated that Russia will not budge on its demand that Ukraine acknowledge the loss of Crimea, which it annexed in 2014, as well as the independence of the Donbas region’s two self-proclaimed breakaway states.
“I want to emphasize separately that our country’s position on principle regarding Crimea and Donbas remains unchanged,” Medinsky said.
One month after the invasion, Russia is now the most sanctioned country in the world. Freezing central bank reserves and kicking some banks out of the international payments system has battered the ruble and caused the country to teeter on the verge of a default.
Overall, the U.S. has frozen the assets of 852 people, the European Union 775 and the U.K. 982. But many of those sanctions do not overlap. While almost 550 people have been sanctioned by both the U.K. and EU, common ground with in the U.S. is more elusive.
The economic damage from the war in Ukraine is worsening across Europe as already-record inflation soars further and Germany faces a danger of recession because of its dependence on Russian energy.
Russia’s Putin said last week that “unfriendly” nations would be asked to pay for their natural gas in rubles — causing a spike in European gas prices.
Germany has some advice for Russian President Vladimir Putin: think about the consequences of asking for energy payments in rubles.