Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Hungarian counterpart Peter Szijjarto will hold talks in Moscow today to discuss, among
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Hungarian counterpart Peter Szijjarto will hold talks in Moscow today to discuss, among other topics, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
Last Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s Chief of Staff Andriy Yermak announced that Kiev would officially enter into direct negotiations with Russian-led militants for the first time. The move marks a drastic shift in the Ukrainian government’s established policy of negotiating only with Moscow on the status of the contested eastern Ukrainian province.
A number of additional signs are indicating that Kiev is on track to establishing formal negotiating relations with the Russia-backed separatists in Donbas. In a March 11 document signed by representatives of Ukraine, Russia and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the parties agreed to, among other things, establish an Advisory Council, which will include 10 representatives from the Russia-led militants.
After six years of fighting, 13,000 deaths, and 1.5 million displaced people, today’s meeting could be an indicator that a diplomatic settlement of the Donbas conflict draws closer, with a possible paper agreement signed as soon as the next few months. Such a settlement is increasingly looking likely to see a degree of autonomy awarded to the separatists, despite previous condemnations from Kiev, the US, and the EU regarding the legitimacy of the Russia-backed rebel movement.
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