Moscow welcomes written Ukrainian demands but says no sign of breakthrough

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov attends a joint news conference of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in Moscow, Russia February 18, 2022. Sputnik/Sergey Guneev/Kremlin via REUTERS

March 30 (Reuters) - The Kremlin on Wednesday welcomed the fact that Kyiv has set out its demands for an end to the conflict in Ukraine in written form, but said there was no sign of a breakthrough yet.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Russia had not noticed anything really promising or that looked like a breakthrough, and said there was a long period of work ahead.

Ukraine presented its demands when negotiators from the two sides met in Turkey on Tuesday before adjourning to consult with their capitals. read more

Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 in what it called a special operation to degrade its southern neighbour's military capabilities and root out people it says are dangerous nationalists.

Ukrainian forces have mounted stiff resistance and so far prevented Russia seizing any major city. read more

The Ukrainian negotiators said in Istanbul that they had proposed that Ukraine adopt neutral status in exchange for security guarantees, meaning that it would not join military alliances or host military bases for other countries.

The proposals, to come into force only in the event of a complete ceasefire, also included a 15-year consultation period on the status of the Crimean peninsula, which Moscow seized from Ukraine and annexed in 2014.

Peskov said the chief Russian negotiator in the peace talks would provide an update later on Wednesday - but that Crimea was part of Russia, and the Russian constitution precluded discussing the fate of any Russian region with anyone else.

He also said Russia wanted the substance of what was being discussed in the negotiations to remain private.

Russia said in Istanbul that it would sharply scale back military activity around Kyiv and the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv as a sign of goodwill.

Writing by Kevin Liffey

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