“You need to meet not in the forest, but in one of the European capitals”

Vladimir Putin voiced Russia’s key demand for Ukraine – demilitarization. In the next two days, according to the office of Vladimir Zelensky, the start of the third round of negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv is expected in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized the Ukrainian president for his unconstructive position. In particular, Moscow did not like the statements about NATO’s inaction in the current situation. Kommersant FM political analyst Dmitry Drize believes that there are still chances to reach an agreement.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy made another appeal to the people and, in particular, stated that soon all the refugees who had left would be able to return home. Is there any hint in this? Probably, although it looks more like an attempt to support its citizens. And before that, the President of Ukraine lashed out at NATO: they are not only unable to close the sky, that is, to provide military assistance, but also politically unable to influence anything. The thesis of the head of state was repeated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba. According to him, NATO is not really any ideal, and today their position is not worthy of respect.

All these passages caused sharp discontent in Moscow. Sergei Lavrov said that Mr. Zelensky’s mood changes every day, and so he even decided to be rude to his main “curators”. And what is happening is a clear attempt to draw the army of the West into the conflict, which is completely counterproductive. Sergei Viktorovich also accused Kyiv of evading and unwillingness to properly negotiate: something is changing all the time, we are waiting, they do not answer, and so on.

From the foregoing, we can conclude that doing business with such partners is very difficult. Accordingly, it is obviously premature to talk about any breakthroughs in the negotiation process. As a result, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry repeated the demands of the Kremlin, they have not changed: denazification, recognition of Crimea and Donbas within the boundaries of the regions. So no hint of compromise.

It should be recalled that literally the day before the members of the Ukrainian delegation spoke in a rather positive way. They said that the dialogue is going quite normally, the participants hear each other’s position. And all this gave rise to a small amount of optimism. What is important to pay attention to here? The Russian side looks at the regime in Kyiv as a sort of mischievous children who do not understand anything, who do not care about the opinion of their elders. It is clear that children are sometimes annoying, and they are explicitly hinted at. Respect must be expressed at least – that’s how it can be interpreted.

However, the words of both Kuleba and Zelensky can be interpreted in another way – they began preparing Ukrainian public opinion for the country’s written refusal to join NATO. Like, this is not an end in itself, especially since you can see that this organization is outdated, bureaucratic and inefficient. It needs to be reformed.

If we talk about the negotiations – those that are taking place in Belovezhskaya Pushcha – these, as was said earlier, are more technical consultations than a serious format. In order to get things off the ground, the mediation of authoritative international organizations, such as the UN and the OSCE, is necessary. Where are they all? And you need to meet not somewhere in the forest, but, say, in one of the European capitals – in Geneva, for example. Then it will be just negotiations, and not “met and talked about this and that.”

Meanwhile, it may seem that Sergei Viktorovich speaks exclusively from tough positions. And so Vladimir Putin voiced the main demand for the Ukrainian side – demilitarization. Everything else, apparently, is discussed and, if desired, is taken out of the brackets. So there is no hope.

Read the opinions of political observer Dmitry Drize – exclusively on the Kommersant FM Telegram channel.

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