Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Hope for a diplomatic end to the war in Ukraine

Representatives from both Ukraine and Russia have recently expressed optimism about progress made in potential peace talks after three weeks of war. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the two sides were “close to an agreement,” while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia’s demands were becoming “more realistic.” (https://news.yahoo.com/is-there-hope-for-a-diplomatic-end-to-the-war-in-ukraine-132738350.html) Their hopeful language stands in stark contrast to the situation on the ground, which has featured relentless Russian assaults on Ukrainian cities even as its ground troops have struggled to advance. Zelensky on Tuesday said Ukraine may be willing to drop its longstanding goal of becoming a full member of NATO, an apparent concession to one of Russia’s top demands. A Kremlin spokesperson said last week that the war could “be stopped in a moment” if Ukraine agreed to stay out of the military alliance, to acknowledge Crimea — the Black Sea peninsula that Russia invaded and annexed in 2014 — as official Russian territory, and also to recognize the independence of two Russian-backed breakaway republics in eastern Ukraine. For its part, Ukraine is seeking a ceasefire, the maintenance of its democratic government, the full withdrawal of Russian troops and security guarantees from Western allies.

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