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31 Mar, 2022 15:22

Both Russia and Ukraine want Italy as ‘guarantor’ in peace deal – PM

Mario Draghi says the sides have “come a little closer” during the talks
Both Russia and Ukraine want Italy as ‘guarantor’ in peace deal – PM

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Thursday that his country was offered to serve as a guarantor of the prospective peace deal between Russia and Ukraine. This week, the parties held another round of talks in Istanbul, Turkey, to end Moscow’s military campaign in the neighboring country. 

Italy has been “requested by Russia and Ukraine to become a guarantor of the implementation of negotiations terms,” Draghi told reporters at a press conference in Rome. 

“In fact, the positions of the sides have come a little closer,” the prime minister said, but added that he was “cautious because there is still a lot of skepticism.” 

“We all wish to see a glimmer of light,” Draghi said. He told Russian President Vladimir Putin over the phone on Wednesday that his country was ready to contribute to the peace process, according to the Italian government. 

Ukrainian negotiators proposed in Istanbul that Ukraine become a non-aligned country in exchange for legally binding security guarantees. Russia repeatedly named Ukraine’s aspirations to join NATO as one of the reasons for the military campaign Moscow launched against the neighboring state last month. 

Moscow attacked Ukraine following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements signed in 2014, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics in Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered protocols had been designed to regularize the status of those regions within the Ukrainian state. 

Kiev says the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.