Moscow ‘gradually reducing’ its demands, Ukrainian official claims
Russia has “gradually reduced its demands” since the beginning of negotiations with Kiev, Ukrainian presidential adviser Alexey Arestovich said on Friday.
During the second round of talks, held in Belarus on Thursday, amid Russia’s ongoing offensive in Ukraine, Moscow and Kiev reached an agreement on the establishment of humanitarian corridors.
Speaking to the news outlet Ukraine 24, Arestovich said Russian negotiators were “gradually reducing their requirements,” and pointed to a remark allegedly made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
“If we look closely at it, we see they have stopped talking about denazification,” Arestovich said, adding that even the issue of a neutral status for Ukraine had not been raised. “It was a question of preventing the deployment of certain types of offensive weapons in Ukraine that was discussed,” he said.
It was not clear, however, which of Lavrov’s remarks Arestovich was referencing. On Thursday, the minister gave an interview to foreign media, and stressed that “denazification” was one of Moscow’s key goals in Ukraine.
Arestovich’s version of the matter has been refuted by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. Responding to a journalist’s request to clarify whether Russia had rejected the idea of Ukraine’s “denazification,” Peskov said: “No, it’s not the case.”
“Demilitarizing” and “denazifying” Ukraine were the stated goals of the military attack launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 24. The West has condemned the offensive and imposed a raft of strict new sanctions on Moscow in response.