Russia Says Cutting Some Military Ops in Ukraine ‘De-Escalation’
Russia said it was taking steps to “de-escalate” the conflict in Ukraine, pledging to cut back military operations near Kyiv and Chernihiv and holding out the prospect of a meeting between Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy to seal a possible peace deal.
The Russian moves were announced in televised comments by two of Moscow’s negotiators after peace talks held Tuesday in Istanbul. Shortly before their comments, Ukrainian negotiators said no deal had yet been reached but outlined proposals they said they made at the talks.
Vladimir Medinsky, Russia’s chief negotiator, said the talks were “constructive” and the Ukrainian offer would be transmitted to Putin promptly for a response. Russia is willing to consider a presidential meeting at the same time as foreign ministers meet to initial a preliminary deal, he said. Kyiv has long sought direct talks, while Moscow had resisted committing to Putin’s participation.
Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin said the “sharp reduction” in military operations in the Kyiv and Chernihiv areas would take place immediately, with the understanding that Ukrainian forces would reciprocate.
Russian officials last week said they were shifting their military operations to focus on the Donbas region in the east.
Ukraine’s General Staff said earlier Tuesday that some Russian units were withdrawing from the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions after their offensive there stalled. Ukraine on Monday recaptured the Kyiv region town of Irpin and was regaining control of occupied territory, Zelenskiy said in his daily video address.
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