Direct negotiations between the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy would be “counterproductive,” the Russian Foreign Minister said on Monday, as delegations have been ready for Turkey-hosted talks on Moscow’s military operation.
Following President Zelenskyy’s call for meeting with his Russian counterpart, Russian Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said, “Putin has never refused to meet with President Zelenskyy. The only thing he considers fundamentally important is for those meetings to be well prepared.”
Meanwhile, Lavrov said the current crisis has “been drawing so long, all these years, that a huge number of problems have built up, therefore just meeting and exchanging views on what you think, that would just be counterproductive now.”
President Putin and President Zelenskyy have only met once during talks in Paris in 2019. As the nations are set to resume in-person peace talks in Istanbul, Lavrov said Moscow maintains its demands for demilitarization and “denazification” in Ukraine.
Putin has named these as Moscow’s military goals, and for Ukraine to have neutral status.
Lavrov added, “Both the demilitarization and the denazification of Ukraine are an important component of the agreements that we are trying to achieve.”
The Minister said, “We have an interest in these talks ending with the result that will achieve the fundamental aims for us.”
He named the primary goal as “ending the killing in the Donbas region that has lasted eight years,” referring to eastern Ukraine.
He said that, “Russia wanted Ukraine to stop assimilating itself with the West, with NATO, in the military sense. Ukraine must stop being a nation that is continually being militarized and where they try to deploy offensive weapons threatening Russia.”
The Minister also called for an end to “attempts to encourage Nazi ideology and practices.”