Blinken skeptical of latest Russia, Ukraine talks
Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed skepticism Tuesday about the most recent face-to-face talks between Russia and Ukraine, which have prompted some hope of progress toward a peace deal.
“I would leave it to our Ukrainian partners to characterize whether there is any genuine progress and whether Russia is engaging meaningfully,” Blinken told reporters, according to CBS News.
“What I can say is this: There is what Russia says, and there is what Russia does. We’re focused on the latter. And what Russia is doing is the continued brutalization of Ukraine and its people. And that continues as we speak.”
Negotiators from Ukraine and Russia held their first face-to-face talks in two weeks on Tuesday in Turkey to discuss a possible cease-fire as well as Ukraine security guarantees.
Vladimir Medinsky, Russia’s top negotiator, said Ukraine presented “a clearly formulated position from Ukraine.” He also added that “the possibility of making peace will become closer,” the news outlet noted.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky earlier this week opened the door to Ukraine taking a neutral geopolitical stance as part of a peace deal, but also said that it would not cede territory, another Russian demand.
Russia said on Tuesday that it would “drastically reduce” troop deployments around the cities of Kyiv and Chernihiv, which Blinken was also asked about by reporters, The Washington Post reported.
“I can’t tell you whether these statements reflect a reorientation on eastern and southern Ukraine or whether this is a means by which Russia is trying to deflect and deceive,” he said.
He also theorized that the negotiations could be an opportunity for Russia to regroup its military forces, according to the Post.
“If they somehow believe that an effort to subjugate only the eastern part of Ukraine and the southern part of Ukraine can succeed, then once again they are profoundly fooling themselves,” he said.
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