President Vladimir Putin called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday afternoon to lay out Russia’s specific objectives for a peace accord with Ukraine.
One of the individuals who listened in on the phone was Ibrahim Kalin, Mr Erdogan’s adviser and spokesperson.
According to Mr Kalin, Russian requests are divided into two groups. Mr Kalin further stated, the first four conditions are not too tough for Ukraine to satisfy.
One of the most important is Ukraine’s understanding that it should remain neutral and not apply to join NATO. President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has already admitted to this.
In Ukraine, the Russian language would have to be protected. There’s also a concept known as “de-Nazification.”
Perhaps condemning all kinds of neo-Nazism and promising to crack down on them shouldn’t be too much for Ukraine.
Ukraine’s Zelensky, who is Jewish and has family who perished in the Holocaust, finds this highly insulting, but the Turkish side believes Mr Zelensky can easily accept it.
The second category is where the difficulties will arise, and Mr Putin stated in his phone call that agreement on these topics would need face-to-face discussions between him and President Zelensky.
Mr. Zelensky has stated that he is willing to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and engage in one-on-one negotiations with him.
Mr Kalin was far less precise about these concerns, merely stating that they concerned the status of Donbas, in eastern Ukraine, where portions of the region had already split away from Ukraine and emphasized their Russianness, and the status of Crimea.
Even if a truce pauses the carnage in the moment, negotiating a peace accord might take a long time.
Ukraine has suffered horribly in recent weeks, and reconstructing the towns and cities that Russia has wrecked and destroyed, as well as rehousing the millions of refugees who have abandoned their homes, will take a long time.
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However, Ukraine will have severe concerns, since Putin could perhaps use them as a pretext to invade again.
Given his stranglehold on the Russian media, Putin and his acolytes should have no trouble portraying this as a significant win.
Even still, President Putin’s demands do not appear to be as severe as some had anticipated, and they do not appear to be worth all of Russia’s aggression, bloodshed, and damage in Ukraine.