The Kremlin announced the approval of the Russian President, Vladimir Putinto hold negotiations with Zelensky after the latter expressed his willingness to discuss Kyiv’s neutrality.
The first day’s round of negotiations between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations ended in IstanbulOn Tuesday, while Moscow announced its intention to reduce its military activity in the areas near Kyiv, following talks that the Russian delegation described as “useful”.
The most prominent difficulties
President Zelensky had expressed his readiness to discuss Ukraine’s neutral status, confirming his statements on March 15, in which he said, “It must be recognized that Ukraine will not be able to join NATO.”
The Ukrainian president said that his country was ready to discuss adopting a neutral situation in the framework of a peace agreement with Russia, but with conditions.
Zelensky added, in a video interview with Russian media, on Sunday, that his country is ready to discuss adopting a neutral situation within the framework of a peace agreement with Russia, provided that it is guaranteed by third parties and is subject to a referendum, in an announcement that was interpreted as a waiver of the plan to join the alliance. , and considered part of the Ukrainian people unacceptable.
Zelensky explained his position, saying: “We have heard for years that the doors are open, but we have also heard that we cannot join, this is the truth and we must admit it.”
He added: “We are ready to accept that and the negotiations discuss security guarantees and neutrality, and that our country be free of nuclear weapons,” which is one of Moscow’s demands.
constitution with NATO
The issue of Ukraine’s neutrality faces a constitutional and legal obstacle. The Ukrainian constitution stipulates that the country aspires to join NATO, which cannot be modified under the current military law, or even during a state of emergency due to the ongoing war.
It also requires approval in two parliamentary sessions by 300 votes out of 450, and ratification by the Ukrainian Constitutional Court, which may not be possible during the war.
Olga Avazovska, director of the Ukrainian NGO Opora, which specializes in elections and referendums, says that statements about NATO are “theoretical, not practical solutions.”
“Ukraine is not a candidate to join NATO, does not have a membership action plan, and Zelensky’s statements have no legal value, contrary to the constitution,” she adds.
“The Ukrainian president talks about the content of the ongoing talks and Russias demands,” she said, according to Agence France-Presse.
She asserts that “referendums, like elections, cannot be organized during the war, but they can be held after the end of that heated phase.”
For his part, Russian expert Muhammad Abu al-Nour says that “Ukraine’s neutrality is a good formula to avoid the effects of that war, and it is a logical proposal and a practical way out of the crisis, and one of the legitimate Russian demands.”
He added to “Sky News Arabia”, that: “This clause exists in many countries and is in force, such as Austria, Switzerland and Finland, and this scenario may protect Kyiv from turning into a neutral and demilitarized state, influence conflicts and traditional interests between world powers.”
As for the Ukrainian political researcher Volodymyr Fesenko, he says that “neutrality needs to gather 300 parliamentary votes, which is a difficult issue in light of the current war.”
The Russian-Ukrainian war has entered its fifth week, triggering a severe international crisis and fears of a third world war between Russia and NATO.
The Russian Kremlin says Ukraine’s neutrality, along the lines of Sweden or Austria, is the compromise, which Russian and Ukrainian negotiators are currently discussing.
“It is the option that is currently being discussed and which can be considered a settlement,” Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
However, the Ukrainian presidency announced its refusal for Kyiv to be neutral, like Stockholm or Vienna, demanding “absolute security guarantees” in the face of Russia.
Researcher and political analyst, Muhammad Kalash, says, “The issue of Ukraine’s neutrality is linked to security guarantees. Ukraine puts this forward alongside the security guarantees condition, and therefore it wants guarantees from the West and specifically from NATO, something that Russia categorically rejects.”
He added to the “Sky News Arabia” website that the Ukrainian president might change his opinion on the format, but keep the content of the negotiations as it is, i.e. security guarantees before neutrality, and he also wants to reassure Russia that Kyiv may accept to become a neutral country.
Political analyst Mykola Davyduk says that “Ukrainians want to join NATO, but if countries like Britain, France and the United States guarantee Ukraine’s membership in the European Union and offer a financial plan for its reconstruction, the NATO debate may be forgotten for a while.”