Ukraine expects Russia to stay on diplomatic track for next two weeks

Ukraine expects Russia to stay on diplomatic track for next two weeks

January 27, 2022

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Russia is likely to remain on a diplomatic track with Ukraine and the West for at least two weeks following talks in Paris to de-escalate the situation, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Thursday.

“Nothing has changed, this is the bad news,” Kuleba said of the talks in Paris, where Moscow held security talks with diplomats from Ukraine, France and Germany on Wednesday.

“The good news is that advisers agreed to meet in Berlin in two weeks, which means that Russia for the next two weeks is likely to remain on the diplomatic track,” he said at a news briefing in Copenhagen, following a meeting with his Danish counterpart Jeppe Kofod.

The so-called “Normandy” talks in Paris were seen as a step toward defusing broader tensions in a separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine that risks becoming a full-scale war.

“Unfortunately, the biggest demand that Russia has is that Ukraine engages directly in talks with Russian proxies in Donetsk and Luhansk instead of negotiating with Russia. This will not happen, this is a matter of principle,” Kuleba said.

Donetsk and Luhansk are self-proclaimed republics in the Donbass in eastern Ukraine.

(Reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard, Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen and Stine Jacobsen; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Alison Williams)