Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on February 25 that he was ready to sit down for talks with Russia in order to debate Ukrainian neutral status. The same day, Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesman, told reporters that Moscow was ready to hold such talks in Minsk, Belarus. Russian team was composed of deputies of ministers from MFA, MoD and Presidential Administration
In anticipation of these talks President Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian troops to halt their advance on February 25, awaiting a response from Kiev.
The Ukrainian side offered to move the meeting to Warsaw, Poland, instead of Minsk, and then suddenly stopped responding to Moscow’s reply.
Russia has resumed the military operation February 26 in Ukraine after Kiev refused to negotiate.
There are four major reasons for recalling Kiev’s negotiations offer.
First, massive NATO military and political support for Kiev announced before and after Zelensky’s offer to start a neutral status talks. Biden has ordered to deploy extra U.S. troops in Europe and additional funds to Kiev for “urgent military aid”.
Second, lack of agreement between Zelensky’s advisers and the White House on the mandate and scope of such talks.
Third, intention of Kiev to continue shelling Donbass with heavy weapons prohibited by the Minsk accord. In Donbass during last 24 hours 7 civilians have been killed and 15 wounded. Zelensky also began shelling Russian territory, in undisputable Rostov Region. Such Ukrainian attacks are still taking place.
Fourth, blocking of civil aviation air traffic routs by seven NATO countries (by 18:00 Moscow time: the UK, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland and the Czech Republic) and proclaiming a trade war at sea by France that illegally detained Russian cargo ship “Baltic Liner” delivering passenger cars to St. Petersburg
Are these air-traffic war and trade war at sea directly needed to de-escalate a dramatic standoff in Ukraine?
Russia has the right to respond. Or it does not have such right?
Written by Vladimir P. Kozin