Amid ongoing talks to end the conflict in Ukraine, the Russian foreign minister said on Wednesday the two sides were close to agreeing on parts of a possible peace deal.
Sergei Lavrov said the issue of Kyiv’s neutral status was being taken “seriously”.
In an interview with RBC news, Lavrov said that “the neutral regime is being seriously considered, along, of course, with security guarantees.”
“Now this is exactly what is being discussed in the negotiations – there are very specific positions that, in my view, are close to being agreed,” Lavrov said.
The creation of a demilitarized Ukraine, with a smaller army, according to the Kremlin, could be seen as an acceptable compromise.
Later the same day, Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to the Ukrainian President, stated that the neutrality of Ukraine could be agreed only on Ukrainian terms. He clarified that Ukraine can only proceed to an agreement with “legally certified security guarantees”, adding that the signatory states must be legally bound to defend Ukraine.