How did the negotiations between Ukraine and Russia go?

The second rows are the ones to deal with, while bombs are fired on the field. Kiev is asking for things that Moscow does not want to concede. Zelensky is once again asking for “immediate” membership of the European Union: this is not the best start

from our correspondent
KIEV – A quarter of an hour after the end of the talks in Chernobyl, the first declaration was made by the Russians: four gigantic explosions that redden the dark sky of Kiev, at 4.45 pm Italian time. The sixth night of the war is beginning with “one of those bombings that we will remember” (phrase of a diplomat who remained in Ukraine). AND missiles are enough to understand how the so-called Chernobyl negotiations are going: we talk to each other not to say much. In the Rumyantsev-Paskevich Residence in Gomel, the ancient palace made available by the Belarusians, the Russian and Ukrainian delegations sit almost without looking each other in the eye. As they enter, you understand that to treat are the second rows: Vladimir Putin has sent neither Serghej Lavrov, the foreign minister (perhaps) in disgrace, nor Serghej Shoighu, the minister of defense in great ascendancy among the advisors of the Kremlin. “We are not announcing our position”, Putinian spokesman Dmitry Peskov is delicate: “Negotiations must be held in silence, we leave the field to the negotiators …”.

The appearance is almost suave. “Here you can feel completely safe”, in the only corner of this part of the world, Vladimir Makei, the foreign minister of the dictator Aleksandr Lukashenko, makes the ceremony. The substance is far more bitter. And security does not last long, because the parties do not stop shooting at each other all day and even at the long table of the Residence accusations and wrongs never stop. The move by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to ask for “immediate” membership of the European Union today and precisely in this war is not the best start. And indeed the three rounds of talkshours of coffee and phone calls, seem to be resolved only in great silences.

Kiev is asking for two things that Moscow does not want to concede: the ceasefire (immediately) and the withdrawal of all Russian troops from its territory (immediately after). Moscow demands two spoils of war that Kiev does not even dream of touching: the recognition of Russian Crimea and the military neutrality of the Ukrainians. “I want you to stop the genocide of the Russians and denazify the whole of Ukraine” have always been the two public and impossible conditions imposed by Putin. But he too knows that there is a third one – demilitarization, or rather the removal of NATO from these borders – which is the real stake and, more than the others, is inadmissible. At half past six, the two delegations leave without almost saying goodbye. Each “to report” to whoever counts. But Putin already knows how it went. “The UN can intervene”, if he wants, his ambassador throws it there. And on Kiev the missiles start again.

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