Negotiation in Chernobyl but Putin summons the bomb

Of Francesco Battistini

Agreement for talks today near the central sarcophagus with Belarusian dictator Lukashenko as “mediator”. Ukrainians: “We will not give up a millimeter of land”

FROM OUR REPORTER KIEV They evoke nuclear catastrophe and then meet near the reliquary of the greatest atomic disaster. On the day of Moscow’s worst ballistic threats – Vladimir Putin puts Russia’s atomic defense system on alert -, Ukraine and Russia could not choose therespookier place, to try to get out of the quagmire of war: in the largest swamp in Europe, the Polesia; along the river with the most radioactive sludge, the Pripyat; not far from the most contaminated of names, Chernobyl. After a very confidential negotiation that began on Saturday morningafter the unsuccessful meetings of the two separate and nationalist Orthodox Churches, after the mediation polls conducted by the Vatican, Israel and Turkey, today we try it here, almost on the northern border. Volodymyr Zelensky did not want to enter Belarus
: he always thought that the agreements signed in Minsk in 2014-2015, too biased in favor of the Russians, had been a mistake precisely because they were signed in that facsimile of Russia which is the dictatorship of Aleksandr Lukashenko. The Ukrainian president resisted until after 1pm on Sunday, challenging Putin’s ultimatum. He proposed Warsaw, Istanbul, Vienna, NATO offices. He asked for Baku, but there was no time. Eventually, he said yes to Chernobyl.

Very narrow street

Hope not to shoot. The choice of location seems to be the only Ukrainian concession at the moment. P.because nobody wants to give up anything after four days of war. And on the table of this desperate negotiation – prepared by a not at all impartial referee, Lukashenko – there can only be a kind of ceasefire. Something to help Ukraine evacuate the evacuates. Something that is needed by Russia to pretend to stop, magnanimous, on the doorstep of the encircled cities. “We will never give up an inch of our land,” warns the foreign minister of Kiev, Dmytro Kuleba. Putin responds in his own way: on the one hand, he orders the Defense Officer and the Chief of the Armed Forces, Minister Sergei Shoigu and General Valery Gerasimov, to “transfer the deterrent forces of the Russian army to a special mode of combat service. “(From the Cremlinian: bring me the nuclear briefcases here), on the other hand he shows himself” ready to negotiate “: on what? Kuleba says that “Peace can come from these talks, not surrender”. The one is unlikely, the other very unlikely. “The Russians will ask Kiev to lay down their arms,” ​​speculates a European diplomat: request already rejected. These talks are inevitable, however, as Lukashenko threatens. First he feared: «We will host nuclear weapons, if Poland and Lithuania do the same». Then foreseeing: “Swift sanctions will push Russia into nuclear war, and nuclear war is the end of it all.” Little Putin from Minsk disguises himself as a guarantor, assures the Ukrainians that during the negotiation – “and also during the delegation’s journey, on the way back to Kiev” – an airplane, a helicopter, a missile will not get off the ground.

The delegations

The guns on the table before I speak. Lhe Ukrainian team will be led by Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, but for security reasons it will take “a few hours” to arrive. The Russian one, already in Minsk, will be headed by the Putinian councilor Vladimir Medinsky, son of a fireman who sacrificed himself in Chernobyl, together with two deputy ministers of foreign affairs and defense, a head of the Moscow Duma and the ambassador to Belarus. It is to the Belarusians, the Kremlin askari and now the arm of the negotiation, that Zelensky addresses, while they carry the olive tree in one hand and the machine gun in the other: «Make the right choice – he says in Russian, to make himself understood better -. The Russians are firing rockets from your territory. How can you do this and look your children in the eye? We are your neighbors, we are the Ukrainians ».

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