26 Apr 2022 21:04

Ukraine can't be provided with security guarantees without resolving issue of Crimea, Donbas - Putin

MOSCOW. April 26 (Interfax) - Russia cannot sign security guarantees for Ukraine without resolving the territorial issue of Crimea and Donbas, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

"We managed to achieve quite a serious breakthrough at the Istanbul talks because our Ukrainian colleagues did not link Ukraine's international security requirements to a notion such as Ukraine's internationally recognized borders, leaving Crimea, Sevastopol and the Donbas republics recognized by Russia with certain reservations behind the brackets [of talks]," Putin said at a meeting with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday.

Unfortunately, after these agreements were reached, Russia faced a provocation in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, which "the Russian army has nothing to do with," he said.

"We know who did it. And the position of our negotiators from Ukraine on further settlement changed dramatically after that. They stepped back from their previous intentions to leave [the issue] of the territories of Crimea, Sevastopol, and the Donbas republics behind the brackets of the issues of security guarantees. They simply abandoned it. And in their draft agreement on this matter, which was presented to us, they simply pointed out in two articles that these issues should be resolved at a meeting of the heads of state," Putin said.

"It is clear to us that if we refer these issues to the level of the heads of state without resolving them beforehand, at least as part of the draft agreement, they will never be resolved. In this case, we simply cannot sign under security guarantees without having resolved the territorial issue of Crimea, Sevastopol, and the Donbas republics," the Russian president said.

However, negotiations are underway, and they are now taking place in an online format, the Russian president noted.

"I hope that this will bring a certain positive result for us after all," Putin said.