For the first time since Russia launched a military operation in late February, Ukraine’s army announced that it had regained control of the entire area around Kiev.
Since Russia gradually withdrew its forces from the area last week, the Ukrainian army has regained control of more than 30 towns and villages around Kiev, according to Okeksiy Arestovych, the President of Ukraine’s adviser. “Irpin, Bucha, Hostomel, and the entire Kiev region have been liberated,” said Hanna Malyar, Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister, on Facebook.
Russia has not yet commented on this Ukrainian statement.
The announcement came shortly after Russia announced that the first phase of its military operation in Ukraine had been completed, and that it would now turn its attention to “liberating” the separatist Donbass region in eastern Ukraine. Russia has gradually withdrawn its forces around Kiev and areas in northern Ukraine in recent days, according to Ukraine and its Western allies, focusing on the eastern region.
Negotiations are moving in the right direction.
On the same day, David Arakhamia, a member of Ukraine’s negotiating team, stated that the Russian side tends to react positively to Kiev’s position on a number of issues, and that an early meeting between President Volodymyr Zelensky and President Vladimir Putin is not ruled out.
“At the Istanbul talks, we stated Ukraine’s position (Turkey). With the exception of the Crimean peninsula, Russia’s official response to all of these proposals was positive, with the exception of the related issue “According to Arakhamia.
Ukraine outlined a roadmap for a peace treaty with Russia during direct talks between the two delegations in Turkey, including a proposal that Ukraine become a neutral country with commitments to Russia. Third-party security guarantees are required. Kiev also proposed a 15-year consultation period on Crimea’s status, which Russia annexed in 2014. Moscow has rejected Kiev’s proposal, citing a problem. The issue of Crimea is unavoidable. However, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, stated that Russia has yet to receive a written response to the Crimea issue.
Mr. Arakhamia expressed his views on the possibility of a meeting between the two countries’ heads of state: “Direct consultations between Ukraine’s President and Russia’s President are only possible with a draught agreement. As a result, we now have a task to complete. Not only for these documents, but also for the possibility of a meeting between the two heads of state, I am working hard to complete the final stage as quickly as possible.” Turkey is willing to promote and host such a meeting in the near future, according to the official.