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Thursday, 31 March 2022

24 hours is a long time in politics

Competing narratives have emerged from the ongoing Russia-Ukraine peace talks: Russian and Ukrainian negotiators made “substantial progress” in peace talks in Istanbul, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told state media, the Financial Times reported yesterday. Ukraine’s non-nuclear, neutral status was confirmed during the talks, and that the issues of Crimea and the Donbas — two Ukrainian regions where Russia has annexed territory — have been “settled for good,” he said.

Ukrainian officials had a different interpretation of the talks: Kyiv officials denied that any progress had been made in the issue of territory, with a foreign ministry spokesperson saying that Kyiv is only willing to discuss the future of Crimea and the Donbas once Russia has handed the territories back to them.

Russia continued to bomb Ukrainian cities, despite a pledge to de-escalate: Ukrainian officials accused Moscow of lying during Tuesday’s peace talks and said that shelling continued all through the night. The Kremlin had said it would withdraw troops and scale back attacks on the Ukrainian capital and the northern city of Chernihiv to “increase mutual trust” during the negotiations, but reports yesterday suggested that shelling continued in the region.

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