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Ukraine and Russia wrap up face-to-face talks in Turkey

Turkey Russia Ukraine War
Posted at 7:28 AM, Mar 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-29 08:32:01-04

The first face-to-face talks in two weeks between Russia and Ukraine ended Tuesday in Turkey, with Russia making new promises.

Russia’s deputy defense minister said that Moscow has decided to “fundamentally ... cut back” operations near the capital and another major city to “increase mutual trust.”

Alexander Fomin said Russian forces would cut back “military activity in the direction of Kyiv and Chernihiv.”

Fomin’s statement comes Tuesday after another round of talks Russia and Ukraine held in Istanbul and appears to be the first major concession the Russians made since the beginning of their invasion in Ukraine more than a month ago.

The Ukrainian general staff of the military said earlier it had noted withdrawals around Kyiv and Chernihiv.

Negotiator Vladimir Medinsky was also in Istanbul to delegate for Russia.

Reuters reports that sanctioned oligarch, Roman Abramovich was also in attendance.

David Arkhamia, who is an adviser to Volodymyr Zelenskyy, led Ukraine’s delegation.

Another adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, said there were "intensive consultations" on several issues during the meeting, including international security guarantees for Ukraine and the issue of ceasefire.

Before the talks began, Zelenskyy said his country was prepared to declare its neutrality and is open to compromise over the contested eastern region of Donbas.

But he warned the “ruthless war” continued.

Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed optimism over the meeting, saying it is possible both countries will reach an agreement that addresses their concerns.

Even as the negotiators assembled, Russian forces hit an oil depot in western Ukraine and a government building in the south.