Ukraine will agree to be neutral if it obtains an “international agreement” to guarantee its security, to which several countries acting as guarantors would be signatories, the chief Ukrainian negotiator indicated on Tuesday after several hours of Russian-Ukrainian talks in Istanbul .
Chief negotiator David Arakhamia said that after these Russian-Ukrainian talks in Istanbul, the conditions were “sufficient” for a summit meeting between Russian Presidents Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Since the beginning of the Russian invasion on February 24, Moscow has always refused such a proposal from kyiv.
Towards an international agreement?
“We insist that this is an international agreement that will be signed by all security guarantors,” David Arakhamia told an informal press briefing. “We want an international mechanism of security guarantees where the guarantor countries will act in a similar way to Article 5 of NATO and even more firmly,” he added.
Article 5 of the Atlantic Alliance treaty stipulates that an attack against one of its members is an attack against all.
Guarantor countries like France
Mr. Arakhamia cited, among the countries that Ukraine would like to have as guarantors, the United States, China, France and the United Kingdom – members of the UN Security Council – but also Turkey, the Germany, Poland and Israel. “Ukraine will accept a neutral status if the security guarantee system works,” he added.
With such guarantees, Ukraine “will not deploy on (its) territory any foreign military base” and will not join “any military-political alliance”, underlined another negotiator, Olexandre Tchaly. Military exercises could nevertheless be organized in Ukraine with the agreement of the guarantor countries, he specified.
Ukraine’s entry into the EU?
Kyiv also asks that this international agreement in no way prohibit Ukraine’s entry into the EU, and that the guarantor countries undertake to contribute to this process.
In order for these guarantees to take effect as soon as possible, Crimea and the Donbass territories under the control of pro-Russian separatists would be “temporarily excluded” from the agreement, Arakhamia said. To resolve the specific issue of Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014, kyiv is proposing “15 years” of separate Russian-Ukrainian talks, according to another Ukrainian negotiator, Mykhaïlo Podoliak.