Kateryna Tyshchenko – Tuesday, 26 April 2022, 20:45 President Vladimir Putin of Russia said that Russia cannot sign Ukraine’s security guarantees before the territorial issues around Crimea and Donbas are addressed. Source: Vladimir Putin, during meeting with António Guterres, cited in Interfax According to Putin: “During the talks in Istanbul we managed to achieve quite a significant breakthrough, because our Ukrainian colleagues decided not to make Ukraine’s international security guarantees conditional on such issues as internationally recognized borders of Ukraine, essentially bracketing off – with certain caution – [the issue of] Crimea, Sevastopol, and the Russian-recognized Donbas Republics.” Details: According to the President of the aggressor country, after these agreements have been reached, Russia was faced with the situation in Bucha, Kyiv Region [where Russian troops killed hundreds of Ukrainian civilians], which “the Russian army has nothing to do with,” as Putin claimed. Putin complained that after the Bucha atrocities the position of Ukrainian negotiators on further settlement has changed dramatically. According to Putin: “They [members of Ukraine’s negotiating delegation] have left behind their earlier intention to separate the questions of security guarantees and the issue of the territories of Crimea, Sevastopol, and the Donbas Republics. They just abandoned it. In their proposed agreement on this issue that they submitted to us they simply noted in two articles that these questions have to be resolved in a meeting between the leaders of the two countries. It is clear that if we defer these questions to the heads of state, without at least preliminarily agreeing on them within the proposed agreement, they will never be resolved. Under these circumstances we simply cannot sign [Ukraine’s] security guarantees without first resolving the question concerning the territories of Crimea, Sevastopol, and the Donbas Republics.” Earlier: On 23 April, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine said that during a conversation with President Vladimir Putin of Russia he would discuss exclusively the question of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.”This is the question I would discuss with him: how our Ukrainian Donbas will go on living and how our Crimea will go on living. How, where we can find agreement on this issue, and whether we can at all,” Zelenskyy said. On 12 April, Putin said that after the Istanbul talks and the Russian atrocities in Bucha [which he attributed to Ukrainian soldiers] the negotiations with Ukraine came to a standstill. Background: On 29 March, during the latest round of peace talks between Ukrainian and Russian delegations in Istanbul, Ukraine declared its propositions. Ukraine hopes that several countries will become its security guarantors instead of NATO and will supply Ukraine with weapons, ensure the presence of their armed forces, and close the sky over Ukraine in case of a military aggression on its territory. These security guarantees will not operate on the Russian-occupied territory of Crimea and the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Donetsk and Luhansk Regions. The Ukrainian delegation also suggested resolving the question of Crimea and Sevastopol’s status separately, in two-way negotiations over the course of the next 15 years, and to resolve the question of Donbas in direct talks between the Presidents of Ukraine and Russia. It was mentioned that Ukraine will only sign an international agreement on security guarantees after a referendum on the issue is conducted in Ukraine. President Zelenskyy also said that Russian troops have to withdraw from the territory of Ukraine before such a referendum can take place.