Ukrainian Deputy PM remains skeptical of Russian measures

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Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishyna said there have been changes in Russia’s attitude in the ceasefire talks, but she remains skeptical of her promises. Stefanishyna spoke to NHK in an online interview on Wednesday.

Ukraine and Russia held talks in Istanbul, Turkey on Tuesday. Ukrainian delegates proposed a new framework to ensure Ukraine’s security without becoming a NATO member. The Russian side said it would drastically reduce military operations around the capital kyiv.

Regarding the talks, Stefanishyna said the Russians did not expect to find themselves in the situation they are currently facing. She said: “What I can confirm is that the real negotiation has now begun.”

She said the Russians are now interested in Ukraine’s security proposals and take the negotiations seriously. She added that she believes Russia’s changes in attitude are due to Ukraine’s military resistance, growing internal pressure in Russian society and international sanctions.

As for Russia’s statement that it will reduce military activity around Kyiv, she said: “This is not in line with reality.” She said she was in Kyiv but the airstrikes continued. Stefanishyna said she did not trust Russia’s statements and promises, and that the talks could be an attempt by Russia to give its troops time to regroup.

The Deputy Prime Minister said Japan has been vocal and strong in supporting Ukraine’s territorial integrity and has backed sanctions against Russia as a G7 member. She said the pressure on Russia must be continuous.

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