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Russia starts withdrawing forces from Kyiv region which it has failed to capture

FPJ News Service | Updated on: Tuesday, March 29, 2022, 11:39 PM IST

TOPSHOT - A Ukrainian soldier stands in front of a destroyed Russian armoured personnel carrier (APC) in a village on the frontline of the northern part of Kyiv region on March 28, 2022. |  (Photo by Anatolii Stepanov / AFP)
TOPSHOT - A Ukrainian soldier stands in front of a destroyed Russian armoured personnel carrier (APC) in a village on the frontline of the northern part of Kyiv region on March 28, 2022. | (Photo by Anatolii Stepanov / AFP)
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Istanbul: Russia has started withdrawing some of its forces from the Kyiv region after announcing it would 'radically reduce' military activity.

Russia made the announcement following what it described as "meaningful" talks in Turkey.

Turkey hailed the move as the 'most significant progress' in negotiations so far and said it will raise hopes that Putin will ease off his savage bombardment of Russia's neighbour.

Security officials believe the move is an acknowledgement of Russia's failure to encircle and capture Kyiv in a matter of days, as had been planned at the onset of the invasion.

At the talks, Ukraine's negotiators called for international guarantees for the country's security. Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamia also said there were now "sufficient" conditions for a direct meeting between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Arakhamia further called for "an international mechanism of security guarantees where guarantor countries will act in a similar way to NATO's article number five -- and even more firmly".

After the face-to-face meeting in Turkey, Russian Deputy Defence Minister Alexander Fomin said talks on "the neutrality and non-nuclear status of Ukraine have moved into a practical field". Therefore "a decision has been made to radically reduce the military activity" in the cities of Kyiv and Chernigiv, he said.

It is now more than a month since Putin ordered tanks into Ukraine, hoping to cripple or oust the democratic government in Kyiv. The fighting has already forced more than 10 million from their homes and according to Zelenskyy has killed an estimated 20,000 people.

But Tuesday's announcements offered some hope.

US President Joe Biden said he would discuss the "latest developments" with the leaders of Britain, France, Germany and Italy.

European stock markets lifted and oil prices fell by five percent as supply fears eased while the rouble surged 10 percent against the dollar. But fighting still raged in many parts of the country.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had opened the talks, recognising "legitimate concerns" on both sides but urging them to "put an end to this tragedy".

Russian oligarch and Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich, who has been hit by Western sanctions, was also in attendance.

The Kremlin said he was acting as an intermediary and denied reports that he had been poisoned during a previous round of negotiations in Ukraine.

"This is part of information sabotage, part of an information war," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

Putin has demanded the "demilitarisation and denazification of Ukraine", as well as the imposition of neutral status and recognition of the Donbas and Crimea as no longer part of Ukraine.

Russia, meanwhile, hit back at EU, insisting that it would only be accepting payment for gas deliveries in roubles, even though G7 ministers called this arrangement "unacceptable".

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Published on: Tuesday, March 29, 2022, 11:39 PM IST