Russian and Ukrainian negotiators held their first direct peace talks in more than two weeks on Tuesday, March 29. Negotiations to end Russia’s war in Ukraine were attended by Chelsea FC sanctioned owner Roman Abramovich. The Russian billionaire, appointed because of his ties to Putin, reportedly played an early role in helping start conversations between Ukrainian and Russian diplomats.
The negotiations, which took place in Istanbul, continued on Wednesday, March 30, albeit with little sign of progress, according to Moscow.
Ukraine presented a list of demands at the start of the talks, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in the Turkish city.
However, he said Russia saw nothing that could end the conflict in Ukraine, which has been raging for the past five weeks.
As talks continue, Putin may consider his invasion of Ukraine and consider whether to strike the country with a “harder” strike, according to Peter Frankopan, professor of global history at Oxford University.
Political pundits claim the Kremlin strongman may also have considered “what went wrong” during the early stages of the Russian invasion.
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Speaking of the peace talks, he told IpadNews.co.uk: “This allowed him to take a stake.
“What I think he will think about is whether he should leave again.
“But hit Ukraine a different way, harder and find out what went wrong first.
“Or, is it an opportunity to negotiate and find a deal, and there are some promising voices coming out of Turkey around what that deal will look like.
“Again, I think anyone who has dealt with, followed and studied Putin over the last 20 years or so, will realize that he is not naturally given to take the middle ground and seek concessions.”
Overnight, Russia broke its promise, launching a new offensive in besieged Chernihiv and near Kyiv.
The capital was not hit alone, but artillery fire could be heard on the outskirts of the city, where Ukrainian troops have been regaining territory from Russian invaders in recent days.
Prof Frankopan, who has closely studied Putin’s rule for more than two decades, claims he is more likely to “escalate” the conflict than to consider a military withdrawal in Ukraine.
He said: “Taking into account what is possible around Putin is very difficult.
“Because he has a very, very small circle around him and they seem really loyal at the moment.
“But I think the bigger picture now, with yesterday’s announcement, is that Putin now has two choices.
“Either to use this time to regroup and leave again or to regroup and find some kind of accommodation.
“With Putin, it is very difficult to guess where he will go. But perhaps, in my view, based on the last 20 years, is never to bet that Putin will choose the simplest and easiest way. He was much more likely to want to improve. ”