BEIJING, March 31 (Xinhua) -- The Russia-Ukraine conflict continued on Thursday, as progress has been made to explore ways out of the crisis following a fresh round of talks in Turkey. Following are the latest developments of the situation:
Ukraine has demonstrated its readiness to negotiate with Russia "for the first time in years" by proposing a possible agreement containing several important conditions, said Vladimir Medinsky, Russian presidential aide and head of Russia's negotiation team.
In an interview with Russia's Rossiya 24 broadcaster, Medinsky said that after Tuesday's negotiations in Istanbul, Kiev handed Moscow its proposals, which contained its refusal to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and deploy foreign military bases and troops on its territory, its readiness to fix its current status as a non-bloc state, and willingness to renounce nuclear weapons as well as other weapons of mass destruction.
Ukraine may hold a referendum on a new international treaty on security guarantees only after the withdrawal of Russian troops, said Ukrainian presidential adviser and negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak.
Following the negotiations on Tuesday, David Arakhamia, a member of the Ukrainian delegation, said Kiev has proposed signing the security guarantees treaty in an attempt to end the conflict in Ukraine.
"We will enter the procedure for launching a referendum only after the Russian troops leave the territory of Ukraine," Podolyak was quoted as saying by Interfax-Ukraine news agency.
After the referendum in Ukraine, the treaty should be ratified by the parliaments of the guarantor countries and the Ukrainian parliament, he said.
- - - -
Russia is redeploying its troops from Kiev and Chernihiv directions, in central and northern Ukraine respectively, to Ukraine's eastern regions, said Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine.
"Some personnel, who were in Chernihiv and Kiev directions, are being redeployed. Some of them appear in the Kharkiv and Donetsk directions," Danilov was quoted as saying by the Ukrinform news agency.
On Tuesday, Russia's Defense Ministry announced that Russia decided to significantly reduce military activity near Kiev and Chernihiv.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday told German Chancellor Olaf Scholz that European partners can continue paying for Russian gas in euros, according to a statement of the German government.
During a phone conversation, Putin said payments will continue to be made in euros and will be transferred as usual to Gazprombank and converted to rubles.
Scholz did not agree to the procedure proposed by Putin during the conversation but asked for written information in order to understand the procedure more precisely, according to the statement of the German side.
Last week, Russia announced that it would only accept payment for gas exports in rubles from "unfriendly countries." In response, the Group of Seven (G7) rejected payments in rubles, citing reasons of contractual compliance. ■