The Kremlin on Wednesday played down hopes of a breakthrough following peace talks between Russian and Ukrainian delegates in Istanbul a day earlier.
“We cannot state that there was anything too promising or any breakthroughs,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
“There is a lot of work to be done,” Peskov said.
He added that Moscow considered it “positive” that Kyiv had started outlining its demands in writing.
“We carefully avoid making statements on the matters” that are discussed at the talks because “we believe that negotiations should take place in silence,” he added.
Moscow’s lead negotiator, Vladimir Medinsky, described talks in Istanbul on Monday as “meaningful.”
A defense official at the talks said Russia would be significantly reducing its military activity near Ukraine’s capital Kyiv and the city of Chernigiv.
However, Ukrainian authorities said Russian forces had later bombarded the northern city of Chernigiv on Wednesday, despite Moscow’s claims.
Medinsky said in a video he posted on Telegram on Wednesday that “Ukraine expressed readiness to fulfil fundamental demands that Russia had insisted on all these past years.”
“If all these commitments are fulfilled, the threat of the creation of a NATO base of operations will be liquidated,” he said.
“Work is continuing, talks are continuing,” he added, while Russia’s position on Crimea, annexed by Moscow in 2020, and the separatist regions in Donbas in eastern Ukraine “remains unchanged.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who is visiting China, said the ministry was pleased with progress in negotiations, in comments to Chinese state broadcaster CGTN.
“We regard the results of the talks that took place yesterday in Istanbul as a positive move forward,” he said, while adding “this is not yet the final result.”
Lavrov was in China to attend a ministerial conference of countries neighboring Afghanistan.
Condemning Western sanctions over Moscow’s military action in Ukraine, he told his Iranian counterpart that Russia will be “arranging practical steps to allow us to go round these unlawful actions,” TASS state news agency reported.