Russia says lifting of sanctions in Ukraine part of peace talks


April 30 Reuters -- Lifting sanctions on Russia is part of the peace negotiations between Moscow and Ukraine, which are difficult but continue daily, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in remarks early on Saturday.

Kyiv warned on Friday that talks on ending Russia's invasion, now in its third month, were in danger of collapse.

The Russian and Ukrainian delegations are discussing on a daily basis a draft of a possible treaty via video-conferencing, Lavrov said in comments to China's official Xinhua news agency, published on the Russian foreign ministry's website.

Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has insisted since the invasion began on February 24 that Western sanctions on Russia needed to be strengthened and could not be part of negotiations.

Ukraine and Russia have not held face-to- face peace talks since March 29 and the atmosphere has soured over Ukrainian allegations that Russian troops have carried out atrocities as they withdrew from areas near Kyiv. Moscow has denied the claims.

Moscow calls its actions in Ukraine a special operation to denazify its neighbour and demilitarise. Ukraine and the West say Russia has launched an unprovoked war of aggression.

The talks' agenda includes the issues of denazificiation, recognition of new geopolitical realities, the lifting of sanctions, and the status of the Russian language, among others, Lavrov said, without elaborating.

We are in favor of continuing the negotiations, even though they are difficult, said Lavrov.

Ukraine's Western allies have imposed sweeping sanctions on Moscow. They also frozen half of Russia's state gold and foreign currency reserves, hammering Russia's economy and putting it on the brink of a sovereign default.