Ukraine’s leader says he wants to reach a deal “without delay Preparations for new talks on stopping the fighting are under way in Ukraine’s east. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the country is ready to declare itself neutral and think about a compromise on disputed areas in its east. But he said that only a face-to-face meeting with the leader of Russia can end the war.
Even though Zelenskyy hinted that Ukraine might make concessions, he also said that Ukraine’s top priority is protecting its sovereignty and “territorial integrity.” This is what Ukraine and the West say could be Moscow’s goal now.
Ukraine’s leader says he wants to reach a deal “without delay
Russia has long said that Ukraine should not try to join the Western NATO alliance, which it sees as a threat. He has also said that Ukraine needs its own security guarantees as part of any deal.
Independent Russian media outlets spoke with Zelenskyy on Sunday, and he said that “security guarantees and neutrality, as well as the non-nuclear status of our state – we are ready to go for it.”
The Ukrainian leader has said this before, but not so strongly, and the new comments could give the talks in Istanbul a boost.
“We need to come to an agreement with the president of the Russian Federation,” Zelenskyy said in an interview that Russia didn’t allow its media to publish. “In order to come to an agreement, he needs to get out of there on his own two feet and come to meet me.”
Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said Monday that the two presidents could meet, but only if the main parts of a possible deal are worked out first.
Lavrov said in a Serbian interview that the meeting is needed when “we have a clear picture of how to solve all of the main issues.” He said Ukraine only wants to “simulate talks,” and that Russia wants real results.
At some point during the night, Zelenskyy made a video message for his country. He said that Ukraine wants to reach a peace deal “without delay.”
With that, Zelenskyy said that “Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are unquestionable.” At the same time, he said that compromise might be possible over Donbas, which is mostly made up of people who speak Russian. Moscow said recently that its main goal now is to keep the Donbas safe, even though its forces are being used elsewhere. Ukraine’s leader says he wants to reach a deal “without delay
Zelenskyy also said that a peace agreement would have to be put to a vote by the people of Ukraine. First, Russian troops would have to leave the country.
“It is not possible to hold a referendum while there are troops around.” If there are foreign troops on the country’s land, no one will accept the referendum results, he said.
Zelenskyy said that a possible compromise would be for Russia to move its troops back to where they were before the invasion began on Feb. 24. This would be where they were before the invasion began.
There is no way for me to make Russia fully leave the territory, which could lead to World War III, so I know this. I completely get it now. Because I’m aware, he said: It is because of this that I’m saying, “Yes, this is a compromise: Go back to where it all began, and then we’ll try to solve the complex issue of Donbas.”
When it came to the Donbas, it wasn’t clear how a deal would work with Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and Russia and Ukraine are still very different on other things.
In other news, a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that most Americans are at least a little worried that the U.S. will be drawn into the conflict and could be hit with nuclear weapons. During a meeting of the Group of Seven major economies on Monday, Germany’s energy minister said that the group didn’t want to pay in rubles for natural gas from Russia. That request seemed to be made to try to help the Russian currency, which is under pressure from Western sanctions.
— People in Ukraine can’t report on troop and equipment movements that haven’t been approved by the military. They could spend three to eight years in prison if they break the law while working for a newspaper. There was a case in which a person living in Kyiv was accused by the security service for posting pictures of Ukrainian military vehicles on TikTok near a shopping mall that was later hit by a Russian missile.
Russian delegates to the Istanbul talks arrived in Turkey on Monday, Turkish media said.
Video and face-to-face talks haven’t made any progress toward ending the more than month-old war that has killed thousands and forced more than 10 million Ukrainians from their homes, including almost 4 million out of the country.
During weeks of shooting and shelling, the mayor of Mariupol, a city in the southern part of Ukraine, said that half of the city’s pre-war population had fled, often while under fire. This is what happened in Mariupol:
She was part of a convoy of cars that escaped the city and made it across the border to Poland. Alina Beskrovna said people were melting snow for water and cooking on open fires “under shelling and bombs just because if you don’t, you won’t have anything to eat.”
“There is no medicine. There is no help.” There are a lot of people who, I think, are starving to death in their apartments right now without any help, said the woman. In the hands of the Russians, a lot of people are being killed
There has been a lot more resistance from Ukraine, which has been helped by weapons from the U.S. and other Western allies, which has slowed down Russian forces. Russia has used artillery and airstrikes to attack Ukrainian towns and cities.
Serhiy Udod, a Ukrainian soldier in the village of Stoyanka near Kyiv, said Russian troops had taken defensive positions and lost a lot of people.
“Maybe they thought it would be like Crimea,” which Russia took over in 2014. It’s not like in Crimea. We don’t like them. Here, they are hurt and killed.