Ukraine threatens to quit peace talks with Russia

The country’s president named Kyiv’s “red lines”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky revealed on Saturday what kind of events could force his country to pull out of peace talks with Moscow.

At a press conference held at one of Kyiv’s metro stations amid the ongoing Russian offensive in Ukraine, Zelensky was asked how Kyiv would react to possible independence referendums in the territories. controlled by Russian forces. The president admitted that would force him to stop all talks with Moscow.

If our people are destroyed in Mariupol, if a referendum, a pseudo-referendum, is announced in any new pseudo-republic of Ukraine, Ukraine will withdraw from any negotiation process,said Zelensky.

Two days ago, Moscow announced the capture of Mariupol. However, President Vladimir Putin called off the assault on the Azovstal factory, which remains the last stronghold of Ukrainian forces, including fighters from the neo-Nazi Azov regiment, in the strategic port city. Russian troops shouldseal off the area so that a fly cannot get through,” Putin ordered instead. Zelensky, meanwhile, admitted that at present Ukraine is not in a position to militarily retake Mariupol and that the fighters locked up there are aware of this.

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Zelensky reiterated his wish to hold direct talks with Vladimir Putin, as “War can be stopped by the person who started it.” He explained that, in his view, direct negotiations could be a more effective way to achieve peace than talking through mediators.

“I want to stop the war and end it. There is a diplomatic route and a military route. Anyone in good health chooses the diplomatic route because they know that even if it is difficult, they can prevent the loss of millions of people,” said Zelensky.

Putin, meanwhile, did not rule out a personal meeting with Zelensky, but stressed that this would depend on the progress of talks between the negotiating teams.

Commenting on UN Security General Antonio Guterres’ upcoming visit to Moscow, Zelensky said it didn’t make sense for him to visit Russia before speaking in Kyiv, but the Ukrainian leader also said he himself ready to hold talks with Guterres.

Ukraine’s conditions for a peace settlement, according to Zelensky, remain the same: security guarantees for kyiv and “the fate of Donbass and Crimea”, whose independence Kyiv categorically refused to recognize.

“I think there are no more problems” he said.

Meanwhile, Zelensky said, Ukrainian forces would continue to fight and, depending on weapon supplies from the West, retake territories that had been captured by Russian forces.
My position as president is this: whatever they [Russian forces] keep busy, we’ll be back. It will not be a question of 8 years, as from 2014, it will be immediate. It’s a matter of weapons. If we have enough, we will immediately begin to take back the occupied territory,” he said.

Russia has repeatedly warned NATO against sending arms to Ukraine and said it would view arms convoys as legitimate military targets. He also says that “pump“Ukraine with weapons will only cause more casualties.

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Russia claims to have destroyed weapons supplied by US and EU to Ukraine

Since the launch of the Russian military offensive against Ukraine, Moscow and Kyiv have accused each other of obstructing civilian evacuations, committing war crimes and violating international law. Several rounds of peace negotiations failed to achieve any significant progress.

Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the republics from the Donbass of Donetsk and Lugansk. The protocols negotiated by Germany and France were designed to give breakaway regions a special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. kyiv insists the Russian offensive was unprovoked and has denied claims it planned to retake the two republics by force.


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