Russia and Zelensky both have “tough” negotiating positions, as peace negotiations with Russia continue

4 March 2022, 06:13 PM

Advisor to chief-of-staff of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Mykhailo Podolyak, has shed some light on the progress of peace negotiations with Russia, during a press briefing on Mar. 4.

“The Russian Federation took a tough stance – if it were soft, it would not have attacked Ukraine,” the advisor said.

“But the stance of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine – and Ukraine as a whole – is also tough, so the negotiations will be difficult, but they will continue,” he stressed.

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The advisor to Zelensky’s chief-of-staff added that Ukraine's current position in the negotiation process is greatly strengthened by its Western partners. Moreover, President Zelensky will not make any concessions that could somehow undermine the country's struggle for its territorial integrity and freedom.

“The [Ukrainian] delegation… we clearly understand the psychological state of those [facing us], what their goals are, what they understand about Ukraine and what they don’t,” he explained.

“Therefore, it is quite comfortable for us to work, understanding the motives of the Russian side. We are not in the negotiations merely to listen to them. We appreciate where they want to go, why they think so, and what their motivation really is.”

He noted that Russia had planned a very swift “operation” in Ukraine, so that the consequences for the Kremlin would not be very painful.

“But today we have a protracted battle around many cities in Ukraine... a humanitarian catastrophe in the center of Europe,” Podolyak said.

“And the package of sanctions that our Western partners are imposing on the Russian Federation create dire consequences for them, which will extend for a year or three... Even if they are canceled today, they have already brought down their economy. It is clear that they want to come up with some solutions. And it is obvious that these decisions should also be in the interests of Ukraine.”

The second round of negotiations between the Ukrainian and Russian delegations took place on Mar. 3. The parties "reached an understanding on the joint implementation of humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians,” according to the Ukrainian government. A third round of negotiations is expected to take place in the near future.

The first round of negotiations between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations was held on the Belarusian border on Feb. 28, though no concrete steps were taken to end the war were taken by the Russian side.

Earlier, President Volodymyr Zelensky stressed that Russia must stop bombing Ukrainian cities before meaningful ceasefire negotiations can go ahead.

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