Ukraine will not make territorial concessions in the east to end the war with Russia, Zelensky says

17 April, 08:08 PM
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says Ukraine will not make any territorial concessions to achieve peace with Russia (Photo:Office of the President of Ukraine)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says Ukraine will not make any territorial concessions to achieve peace with Russia (Photo:Office of the President of Ukraine)

Kyiv will not make any territorial concessions in order to end the war waged against it by Russia, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said in an interview with CNN.

Zelensky said he was ready for diplomatic talks to end the war, but Russia's aggression against Ukrainians was complicating this process.

“As I previously said, what is the price of all this? These are people. Many people who were killed. And who pays for all this in the end? It is Ukraine. Only us,” Zelensky said.

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He said talks between Ukraine and Russia should not be based only on the Kremlin's ultimatum demands.

“Therefore, this is a really big price for us. If there is an opportunity to speak,we will speak. But speak only about the terms of Russian ultimatums? ... Such a dialogue is impossible,” the president said.

Talks between Russia and Ukraine: What is known

Russia and Ukraine, after the beginning of a full-scale war, held a series of talks. After several meetings on the territory of Belarus, the negotiations switched to a video conference format.

Initially, the Kremlin issued ultimatums to Kyiv, in particular regarding demilitarization and “denazification,” which Russian dictator Vladimir Putin had declared to be the goals of the Russian invasion. But after Ukraine started to inflict serious defeats on Russian forces on the battlefield, the position of the aggressor country in the talks moderated.

The main topic of the talks where the positions of the parties are closest is the neutral status of Ukraine and Kyiv giving up its aspirations to join NATO. The Ukrainian side seeks in exchange for this to receive security guarantees, including immediate military aid in the event of aggression from member countries of the UN Security Council. Talks regarding this between Kyiv and possible guarantors continue.

At the same time, the issue of the territories already occupied by Russia remains uncertain. Russia opposes discussing the status of occupied Crimea, which the Kremlin now considers its own territory. The Ukrainian delegation said at a meeting in Istanbul at the end of March that the issue of Crimea is proposed to be discussed at separate talks. They are expected to last up to 15 years, and during that time the parties agree not to resolve the issue by military means.

At the same time, the issue of parts of the territories of Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts, which have been occupied by Russia since 2014, and which Moscow considers to be separate republics that allegedly wanted to separate from Ukraine, will be decided directly by Putin and Zelensky at a possible meeting. They can meet as soon as the negotiating delegations finish their work on the documents.

It is expected that during the meeting, Putin and Zelensky may sign an agreement between Russia and Ukraine. A number of countries, including Switzerland, Turkey and Israel, have offered to host the meeting.

The Kremlin does not exclude the possibility of holding a meeting between Putin and Zelensky during the signing of the agreement, but says that this will depend on the nature of the document.

The peace treaty, according to the President of Ukraine, has to be approved by Ukrainians in a referendum. At the same time, holding a referendum would be possible only after Russia withdraws its forces from the territory of Ukraine and martial law is lifted in the country.

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