Ukrainians to decide on acceptable compromises with Russia – Zelensky

22 March 2022, 02:34 PM

In an interview published by Ukraine's public broadcaster UA:PBC, President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that the issue of compromises in the negotiations between Ukraine and Russia could be decided at a nationwide referendum.

This concerns the issues of security guarantees, and the temporarily occupied territories of Donbas and Crimea.

“The answer is very straightforward,” Zelensky said.

“We are all aware of this now. They won't admit us (to NATO) because they are afraid of Russia. That's all. And we need to calm down and say ‘okay, (let's consider) other security guarantees’. There are NATO countries that want to act as guarantors of security — which, unfortunately, cannot pave us the way to 100% membership of the alliance — but they are ready to do everything that the alliance would have done if we were its member. And I think that this is an acceptable compromise,” the head of state said.

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According to Zelensky, the matters of security guarantees will involve constitutional amendments and changes in Ukrainian legislation.

“I laid out to all negotiation teams: when you consider all these changes, and they can be historical, there is no way around them other than holding a referendum. The people will have to speak up and respond to certain formats of compromises. But what (these concessions) may be is in turn a matter of our conversation and understanding between Ukraine and Russia. Therefore, in any case, I am ready to do anything if my steps resonate with our people,” the president explained.

Earlier, the head of the Verkhovna Rada, Ruslan Stefanchuk, admitted the possibility of amending the Constitution in articles concerning the Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine amid negotiations with Russia.

This comes after on March 15, President Zelensky announced that Ukraine would no longer be able to join NATO, because the country had heard that "we are not welcome there." The alliance is refusing to close airspace over Ukraine and stop Russian airstrikes, saying it could escalate into World War III.

The head of state believes that Ukraine needs long-term and legally binding security guarantees. On March 16, speaking before the U.S. Congress, Zelensky proposed the creation of a new U-24 alliance, a formation that would ensure that each aggressor received a coordinated peace response quickly and effectively within the first 24 hours from the start of an attack.

The President’s Office representatives have also indicated that Ukraine will not agree to Russian ultimatums and will not make concessions on key issues in the talks with Moscow.

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