Zelensky names Ukraine's priorities in talks with Russia

17 March 2022, 12:15 PM

The Ukrainian delegation in negotiations with the Russian side is seeking an end to the war and real security guarantees for Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address on March 17.

"For the sake of our common victory, for the sake of our peace, the delegation of Ukraine is negotiating with the delegation from Russia," he said.

The President then laid out Ukraine’s priorities in the talks, including an end to the Russian invasion.

"My priorities in the negotiations are quite clear: the end of the war, security guarantees, sovereignty, restoration of territorial integrity, real guarantees for our country, real protection for our country," Zelensky stressed.

Video of day

On March 16, the U.K-based Financial Times newspaper reported that Ukraine and Russia had made significant progress on a tentative peace plan, including a ceasefire and Russian withdrawal, if Kyiv declared neutrality and accepted limits on its armed forces.

The 15-point draft considered that the Russian invasion may end if Kyiv renounced its ambitions to join NATO and promised not to host foreign military bases or weaponry in exchange for protection from allies such as the United States, United Kingdom and Turkey.

Critics pointed out that this document had not significantly deviated from Russia’s position at the start of their invasion, when they demanded Ukraine declare neutrality, end relations with NATO and the EU, and recognize the puppet authorities in Russian-occupied Donbas.

Advisor to the chief-of-staff of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Mykhailo Podolyak, in turn, noted that the FT had "published a draft showing the requests of the Russian side,” and that the Ukrainian demands had little in common with the Russian position.

"The only thing we confirm at this stage is a ceasefire; withdrawal of Russian troops and security guarantees from a number of states," he commented.

Negotiations to end Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine are being held at a delegation level between the two countries. The sides have so far met three times on Belarusian territory, after which negotiations have continued via video conference.

Ukraine and Russia have made some progress in organizing humanitarian corridors, but the invaders continue to block some routes and are continuing to strike at Ukrainians, despite preliminary agreements.

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