LAST UPDATE: 12:46
It will be a victory for Ukraine if its borders are restored to those that existed before the full-scale invasion of Russia on February 24, said President Volodymyr Zelensky, signaling that Kyiv could lean on the ideas proposed by Italy in a memorandum. to the United Nations this week.
“The most important thing is to save the lives of our soldiers, it is our treasure,” Zelensky said in an interview with Ukrainian television on Saturday. “Yes, this means that not all our lands will be returned, but then we will move on to the second stage.”
The war in Ukraine can only end in “diplomatic” ways, the Ukrainian president said today as talks between Moscow and Kyiv reached a stalemate.
“The end (of the conflict) will be diplomatic,” he told Ukrainian television network ICTV. The war “will be bloody, it will have battles, but it will end definitively through diplomacy”.
“Talks between Ukraine and Russia will take place decisively. I do not know in what form: with mediators, without them, in an extended circle, at the presidential level,” he said.
“There are things we can only achieve at the negotiating table. We want everything to come back,” as before the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, something Russia “does not want,” he added, without elaborating. Details.
The outcome of these talks – the subject of which may change “depending on the time of the meeting” – must be “fair” for Ukraine, the president stressed.
Referring to a document on security guarantees for Ukraine, he said it would be signed by “friends and partners of Ukraine, without Russia”, while “a bilateral discussion with Russia” would be held.
He also said that he had made it a necessary condition for the continuation of the talks that the Ukrainian soldiers who had been fortified at the huge Azovstal metallurgical complex in Mariupol, in southeastern Ukraine, not be killed by the Russian army.
The Russian troops “enabled, found a way for these people to come out alive” from Azovstal, he noted. “The most important thing for me is to save as many people and soldiers as possible.”
On May 17, Mikhail Pontoliak, an adviser to the Ukrainian president, said talks between Moscow and Kyiv were “on hold”, adding that Moscow had shown no “understanding” of the situation.
The next day, the Kremlin accused Ukraine of “complete unwillingness” to negotiate with Russia to end the invasion of Ukraine.
Many meetings have taken place between the negotiators of the two sides, but they have not yielded any tangible results.
The last meeting between the heads of delegations – Vladimir Medinsky on the Russian side and David Arahamia on Ukraine – is scheduled for April 22, according to Russian news agencies.
After failing to take control of Kiev and its environs, Russian troops are now focusing their efforts on an offensive against eastern Ukraine, where fighting is fierce.
Russia is seeking an agreement to pay war reparations
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky proposed on Friday that an international agreement be signed with his country’s allies to ensure that Russian reparations for war damages are paid.
Mr Zelensky, who argues that Russia is trying to destroy as much of Ukraine’s infrastructure as possible, said it would send a message that countries launching attacks would be forced to pay for their actions.
“We call on our partner countries to sign a multilateral agreement and to set up a mechanism to ensure that all those who have suffered from Russian actions can receive compensation for all the damage they have suffered,” he said during a recorded sermon.
According to Mr. Zelensky, under this agreement, resources, funds and other property of Russia in the Contracting Parties will be confiscated and handed over to a special war reparation fund.
“That would be fair. Russia would feel the weight of every missile, every bomb, every shell it dropped on us,” he added.