Ukraine Leader Says He Seeks Peace ‘Without Delay’ in Talks

March 28, 2022by Yuras Karmanau, Associated Press
Ukraine Leader Says He Seeks Peace ‘Without Delay’ in Talks
Ukrainian soldiers carry the coffin of 32-year-old Senior Lt. Pavlo Chernikov, during his funeral ceremony, after being killed in action, at the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul Church, in Lviv, western Ukraine, Monday, March 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

LVIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine could declare neutrality, potentially accept a compromise on contested areas in the country’s east, and offer security guarantees to Russia to secure peace “without delay,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said ahead of another planned round of talks. But he said only a face-to-face meeting with Russia’s leader could end the war.

While hinting at possible concessions, Zelenskyy also stressed that Ukraine’s priority is ensuring its sovereignty and its “territorial integrity” — preventing Russia from carving up the country, something Ukraine and the West say could now be Moscow’s goal.

“Security guarantees and neutrality, non-nuclear status of our state — we are ready to go for it,” Zelenskyy said in an interview with independent Russian media outlets.

The Ukrainian leader has suggested as much before, but rarely so forcefully, and the latest remarks could create momentum for talks set to resume Tuesday.


Russia has long demanded that Ukraine drop any hope of joining the western NATO alliance, which Moscow sees as a threat.

Zelenskyy has also repeatedly stressed that Ukraine needs security guarantees of its own as part of any deal.

“We must come to an agreement with the president of the Russian Federation, and in order to reach an agreement, he needs to get out of there on his own feet … and come to meet me,” he said in an interview that Russia barred its media from publishing.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday that the two presidents could meet, but only after the key elements of a potential deal are negotiated.

“The meeting is necessary once we have clarity regarding solutions on all key issues,” Lavrov said in an interview with Serbian media. He accused Ukraine of only wanting to “imitate talks,” but said Russia needed concrete results.

In an overnight video address to his nation, Zelenskyy said Ukraine sought peace “without delay” in talks due to get underway in Istanbul.

While saying “Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are beyond doubt,” Zelenskyy also suggested compromise might be possible over “the complex question of Donbas.” With its troops bogged down elsewhere, Moscow recently said its focus is now on securing that eastern region of Ukraine.

Zelenskyy said Ukraine would not try to take back the entire Donbas, which has been the scene of fighting between rebels and Ukrainian forces since 2014, because that would “lead to World War III.”

It was not clear how a compromise would square with maintaining Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and Russia and Ukraine also remain far apart on other issues. Zelenskyy has said any compromises on Donbas or agreement on neutrality must be put to a referendum of Ukrainian voters after Russian troops withdraw, while Moscow wants them sealed in a deal immediately.

In other developments:


— Russia’s invasion has most Americans at least somewhat worried that the U.S. will be drawn directly into the conflict and could be targeted with nuclear weapons, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

— Germany’s energy minister said Monday that the Group of Seven major economies rejected a Russian demand that some countries pay rubles for its natural gas exports. Economists said that demand appeared designed to try to support the Russian currency, which is under pressure from Western sanctions imposed in the wake of the invasion.

— Ukraine has banned reporting on troop and equipment movements not announced or approved by the military. Journalists who violate the law could face three to eight years in prison. In one case, a Kyiv resident was accused by the security services of posting images on TikTok showing Ukrainian military vehicles near a shopping mall that was later destroyed by a Russian missile strike.

Russian delegates to the Istanbul talks arrived Monday, a day before they are set to start, Turkey’s private DHA news agency reported.

Earlier talks, both by video and in person, have failed to make progress on ending a more than month-old war that has killed thousands and driven more than 10 million Ukrainians from their homes — including almost 4 million from their country.

In the besieged southern port of Mariupol, the mayor said half the pre-war population of more than 400,000 has fled, often under fire, during weeks of shooting and shelling.

Alina Beskrovna, who escaped the city in a convoy of cars and made it across the border to Poland, said desperate people were melting snow for water and cooking on open fires “under shelling and bombs just because if you don’t, you will have nothing to eat.”

“There is no medicine. A lot of people are just, I think, starving to death in their apartments right now with no help,” she said. “It’s a mass murder that’s happening at the hands of the Russians.”

A fiercer than expected Ukrainian resistance — bolstered by weapons from the U.S. and other Western allies — has been credited with bogging Russian forces down. Russia has resorted to pummeling Ukrainian towns and cities with rockets and artillery in a grinding war.

In Stoyanka village near Kyiv, Ukrainian soldier Serhiy Udod said Russian troops had taken up defensive positions and suffered heavy losses.

He said “probably they thought it would be like Crimea,” which Russia annexed in 2014.

“But, here it’s not like in Crimea. We are not happy to see them. Here they suffer and get killed.”

Zelenskyy has nonetheless made increasingly exasperated pleas for Western countries to do more, including sending fighter jets, accusing political leaders on Sunday of lacking courage. Countries from the NATO alliance have been hesitant to give Zelenskyy some of the more powerful equipment he’s begged for, for fear of triggering a much wider war.


___

Andrea Rosa in Kharkiv, Nebi Qena in Kyiv, Cara Anna in Lviv and Associated Press journalists around the world contributed to this report.

A+
a-

In The News

Health

Voting

Geopolitics

August 5, 2022
by Tom Ramstack
China Hits Back With Sanctions After Pelosi’s Visit to Taiwan

WASHINGTON — China’s saber-rattling and pushback continued Friday after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., visited Taiwan while the Biden administration... Read More

WASHINGTON — China’s saber-rattling and pushback continued Friday after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., visited Taiwan while the Biden administration pledged not to back down in support of the island nation. China announced it is canceling or suspending cooperation with the United States on climate change,... Read More

August 4, 2022
by Dan McCue
Washington Reacts to ‘Brazen,’ ‘Unacceptable’ Russian Sentence for Brittney Griner

WASHINGTON — Brittney Griner, the American WNBA player who was tried in Russian court for drug smuggling after bringing cannabis... Read More

WASHINGTON — Brittney Griner, the American WNBA player who was tried in Russian court for drug smuggling after bringing cannabis oil into the country, was sentenced to nine years in prison on Thursday, inspiring sharp rebukes in the nation’s capital. “Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received... Read More

US House Speaker Pelosi Arrives in Taiwan, Defying Beijing

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan late Tuesday, becoming the highest-ranking American official in... Read More

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan late Tuesday, becoming the highest-ranking American official in 25 years to visit the self-ruled island claimed by China, which quickly announced that it would conduct military maneuvers in retaliation for her presence. Pelosi arrived... Read More

Biden: Killing of al-Qaida Leader is Long-Sought 'Justice'

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden announced Monday that al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Kabul,... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden announced Monday that al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Kabul, an operation he said delivered justice and hopefully “one more measure of closure” to families of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the... Read More

Pelosi Meets Singapore Leaders at Start of Asia Tour

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held talks with officials in Singapore on Monday at the... Read More

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held talks with officials in Singapore on Monday at the start of her Asian tour, as questions swirled over a possible stop in Taiwan that has fueled tension with Beijing. Pelosi met with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee... Read More

July 27, 2022
by Kate Michael
Former Defense Secretary Esper Claims ‘One China a Complete Fallacy’

WASHINGTON — Fresh from a transatlantic delegation visit to Taiwan on behalf of the Atlantic Council and under the auspices... Read More

WASHINGTON — Fresh from a transatlantic delegation visit to Taiwan on behalf of the Atlantic Council and under the auspices of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper is “increasingly worried about Chinese actions” and convinced that China may... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top