Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the conflict with Russia can end at the negotiating table but under certain conditions.
At a joint press conference with the leaders of Moldova, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Croatia who are visiting Ukraine on March 31, President Volodymyr Zelensky affirmed that Ukraine is still open to negotiations to end the conflict with Russia.
On the other hand, he stressed, this can only happen when Russia voluntarily withdraws its troops from the territories of Ukraine. The Ukrainian leader said that his 10-point peace formula clearly outlines Kyiv’s position on what actions Moscow needs to take to end the conflict.
“There will certainly be confirmation of the end of hostilities. But only at the negotiating table, where the parties will sit down and there will be representatives of Russia announcing that they will withdraw all troops from Ukrainian territory. Then, the diplomatic process will begin. will begin. If we find a way to repel them (Russian forces) by military means, there will be nothing left to negotiate.”
Last year, Zelensky proposed a 10-point peace formula to end hostilities with Russia, which demanded that Moscow withdraw all troops and restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity and compensate for the damage. However, Russia rejected this proposal, considering the terms offered by Kyiv as “unacceptable”. In contrast, Moscow laid out its 10-point peace plan.
According to the proposal that Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin made earlier this week, the Ukrainian army must first lay down its weapons, and the West must stop all supplies of weapons to Kyiv.
Some other conditions are requirements that Moscow has made at the previous negotiating table such as Ukraine to “demilitarize”, “de-fascist”, and pledge never to join the Northern Treaty Organization. Atlantic Ocean (NATO) or the European Union (EU), asserting its neutral position. In particular, Moscow asked Kyiv to recognize “new territorial realities” or to acknowledge Russia’s annexation of four Ukrainian provinces of Kherson, Zaporizhia, Donetsk, and Lugansk after controversial referendums.
Ukraine has repeatedly stated that it will never compromise on its territory to negotiate peace with Russia. President Zelensky’s administration aims to regain all of Ukraine’s territory already controlled by Russia, including the Crimean peninsula.
However, Western officials, including the US, are skeptical about Ukraine’s ability to repel Russian forces and regain all of its territories in the near future. “I think it’s going to be difficult for Ukraine to do this year. It’s a very challenging, very difficult military goal. I don’t mean impossible, but it will be very difficult,” said the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley said yesterday.
In another related development, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on March 31 proposed a Russian-Ukrainian armistice, including a ceasefire and a moratorium on the mobilization of troops and weapons to prevent the parties from could use the armistice to regroup.
Kyiv rejected the proposal. “The ceasefire will mean that the Russian army can stay in the territories occupied by this force. This is completely unacceptable. The Ukrainian army has the right to move troops and equipment. on its territory if necessary,” said Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to President Zelensky.