Zelensky provides update on Ukraine-Russia negotiations
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said, on Wednesday morning that "difficult" and confrontational peace talks with Russia are moving ahead, albeit slowly. He also used his video address to discuss his interactions with Western leaders.
Among the other topics Zelensky touched upon in his were his talks with the president of Slovakia, Zuzana Caputova, concerning Ukrainian security and help from the EU, as well as a discussion with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in which Zelensky informed him about, what he described as, the dire humanitarian situation in the country, as they continued to “coordinate their positions” before the upcoming NATO and G7 summits.
“Difficult? Yes, very. Sometimes they make scandalous demands, but we are moving forward step by step,” he said about the process with Russia, adding that talks are conducted almost every day.
The Ukrainian president also spoke about the humanitarian efforts and evacuations his country was providing to cities caught up in Moscow's offensive.
On Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the negotiations were progressing “a lot slower and are less substantial than we want them to be.” His remarks came in response to Zelensky, who previously suggested that key points concerning territorial integrity and recognition of the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk could be put to a referendum.
Russia believes this strategy isn't acceptable.
Moscow attacked the neighboring state in late February, following a seven-year standoff over Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics in Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered Minsk Protocol was designed to regularize the status of the regions within the Ukrainian state.
Russia has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join NATO. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.
As retaliation for the military offensive, multiple Western countries have imposed unprecedented economic sanctions against Russian organizations and individuals.